The secret to calling turkeys
I once hunted with a well-known turkey hunter who carried along a vest that was so full of calls it was busting at the seams. Each time we’d set up, he’d lay his vest on the ground and inventory his calls before firing them up, even if we had a gobbler close. It was frustrating.
It was also a complete contrast to my setup, which consisted of a few mouth calls and a slate call. Since I’ve been getting some of my turkey stuff ready, I started thinking about that hunt and realized that we were both representing opposite ends of the spectrum. He, with too many calls. Me, with too few.
These days I tend to carry quite a few different mouth calls ranging from high-pitched to truly low and raspy. I also carry a couple of different pot calls. This assortment gives me options for everything from soft tree yelps to all-out hen fighting madness. I can also gobble with a mouth call, so I’m pretty much covered.
I know a different turkey hunter who has killed more archery turkeys than nearly anyone, and he told me last spring he just carries a single box call. I can only imagine how good he is with that call.
If you’re starting to think about turkey hunting, consider what calls you really want to carry with you. Since I’m a bowhunter, I tend to lean heavily on mouth calls. But, when I shotgun hunt I also lean heavily on them. Nothing is more convenient and allows for such little movement as a good mouth call. I also love pot calls for how good they can sound, and how I can easily call with one while also calling with a diaphragm call. That two-turkeys-at-one-time sequence can be super deadly on spring longbeards.
No matter what type of calls you choose, start working with them now. I tend to keep my mouth calls in my truck and my pot calls in my office. When I’m driving by myself, I work on the mouth calls. When I’ve got writer’s block and am basically staring at my computer screen wishing for inspiration to strike, I’ll mess with the pot calls.
It doesn’t take a whole lot of practice to get good, but it does take practice. Start now, and you’ll be much better off when the season opens.