Spring turkey hunting is all about communication. You make the sounds of a sexy hen and the interested toms gobble back. Quite simply you are talking to that bird. Now what you are saying and when you say it is the source of much discussion at turkey camp. But what you use to make the talk of the turkey can be an important part of the hunt, too.
Walk into the turkey call department of any sporting goods store and you will find a mind-boggling array of call types, styles and materials. It can be a bit much for an experienced tom-chaser and downright intimidating for the beginner. But it doesn’t have to be.
For beginners I always suggest getting two calls. One should be a box or slate call – sometimes lumped together as friction calls because you rub two surfaces together to make sound. The other call should be a mouth (or diaphragm) call – usually in a simple 2-reed design. The beauty of the mouth call is being able to make turkey sounds without moving your hands. However, mouth calls take some time to learn and get use to. While learning the mouth call, lean on your box/slate call which only takes a few minutes to become familiar with and make all the sounds a tom loves to hear in the spring.
For more experienced turkey hunters I usually suggest adding a new favorite to the vest each spring. I realize we all have our go-to calls that need some love and time in the field each year. But it can be almost as fun to try something new while sneaking around your favorite turkey haunts, too.
My recent passion has become box calls. Mind you, I don’t like being caught without a mouth call but as each season passes I find myself be drawn more to the box. Not only do I have good luck with them on Nebraska toms I also like the craftsmanship of the non-production models. I have a special affinity for the big, boat-paddle styles. If they were easier to carry, my vest would be full of them. But as it is I rarely hit the turkey woods without one – especially on windy days.