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Old February 12, 2017, 03:00 PM   #1
AlphaHunter88
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Necessary Calls for New Turkey Hunter??...

I'm sure all of you know from my previous threads that for the first time this year, I'm looking to let some of my passion for (deer) hunting translate into passion for thunder chickens this spring Alabama turkey season. I've explored gun and ammo setups, but now I want to get into a topic that is essential in bagging birds, the correct calls/techniques. Although I'm a first timer this year, I plan on being as prepared as a seasoned springsman. With that said, I'm looking to purchase at least one (if not multiple calls,) and I need to know exactly what to look for. I understand there are hands free mouth calls, gobbler calls, pot calls, box calls, etc. Of course I'll be honing my skills and try to gain some experience before opening day, but I need to know what calls to get and which ones to steer clear of. I realize that this is a can of worms, not unlike the ammo thread, but once again I'm looking for people's experiences and opinions on their gear of choice. All replies are welcome. Go!!!
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Old February 12, 2017, 09:48 PM   #2
Blindstitch
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Knight and Hale Dual Threat slate call. They also make a nice box call called the Wet Willy.

Mouth calls always make me gag and I can't make them sound right.

I have a bag of locator calls which I consider a loss.
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Old February 13, 2017, 02:10 AM   #3
bamaranger
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Oh wow!

You may have noticed that most serious turkey hunters have a vest stuffed full of stuff, and typically a good percentage of that stuff is calls. I can tell you what I use, it's not as vast as what others do though, I'm sure.

Locator call: I've learned to hoot w/o a call, and a passable rendition I think,
as do many owls and gobblers over the years. But typically, I do not do a lot owling in the AM during the season. Owls call some mornings and some not. When they are hooting, I believe there are enough REAL owls working, that if a gobbler is gonna sound off, he will w/o my imitation. Plus, I don't want to strike a gobbler, and have somebody else move in on him, and when owls are busy in the AM, so to are gobbler hunters. I will owl in the evening a bit when I'm trying to roost a bird, if I am relatively certain that there are not any folks in the area that might hear a gobbler respond and compete with me in the morning.

I do most of my locator calling around mid morning, and early PM with a CROW call. Mines an old wooden OLT, which I think gives a better tone than the new plastic types. There is also a trick to blowing a crow call right as far as cadence and tone goes. If your crow calling does not illicit some answers or flybys from real crows on occasion, it's likely not right, and I believe a gobbler can tell that too. I know I can recognize a crappy plastic call blown by somebody that has not paid attention to how crows really sound. If I can tell, I believe a a tom can.

Friction calls: My favorite call is a handmade pot/slate call, a gift from a good friend. I would not take any money for it....it seems to sound just right. I carry an assortment of strikers in the shell loops of one pocket on my turkey vest. Different strikers yield different tones, and I can sound "different" w/o lugging another pot call around. The slate is a bit tempermental when wet, as only a few of my strikers will work then, and if the call is really soaked, it will not work well with any striker. I've toyed with the idea of toting a synthetic/glass/metal pot around to deal with wet weather, but have not done so. I have a factory Quaker Boy DD Adams double slate, and believe it sounds almost as good as my homemade number, but is bigger than my nifty gifted one, which fits in my shirt pocket.
I keep some box calls in the Bronco, but hunt them very little. I've got three lovely vintage Lynch boxes. Big and bulky, they will produce a lot of volume, and it sees use in high wind, and late in the season when my other calls may not be producing answers. But I find them hard to tote, fragile, and even more vulnerable to wet than my slates.

Mouth calls: I do not consider myself a good mouth caller, but have managed them since my teens and can produce passable clucks and yelps, and even some advanced calls. Their great advantage is that you can manage your shotgun and not be dorking with your call once a gobbler commits and gets close. If I can get a gobbler to answer and start in, I will switch to the mouth call (already in place) and not handle the slate again unless I am CERTAIN I can get away with it. (moving my hands/gun). To make my basic mouth calling easier, I stick to simple double reed calls and usually pick them up on sale after the season at wally world. My favorite mouth call is no longer made, and I get by with what I can find and sounds oK. I store my mouth calls in the fridge between seasons, and rinse and air dry them periodically during the season. They do not seem to last long and wear or dry out, and change sound. I carry half dozen or more of the things in nifty little plastic carriers , and usually tuck a lone one in the loops of my booney hat, where I will eventually loose it and need another.

Other: - I carry a gobble tube, but am very careful how and where I use it. Used primarily as a locator on private land, and from locales where I can see. I have used it to challenge another gobbler , or to create the illusion of a jake with hens.....but the gobble tube can draw stupid hunters as well.
-Another locator I use, but have limited success with, is a rabbit squealer, which I use to mimmick a pilleated woodpecker. It's an option, and another trick in the bag
-Sentimental: I carry a one-hand friction call from some pvt outfit
my Dad gave me, just because
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Old February 13, 2017, 12:54 PM   #4
Dunsouth
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Starting out keep it simple. Slate call and mouth call are good starters. Practice and above all else listen to the birds whenever you can. Even if you can't hunt just listen to what they are doing so you can learn to repeat it with your calls.
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Old February 13, 2017, 02:12 PM   #5
NoSecondBest
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I've called turkeys in with every type of call out there. They all work most of the time. I've even called them in with no call, simply doing my best to sound like a turkey. Like most, I have a vest full of calls and in my humble experience it doesn't make much difference which call I use, it makes a big difference in how I use it. Calling too much is a BIG mistake. Turkeys aren't deaf, they always hear you. The fact that they don't respond doesn't mean squat. Most of them now days simply come in silent and it might take them a while. New hunters, and lots of old hunters lose patience and start calling again. Big mistake. All you're doing is making noise and movement and it might be when the bird has circled around behind you and it'll see you doing it. If you get a response from a bird the best thing you can do most times is simply shut up and start looking. If a bird is interested, it will come to you without your repeated calling. Some birds stop half way or so and never come closer no matter how much calling you do. That's the nature of the bird. The hen is supposed to start moving to the gobbler. Jakes will usually be the ones that come all the way in, not the big birds. If you want to get one good call to start, get a good box call or a good slate call and focus on getting some decent sound out of it. FWIW, even a bad sounding call will work if it's used sparingly. I've been hunting them for almost sixty years and I've killed around a hundred so far. If they're interested you'll do OK. Just don't over-do it. Good luck and have fun.
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Old February 13, 2017, 06:10 PM   #6
turkeestalker
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I'll probably get chastised for saying this but, starting out I used a simple old push button Quaker Boy Easy Yelper.
Worked like a charm for my first few birds, and it took a little of the heat off me as it is as its name implies, easy.

I still have it in my vest that is full of various kinds of calls like others have said that they carry, but typically only use a diaphragm these days.

Favorite being a simple old Quaker Boy Pro Triple which I've had to mail order for years as they're too boring to be sold in the local spring turkey warrior stores.
It has a simple clean tone with a very wide range, easy and versatile.

If you're going to use a diaphragm, keep it simple. You don't need all of these Super Split Crazy Cut Uber Multi Reed monstrosities to call in a tom. Get one that is simple to use and doesn't add to the tickling sensation in the roof of your mouth making it harder to master.

Single or maybe a double reed to start, not a lot of difference really.
Concentrate more on your rhythm and cadence than on the sound you're making as others have said.

Spring toms are about like you and I would be if we only got lucky once a year, if you sound close then you're close enough.
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Old February 14, 2017, 06:47 AM   #7
eastbank
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i,ve hunted turkeys for close to 60 years, if you hit a hot tom in the spring you can be the worst caller in the world and it may run right up your gun barrel and if he,s not hot you can be the best caller and he will not come any where near you. pre season scouting can reap rewards by finding feed routs and roosting area,s, when i,m scouting i don,t call at all, just walk on old logging trails just before dark-dawn and listion if turkeys are close you will hear them. and then plan your hunt. eastbank.
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Old February 14, 2017, 04:08 PM   #8
Erno86
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I prefer top of the line 3 call set of diaphragm calls, a good pot call, crow call, hawk call, owl call, peacock call, goose call, pileated woodpecker call. Try to learn how to crow & owl call with just your voice --- Though I prefer to crow call with my high quality wood crow call. You can hawk call...with a 4 inch long sharp blade of grass, wedged between you thumb-tips and palms --- while blowing onto the blade of grass while holding it edgewise.

You want to have a limited sequence of crow caws...so you can hear the gobbler shock gobble --- You'll want to sound like a crow that has just discovered a hawk or an owl. The crow does a growl at his foresworn enemy: caaaaaauw --- then does three quick rallying caws to call in his buddies. Do this once...listen for about 30 seconds --- no response? --- then repeat once more. With a crow call, you want to hum into the call when you call, so you sound authentic.

Every time a plane/jet/helicopter flies over...listen for a possible shock gobble. You can slam your car/truck door, that might produce a shock gobble; or just letting out a blood curdling scream...just might do the trick.

I like to hold my fingers in my ears, when I use my peacock/woodpecker calls, otherwise, just use a good pair of electronic hearing muffs; that amplify safe sound levels 125%.

Learn how to call soft hen tree yelps before a fly down from the roost, and also, a fly down hen cackle; while beating you hat against your thigh or leg --- simulating turkey wingbeats.

While taking a shot at a tom...I usually like to at least hold onto the sealing rubber of the diaphragm, clenched between my teeth --- so I don't accidentally swallow it. Get familiar with a diaphragm mouth call...and the gag reflex will soon go away.

Good luck,

Erno
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Old February 17, 2017, 07:57 AM   #9
AlphaHunter88
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I found a Quaker boy (Mossy oak turkey thugs) "rimshot" slate pot with a trio of strikers on the clearance aisle at wally world for $5. Got it and a Will Primos signature mouth call for an extra $5. I think these will get me started. The pot call is pretty easy to get started on, and I'm starting to get a couple of different yelps out of the mouth call, although it takes a lot more skill and practice to manipulate. All in all I'd say it's a solid start for $10.
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Old February 17, 2017, 06:10 PM   #10
buck460XVR
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Don't worry about a wide variety of calls until you master one. While it's easy to make a call sing when by yourself at home, with Mr. Gobble held up at 80 yards and looking hard, not so much. What calls you use depends on distance and they way you are hunting. Pots work very well for tree calls and when up close. Funny how when the woods is completely silent right before dawn, how a Tom in the tree can hear the faintest of yelps while a hundred yards away. If you are running and gunning and looking for active birds that can be hundreds to thousands of yards away, or the wind is blowing, you need a loud call like a mouth call or box, just so they can hear you. If you pattern the birds and know where they will be, and/or the birds have had relatively little pressure put on them, one needs a smaller repertoire of turkey talk than when running and gunning or working heavily pressured birds. If and when you get hens to respond to your calls, try to imitate what they are doing. Not only does it work on the Tom, but it also ticks the hen off and may bring her, along with the Tom to you.
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Old February 18, 2017, 08:07 AM   #11
Mobuck
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When I was running turkey hunts, I was also feeding cattle shelled corn daily. A couple of my regular hunters claimed that the best turkey call for this hunt was a plastic bucket 1/4 full of corn. Just go sit close to the feed bunk about the normal cattle feeding time and rattle the bucket. Turkeys would RUN to get there before all the corn was cleaned up.
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Old February 22, 2017, 02:27 AM   #12
bamaranger
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article

There is a decent articl in the "American Hunter" this month on pot calls!!
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Old February 22, 2017, 03:49 PM   #13
Erno86
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You can try a fighting purr turkey call, or a turkey drum call tube. I just spit an drum with my own mouth and voice box.
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Old February 23, 2017, 02:24 AM   #14
bamaranger
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March

By "this month" I meant the most recent edition, which is March 2017.
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Old March 4, 2017, 08:13 PM   #15
jrothWA
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Keep it super simple!!!!

For starter and a new hunter, have two calls, the first is a Box call for the hen yelps and clucks. Use the blue carpenter chalk knobs for lubricating the paddle.Second call is either a tube call like a "widow maker" by Knight & Hale, or a slate call.

Learn to call softly and short duration, don't try to call to the next county over.

Good Luck.
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Old March 4, 2017, 08:56 PM   #16
natman
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Mouth calls work really well with some practice and keep both hands free. I have a hunting buddy who is terrific using one. I've tried using them but no matter what I do putting one in my mouth makes me drool like a St. Bernard with a mouthful of peanut butter. I had to stop to keep from drowning.

I use a box call. Easy to use, easy to get enough volume. I have a small pin call that attaches to the barrel for the last "make him stick his neck out when he gobbles" call.
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Old March 5, 2017, 04:33 PM   #17
jmr40
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For a beginner a box call is the easiest to master. I started out with one and learned how to use a mouth call after they got close. Anymore I usually just use 2-3 different mouth calls.

I don't think the sound you make is as important as when and how often you call. I think more people call too much than too little. I don't worry too much about getting the perfect sound. All turkey sound different anyway.
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