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Calling Devices
Copyright © 1998 - 2024  Roger W. Raisch * Nadine Adele, all rights reserved


The evolution of turkey calling devices has proceeded at a tremendous rate in the past 25 years.  Primitive wingbone, slate-and-peg and cedar box calls have been modified into a multitude of different types of calls that utilize modern materials like aluminum, Plexiglas, and graphite.  

Seemingly simple old-time calls that took a good deal of practice to master have been developed into more complex but easier to use push-pin types.  Even the difficult-to-master gobble can be made effectively on new tube calls with a minimum of practice. 

The commercialization of the mouth diaphragm has placed a tremendously effective device in the hands of the modern day turkey hunter

Single, double, triple, with or without notches or cuts outs, stacked frame callers, and more have allowed a hunter to mimic the full range of turkey sounds without having to make any motion.


Rather than describe every caller that is now available, I'll simply discuss the pros and cons of the various types. 

There is a wide variation in quality of turkey calls.  Some cost a lot and sound terrible.  Some sound great and cost little.  Some cost a lot and sound superb.  Some custom calls will outperform regular production callers 10 to 1, but cost no more than "Mass Merchandise" calls.  You get the idea. 

Be careful when purchasing calls, even with the relatively inexpensive mouth calls.  Many manufacturers do not have good quality control, despite their high advertising budgets. 


I have carefully selected all turkey calls in the Pro's Choice Store based on quality, sound, reliability, value, and on my personal knowledge of the manufacturer over many years. 

After you make your purchases, keep turkey calls out of the hands of little children...they are basically musical instruments and can get permanently ruined by little M & Ms covered hands. 

The best way to perfect your calling is to practice while viewing the Turkey Hunting Secrets DVD or listen to the  Lovett Williams library both of which contain the various turkey sounds you need to know with further instruction on turkey calling..

TurkeyHuntingSecrets DVD - Become A Master Turkey Hunter - Proven Tactics with Gun & Bow with Roger Raisch "The Turkey Pro"
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Turkey calls are commonly divided into two categories:
diaphragm or air-operated calls and friction calls.


Friction Calls




Two of the oldest and most effective types of turkey calls--the Cedar Box Call and Slate Call--are examples of friction-type calls. 

They have probably been used to bag more turkeys than any other type call because they have been around for many years and are easy to use. 

In newer versions, various types of woods are used, the slate may be replaced with aluminum, glass, or crystal. The Striking Pegs (Strikers) may be Plexiglas or Carbon arrow shaft material, rather than wood. 

However, Custom Strikers, made from various exotic woods, still remain my favorite strikers for producing the sweetest sounds on all types of slate-type calls.


There are two principal disadvantages to friction calls. 

Most require two hands to operate and many won't work when wet.  You can learn to operate some with one hand, or there are holders available that will strap the call to your leg.  But, the movement problem still exists.

The SECRET to working a friction call effectively is to set it down immediately after calling and get your weapon ready. 

Moisture is another problem with all wooden calls, including wooden strikers. 

Wet wood won't produce good sounding calls....in fact you'll get no sounds at all if the call is soaked.   New, modern Plexiglas, plastic, and carbon materials have solved the moisture problem. 

Calls or strikers made from these materials will work when wet.  Despite this,  I prefer box calls and strikers made from wood because of their superior sound qualities. 

When hunting in high humidity or rain, protect a box or slate-type call with a small plastic bag at all times. 

Operate it inside the bag.   Friction calls should be considered fine musical instruments. 

Keep them in top condition.  Old chalk left on box calls over the summer will attract moisture and harden. 

Lightly sand the lid or striker before using it and apply new chalk to restore its former sweet tones.   Always use carpenter's chalk, not black-board chalk.  Or use the chalk that comes with the call.  Keep slate-type calls in a Friction Call Case to protect them from scratches, abrasion, dirt, grim, moisture and pesky little hands.  


Despite the movement and moisture problems, cedar box calls and slate-type calls and their new counterparts, made with modern materials, produce some of the most realistic turkey calls you'll find, beating out even the versatile mouth call.  

I never go to the woods without at least one slate and one box call.  I pull out a slate-type call and start every morning's hunt with the sweet, low-volume half-yelping sounds of a Tree Call.


Diaphragm Calls


Diaphragm mouth calls have revolutionized turkey hunting by making it possible to reproduce nearly any turkey sound without having to move your hands. 

This makes them excellent calls particularly for close-in work.   The obvious drawback is that they take considerably more practice to master.  

Most Master Turkey Hunters have learned to use a mouth call out of necessity. 

Learning to use a mouth call can be quite simple if you follow the System I have developed. There are many styles and sizes of mouth calls so that any hunter can find one that is suitable and comfortable.  Diaphragms take most hunters about two to three months to master, but the sacrifice is well worth the effort.


The principal differences in mouth calls are based on the thickness of the latex reeds, number of reeds, their spacing, and the type and number of "cuts" or "notches" in them. 

Thicker reeds produce deeper, louder tones, and are the hardest to learn to blow because they require more air and tongue control.  They are harder to control at low volumes also. 

Raspy tones are introduced by notching the leading edge of the reeds at the sides or in the middle.  Twin or triple reed calls produce coarser and raspier sounds, particularly those that have "stacked" frames (two or more frames). 

Beginners should probably start with a thin, single reed call, move up to a double reed call and finally to a triple reed call as they gain more confidence and control. 

A Perfection Selection is a great collection of calls to use to develop proper air and tongue control and they make all the sounds necessary to bag a gobbler.


Most serious hunters have several mouth calls already broken in, so they are prepared for any calling situation. 

Further, they keep their calls in a Mouth Call Saver which protects,  preserves and keeps them  tuned and lubricated--ready to use.  With proper care, a high-quality mouth call will last for several years and continue to sound good

In the off-season, rinse your mouth calls with clean water, place flat toothpicks between the reeds to separate them and store them in the refrigerator. 

Single-reed calls are excellent for making soft smooth tree yelps and pits. 

Double reed calls produce good plain yelps and clucks. 

Triple reeds and calls with heavy double, triple, or quad reeds make good cackles, loud yelps, cutts, and assembly yelps for long-distance calling or for windy conditions. 

If I could have just one mouth call to fit all situations, it would be a medium-weight, notched double or triple reed call.


Other Air-Operated Callers


Jim Young's Three Piece Fancy Wingbone Call$39.99 ORDER
Three-Piece Fancy Wingbone Call 

Many other types of air-operated diaphragm callers have been developed from such diverse items as film canisters, snuff tins and pill bottles, coupled with the appropriate reed mechanism. 

Commercial models are also available.  These make very realistic turkey sounds and are particularly good for gobbling.  Most require the use of at least one hand to operate, requiring movement.


Final Thoughts


Turkey voices range from smooth and silky to coarse and raspy, so the tone you select is not critical. 

You should settle on calls you like, that sound realistic and you can operate consistently. 

One of the SECRETS to turkey calling is confidence, knowing the call you want to make will come out correctly every time when you operate your caller.  

Make sure you choose a type of call and model that you can make great turkey sounds with.  Don't worry about the tone and pitch of the caller you choose, as long as the rhythm is correct. 

Even though you may not feel confident with a mouth call, all is not lost.  Many turkeys are bagged routinely with friction calls...just remember to not move when a turkey can see you operate the call. 


Regardless of which call is my current favorite, I carry a wide variety of locator, friction, and mouth calls with me to the woods.  

Sometimes it takes a particular sound to stimulate a turkey to gobble, or to entice him to come over to check me out. 

I try different calls until I find the one he likes.


Subjects in the Secrets Library
About Turkeys
Spring Hunting Tactics
Fall Hunting Tactics
Camouflage & Concealment
Turkey Calls & Calling
Check List & Misc.
Bow Hunting Tactics
Safety & Ethics
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