4 Key Types of Turkey Calls

At BestTurkeyCalls.com, we believe that the most rewarding aspect of hunting is the time-honored, artisanal craft of luring in your prey.

Turkey calling in particular is an especially rewarding craft. There are so many different types of calls to master, all with different difficulty levels, that you can learn to keep challenging yourself. Indeed, there is no other hunting activity that requires the special touch of calling turkeys in.

In this article, we will explain some of the most common types of turkey calls. If you are an experienced hunter, this article may cover knowledge you already have.

There are four general categories of turkey calls that we would like to cover here:

  • Mouth Calls / Diaphragm Calls
  • Box Calls
  • Slate Calls / Pot Calls
  • Push Button Calls

Turkey Mouth Calls / Diaphragm Calls:

Difficult to Master – But Worth the Learning Curve

Mouth calls, sometimes called diaphragm calls, are the toughest type of call to learn. Many of the best turkey hunters in the world swear by these calls, while others can’t seem to figure them out.

There are many benefits to using mouth calls. Firstly, they’re super simple. And simple means durable, rugged, and weatherproof. In a turkey mouth call, there aren’t any moving parts like you’d find in a slate call or a box call. This makes the process of calling very simple; they are quick-from-the-hip easy to operate. Mouth calls definitely require some learning curve, but they are very rewarding (and a great challenge) to master.

Turkey Mouth Calls


Turkey Box Calls

User-Friendly Two-Handed Versatility

In 2017, the most common turkey call is the mouth call. A big reason for this is the hands-free nature of the mouth call. But, when it comes to the authenticity and quality of the sound — the box call sounds the most like a turkey. That certainly counts for something.

Many hunters denigrate the box call for being awkward, hard to handle, and one of the most expensive types of turkey calls. Indeed, to some hunters, the box call is inconvenient and unnecessary. But you would be misled to overlook this class of turkey callers.

Now, we don’t know any hunter who would go out into the field equipped with just a turkey box call. But this more elaborate call is an excellent choice as part of a larger arsenal of turkey hunting equipment. With a box call, you will have an extraordinary long-distance option for calling, which will pair up well with a push-button call, friction call, or mouth call.

Mouth calls take hundreds if not thousands of hours to master. If you don’t have that kind of time, consider the humble box call. I’ve taught new hunters (adults and kids) to use a box call well enough to bag a turkey after only 20 minutes of training. For more info, we highly recommend this resource on box calling.

Turkey Box Calls


Turkey Slate Calls / Pot Calls

An All-In-One Library of Calls

Slate calls, often called pot calls, are small circular disks made of ceramic, glass, wood, or slate. While box calls can be learned in under 30 minutes, slate calls take slightly longer to master because their operation is much more nuanced.

Slate calls can be highly personalized. Mix and match combinations of different slates and strikers to find your unique sound. Be forewarned  – pots made of slate or wood become impossible to use when wet, making these weather-vulnerable. On the other hand, pots made of ceramic or glass are fully weatherproof.

Turkey Slate Calls


Push Button Turkey Calls

The Easiest Call Imaginable

Push button calls are a mercurial topic. Some hunters love using them, and some hunters won’t be seen with one. How you feel about the push button call is for you to decide. You can’t argue with their simplicity and ease of use.

Many companies design these calls to easily attach to the stock of your gun, allowing for very simple operation with one hand. The most obvious drawback of push button calls is that they do not handle water or humidity well. A few drops of rain could completely disable a push call.

More Resources:

Safe Hunting Tips (Maine Dept. of Wildlife)

All About Turkey Hunting  (Wikipedia.org)

Best Coyote Calls (our other site!)

The Best Turkey Calls 2017
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