Thinking about heading out and trying to find an epic Tom this Spring? Awesome! Turkey hunting is a challenging sport that is immensely rewarding, largely because you have a great deal of control over what happens out there. If you ask any group of turkey hunters what they like most about it, they will confirm that it’s the sheer amount of communication that they get to experience with the species. Those who “speak the language” can not only find birds quickly, but get them well within range to be harvested by even sub-gauge shotguns. It all starts with selecting the right call, but which one might that be?
Well, the truth is there is no “right” call for any given situation, so it’s best to bring a variety out into the woods with you. The best comparison I’ve ever heard was when a gentleman likened them to fishing lures; meaning you will want to change it up mid hunt. With that in mind, Primos put together an ideal Starter Pack that includes the three basic types of calls and can get you well on your way for less than $50. Let’s take a look at what it includes and the pros and cons of each type.
When you think of turkey calls, this is likely the first type that comes to mind. In the kit, you will find a slate pot with a wooden striker. By dragging the wooden striker across the top of the slate you can generate basic yelps, clucks and purrs. The harder sounds, like cackling and kee-kees, can be done as well, but they take a little longer to master and can be done far more efficiently with other types of calls.
Most would agree that this is one of the easier calls to learn how to use, but if your striker gets wet, it usually makes it a bit tough to get the sound that you want out of it. The only thing that is worse than getting a striker wet is losing it altogether, which is a hazard for any two-piece hunting product. The last con that I would like to mention is that this call involves a good deal of motion, something that you want to avoid when hunting any bird. That said, this makes a great call for a newbie, especially if they are in a blind as that will hide most if not all of the motion.
The first time I laid eyes on a box call, I was blown away at how well it was able to reproduce the sounds of the birds that it was built to draw in. Just as with a violin or guitar, carefully carved wood is tuned to create just the right pitch and tone to convince a Tom to come to see what’s going on. The paddle is attached to the top of the box, thus solving the issue of potentially losing the “striking” component and is a good choice for clumsy hunters.
Another great advantage of the box call is that a skilled caller should be able to get what they need out of it by resting it in their lap and only having to tie up one hand to work the paddle. These calls are among the simplest to reproduce cutting sounds and cackles, and do a pretty good job at the basics too. As the paddle doesn’t need to go very far, this call is also one of the stealthier ones to operate and is a good choice if you are hunting exposed.
All of this does come with a downside though—moisture. Whereas the only part of a pot call that is susceptible to moisture is the striker, if any part of a box call gets wet, things aren’t going to sound right. Be sure to check the forecast.
The mouth or diaphragm call is likely the most popular method of drawing in birds and, best of all, it is entirely hands-free because it goes in your mouth. This style of call sounds the most realistic because it generates sound the same way that a bird does, through wind. It also is obviously impervious to the elements, so it’s a great choice if you have to deal with a little rain on your hunt. The downside is that it does take some time to master, and many people never do because they can't get past having something in their mouth.
With these three calls, you can be well on your way to learning the basic sounds that are going to be critical to your success. I picked this kit up over the winter and spent the coldest days of the year in my basement working on these calls so that I would be ready for the Spring. Although this has likely driven my wife nuts, she’ll have her reprieve in a few weeks when I vanish off into the woods in pursuit of that longbeard that will make it all worth it. For more info visit primos.com