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Turkey Call Types Pros and Cons

There are many different types of turkey calls. Some are better suited for different situations. Here we’ll cover what some of these are and detail the pros and cons of each turkey call type.

Box Calls

Box turkey calls are as they sound — they look like a box. These are rectangular calls that resemble a coffin with a lid. How fitting.

Pros:

  • Louder calling
  • Longer range
  • Great for windier days
  • Easier to master

Cons:

  • Bulky to carry
  • More difficult to soft call
  • Less flexibility in tone
  • More difficult to mimic some vocalizations
  • Requires two hands and movement to operate
  • Some require chalk to operate
  • More expensive to purchase
  • Unless designed for rain, it’s utterly useless when wet

Crow Calls

Crow calls mimic the sound of a cawing crow. This serves as an excellent locator call to make turkeys shock gobble.

Pros:

  • Perfect for mid-morning to mid-afternoon
  • Small and compact designs
  • Lightweight designs
  • Good volume and range

Cons:

  • Not ideal for early morning or late afternoon
  • Not ideal for roosted birds
  • Very difficult to soft call

Coyote Calls

Another locator call option, coyote howlers are sometimes used to make turkeys shock gobble. However, some prefer not to use this since it’s a predatorial sound.

Pros:

  • Very loud and provocative
  • High degree of shock-gobbling response

Cons:

  • Can cause birds to go quiet
  • Slightly larger call designs

Diaphragm Calls

Also referred to as mouth calls, diaphragms are small turkey calls. These are operated from within a caller’s mouth.

Pros:

  • The most realistic call (once mastered)
  • More range in mimicking vocalizations
  • Hands-free calling abilities
  • Great for close- to medium-range calling
  • Easy to quickly change calls for different tone
  • Very lightweight to carry
  • Works just fine in the rain
  • Extremely affordable

Cons:

  • Takes an extensive amount of time to master
  • More difficulty in calling loudly
  • Much easier to lose

Glass Calls

A style of pot and peg call, the glass turkey call is made from just that — glass. This is the surface that is met by the striker.

Pros:

  • Easier to learn
  • Has more volume range
  • Realistic sounds
  • Ability to mimic more turkey vocalizations

Cons:

  • Easier to lose
  • Difficult to change the tone (unless changing strikers)
  • Moderate to pricey price tag
  • Doesn’t do well in the rain
  • Requires two-handed operation

Natural Voice Calls

Some who are gifted can make turkey sounds with only their mouth. It takes much practice to master.

Pros:

  • Hands-free operation
  • Can sound very realistic
  • It’s a free turkey call

Cons:

  • It’s very difficult to learn
  • Not many have the physical ability to do it well
  • Very difficult to call loudly

Owl Calls

Another locator call, the owl hoot is a very common method for provoking turkeys to shock gobble.

Pros:

  • Very good for early morning and late-afternoon locating
  • Moderately easy to learn to use

Cons:

  • Some are more expensive calls
  • Some models are bulkier to carry

Push-Button Calls

A small, box-style product, the push-button turkey call is operated with a peg that emerges from the box. Pushing that peg operates the calling device.

Pros:

  • Very easy to learn
  • Very simple to use
  • Moderately priced
  • One-handed operation

Cons:

  • Least variability and range
  • Can’t really adjust volume
  • Can sound somewhat monotone
  • Easy to break
  • Doesn’t work well in the rain

Scratch Box Calls

Like a slate or glass call, but shaped more like a push-button turkey call, the scratch box is a compact unit that requires a surface for friction.

Pros:

  • Good sounds
  • Small and compact

Cons:

  • More expensive to purchase
  • Less available on the market
  • Takes two hands to operate
  • Doesn’t work well when wet
  • Difficult to adjust volume
  • Easier to lose

Shaker Calls

A call that looks like a tube, shaker calls are operated by holding the handle and giving it a good shake.

Pros:

  • Very easy to learn and use
  • A decent way for inexperienced callers to make the gobble vocalization

Cons:

  • Quite bulky to carry
  • Doesn’t sound the best

Slate Calls

Like glass calls, slate calls also fall in the pot and peg family. Except, unlike the glass call, which uses glass, the slate call uses a piece of slate for the friction surface.

Pros:

  • Easier to learn
  • Has more volume range
  • Realistic sounds
  • Ability to mimic more turkey vocalizations

Cons:

  • Easier to lose
  • Difficult to change the tone (unless changing strikers)
  • Moderate to pricey price tag
  • Doesn’t do well in the rain
  • Requires two-handed operation

Tube Calls

Another form of mouth call, the tube call has a tube, but also has a reed that the hunter must blow across to operate.

Pros:

  • Easy to learn
  • Small and compact for carrying

Cons:

  • Doesn’t sound as good
  • Reeds break easily

Wing Bone Calls

Crafted from the wings of a turkey, wing bone calls require three separate bones within the wing of a turkey to be assembled. It forms a trumpet-style object.

Pros:

  • Has a traditional feel
  • Costs nothing to make if materials are on hand

Cons:

  • Doesn’t sound as realistic
  • Easy to break

All in all, most turkey calls are cool. And all of them can be effective. You just must find the ones that fit your abilities and calling style.

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