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Turkey hunting is one of America’s oldest sports, and avid hunters are known for their calling skills.
If you are new to the sport, how do you know which is the best box call for turkey hunting? Or, maybe you are a life-long hunter and are looking for some new tricks.
Either way, this article will help you understand all the nuances of turkey calls and how to play them to your advantage!
What to know when using a box call for turkey hunting
Box calls have come a very long way from the crude calls that they once were.
Now, manufacturers are focused on the aesthetics as well as the purity of the sound that is sent to turkeys nearby.
There are actually several different styles of box calls for turkeys, and the variety gives wild turkey hunters advantages that were unavailable to your forefathers.
Each type of box call can produce a slightly different hen sound. This is important because you can project a call that is totally new to all of the turkeys in the area.
When turkies hear a hen like none other that they have heard before, they will be interested and will be drawn in to the sound- and to you.
Or, you could take the route of matching your call to the specific region that you are hunting.
Some experts say that turkeys can recognize the sounds native to local hens, and you will seem like you belong in the area and therefore safe.
Common types of wild turkey sounds and when to use them
Turkeys are some of the most vocal birds, and you need to know how to speak their language.
Here are some of the noises that you will hear a turkey make in the wild.
- Cluck: Turkeys use this noise to attain the attention of another turkey. This call is a great choice if you need to reassure an incoming tom.
- Cluck and purr: Exactly as it sounds, this is a cluck immediately followed by a longer purr. Turkeys often associate this sound with familiarity and safety. Use it if a flock of turkeys seems spooked.
- Assembly call: This is how one hen communicates with another group of turkeys, often their young. Use it in the fall when you need to bring a group of several turkeys back together.
- Cutt: When turkeys are excited, they make loud clucks with yelps scattered throughout. You can use this to draw a hen away from a tom or jake; hopefully they will follow the excitement!
- Gobble: Male turkeys make a loud, rapid gurgling sound when they want to let the ladies know that they are present and available. While the gobble is one of the most prominent turkey sounds, use it very sparingly and thoughtfully as a call. This call often draws other hunters to one another, and this situation can be very dangerous. The reaction of turkeys in the area is also a toss up. You may draw in a large tom who is looking for a fight, or you may scare turkeys away from a dominant male.
- Purr: When turkeys are comfortable and content, they will often make a gentle, rolling sound to communicate with one another. Similarly to the cluck and purr, use it if you want to reassure turkeys in your area.
- Putt: Turkeys make this noise when they are afraid to signal an alarm to the rest of the flock. Use this call to arouse birds in the area, but be ready to shoot!
Click here to listen to an expanded list of wild turkey sounds.
How to use a box call for turkey
Standard calls are made using wood and consist of a paddle that rubs against the lip of a box. As the paddle connects with the lip, it produces sounds that mimic wild turkeys.
You job is to learn how to make the calls as realistic as possible and use them to “talk to” the turkeys to entice them.
- Purring: Slowly move the paddle over the lip, allowing it to gently catch as you drag it. The catch-move-catch sequence produces the purring sound.
- Clucking: Snap the paddle away from the lip in swift, upward motions.
- Cutting: Quickly and sharply pop the paddle off the lip, repeatedly. (Do a series of back-to-back clucks.)
- Yelping: Lightly move the paddle along the lip
- Gobbling: If a gobble band is included, shake the box so that the paddle moves back and forth across the lip. Do not place your hand on the paddle for this. If your box call does not include a gobble band, fasten a rubber band around the paddle and box call, and then commence the actions above.
- Fly down cackling: Begin with a couple of quiet clucks and then increase your speed. Follow with slower clucks and yelps.
- Kee-kees and kee-kee-runs: Practice with your paddle to determine where the sweet spot lies. (It is usually ¼-⅓ of the paddle away from the hinge. Conduct three whistles against the lip using a motion similar to a fast yelp. To make the “run” noise, tack a few yelps on at the end. This will be easier to do with longer boxes.
In the video below, an expert turkey caller will teach you the basics.
You can tune your box call by rubbing chalk along the bottom of the paddle. Especially with wooden box calls, you should avoid oil-based choices.
For best results and a long life for your call, be sure to keep it dry. Box calls usually encounter the most moisture during transportation to and from your hunting spot.
It is a good idea to protect your call by wrapping a plastic bag around the outside and storing it in your vest.
What to look for in a good box call for turkey hunting
Look for variety and quality in a box call. The more variety the box call allows, the more sounds you will be able to make.
Talking to turkeys is actually a similar to talking with your friends. The larger your vocabulary, the more interesting the conversation.
Similarly, the more noises you can make on your box call, the better your chances of drawing in a bird.
Always look for quality hunting gear. In the case of box calls, quality is reflected in the material used to make the call. The quality of wood is often an accurate indicator of the quality of the call.
Do your research to learn why the manufacturer chose the specific type of wood used.
And, your call is only as good as the operator’s abilities. The best call for you will be easy to use and manipulate to attract turkeys.
Best box call for turkey hunting
There are a number of box call options that can work well for use when turkey hunting. The following products may give you a good place to start your search.
Primos Hook-Up Magnetic Box Call
Primos brings turkey hunters the most advanced box call design in many years.
What’s the difference?
This box call features a magnetic lid that automatically pressurizes the chamber to repeat a perfect, consistent call.
A very strong rare earth magnet holds the lid in place so that it is not too snug or too loose, and you can get the same sound every time you move the bar back and forth.
Therefore, you do not need to worry about tuning or adjusting your box, even after it has been in storage in the off-season. It will be ready to go every time you want to use it.
If you are an avid turkey hunter, you know how important it is to have a consistent sound.
The patented magnetic hinge also gives you the ideal tension for perfect purrs, cuts, and yelps.
Is the gobble one of your go-to calls?
If so, check out how the gobble band can produce extremely realistic gobbles that out-call the competition.
So that you can quietly transport the box call to your stand, the paddle is easily removable.
This call is very simple to learn and use. The magnetic tension feature removes all the guesswork and allows you to focus on strategizing the sequence of your choice.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this box call may work for turkey hunting.
- Easy and fun to use
- Magnetic lid with tension from a rare earth magnet to produce identical sounds every time you play the call
- No guesswork
- Multiple sounds available
- Included gobble band for realistic gobbles every time
- Removable paddle for silent transportation
- The magnetic tension feature removes some of the personality and art to turkey calling.
Lynch World Champion Turkey Box Call
Lynch World Champion Turkey Box Call has a dual design engineered to give you a unique range of turkey calls.
With an innovative 2-sided structure, you can produce hen noises from one side and gobbler calls on the other.
This wild turkey call is made of straight-grain mahogany wood to ensure that your calls are realistic. Unlike plastic turkey calls, a wooden structure gives much more realistic sounds.
When you purchase this turkey call, you have the reinforcement of over 75 years of innovative turkey hunting gear.
This box call is easy to use for both beginners and experienced hunters alike.
And, it was designed for turkey hunters, by turkey hunters.
Handmade in the United States, this wooden box call will be a great asset to your wild turkey hunts.
This is a product of Lynch, an American company that believes in the values and freedom that the United States’ hunting heritage brings to our country.
View at Amazon for more information on how this product might work for use when turkey hunting.
- Double sided construction to produce hen sounds on one side and gobbler calls on the opposite
- Made of straight-grain mahogany wood for realistic sounds and durability
- Ideal for novices and experts
- A revered turkey hunting product for over 75 years
- Handmade and designed by turkey hunters in the USA
Nationwide Scents All Weather Turkey Box Call | Turkey Calls for Beginners and Pro
This Nationwide turkey box call is easy to use in all weather conditions- an important trait if you hunt in rain and wind. You can also use it on bright, sunny days to produce an extraordinarily clear call.
One of the secret ingredients is the application of a coating that enhances hen sounds for louder volume in any weather condition.
When the lid rubs against the sides of the box, turkeys will hear a clear, seductive pitch that will be impossible to resist.
It’s not made just for the professionals, either. Whether you are an experienced hunter or a novice, you can easily learn to use this call to its full potential.
This is an interesting call in that it allows you to access a large array of natural hen noises.
- Excited cutting
You can also use the seasonal sounds of turkeys to tailor your calls to their natural rhythms.
Springtime is especially active breeding season for turkeys. Since toms are already drawn to hens at this time, you have an edge to draw them to your treestand.
Every call is precision carved from walnut and purple heart wood to thicknesses under an inch.
A supremely durable lifetime sealer is then applied to coat the box, which is then assembled by hand and put through rigorous performance testing.
This Nationwide turkey box call is a product of Esh Custom Calls, which has a legacy of manufacturing high quality wild turkey hunting products.
With great consistency and performance, you will be able to use Nationwide turkey calls to help you bag more tags this season.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this product might work for your next turkey hunt.
- Easy to use in all weather conditions and climates
- You can produce a variety of sounds
- Perfect for beginners and veteran turkey hunters
- Carved using walnut and purple heart wood and manufactured to last a lifetime
- High levels of consistency and performance
- Produced from a company founded on a strong passion for wild turkey hunting
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com