Hunter prep: An efficient approach to wild turkey calls

The writer is addicted to mouth calls. He advises any anxious turkey hunters to pick up a few different options and start working with them now, since wild turkey hunting seasons open around the country in the next few weeks or so.

I blame it on the long Minnesota winters, but it’s really more my mental wiring than anything. The Cabela’s bags loaded with bass fishing lures have started to sprout from my office floor like fungi. As my wife likes to point out, my tackle addiction can get out of hand.

In those dark green bags nestled among the buzzbaits and wide-gap hooks is something unrelated to the bass world: turkey calls. Primarily, diaphragm calls. As hooked as I am on flashy lures, I’m equally as into mouth calls. I don’t know how many I own, but likely dozens.

The problem with mouth calls is retailers won’t let you try them in the store. That’s a joke, obviously, but still true. You’ve got to get them home and take them for a spin to see how they really sound. I tend to lean toward the double- or triple-reed variety that at least advertises a raspy sound.

I’m all for high-pitched calls when I’m hunting fall birds, but in the spring I want it to sound like I’m a mature hen who has smoked three packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day for years. In my book, the raspier the better. And I want to know that when I kick off my spring turkey season, which this year will occur in Nebraska, that I’ve got a lineup of various mouth calls ready that will all produce the right sounds.

Now, I rely on other types of calls, too, but the backbone to any sit for me is always the diaphragm call. In my opinion they are the most versatile, and I can operate them hands-free, which is a big plus. The problem with them is you’ve got to find the right one(s) and you’ve got to be confident enough to use them.

That starts now. Buy a few different options and start working on them. I do this while I’m driving alone most of the time. Sometimes, mostly if I want to see my black Lab get really confused, I’ll work on my calling in my office while it’s just me and her.

When you find a call you really like, buy a spare … or two. Nothing is easier to lose than a diaphragm call, and if you don’t lose your favorite, you’ll probably run it through the wash. I keep a couple of good spares in the glove box of my truck. At the very least, I can slip back to where I parked and grab a call if I need it. At least once each spring, I do.

You probably will, too.

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