There are two types of turkey hunters: wait and callers, and run and gunners. Most turkey hunters are one or the other, or occasionally a mixture of both.
No matter the style, most turkey hunters find calls an essential part of their hunting strategy. Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a rank newbie, you can benefit from using one of the many turkey calls available.
There’s nothing more satisfying than bringing in a gobbler who might have been out of your reach had you been unable to call. And that is why you need one of these top turkey calls for your next hunt.
Best Turkey Calls Reviewed[amazon table=”1004929″]
*Last updated 2022-10-06 at 00:08 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1. Lynch Fool Proof Turkey Box Call[amazon box=”B0000AVZ2R” template=”vertical” title=”Lynch Fool Proof Turkey Box Call” button_detail=”https://cabelas.xhuc.net/BrKaL” button_detail_text=”Cabela’s” /]
Why You’ll Like It: The quality mahogany build that produces realistic sounds at an affordable price, a hard to beat combination from the people who’ve been handcrafting calls for over 75 years.
- Type: Box Call
- Material: Mahogany and Walnut
The Lynch Fool Proof Turkey Box Call is probably one of the best turkey box calls available, made from real mahogany with a walnut lid. The fit and finish are lovely, and the sound is rich. Hunters love this turkey box call because it’s easy to make yelps, purr, clucks, and cuts, and many have brought home the big toms to prove it. For the price point, you can’t beat it.
The sounds are realistic, and many hunters extoll the fact the volume is also realistic. In other words, you’re going to make a sound that is in line with how a real turkey would sound. So, don’t expect to call miles and miles away and get a tom running in. Instead, you’ll convince that nearby tom you’re another turkey.
2. WoodHaven Cherry Real Hen Turkey Call[amazon box=”B001BADEKG” template=”vertical” title=”WoodHaven Cherry Real Hen Turkey Call” button_detail=”https://cabelas.xhuc.net/Xb1ja” button_detail_text=”Cabela’s” /]
Why You’ll Like It: Beautiful one-piece styling. The Real Hen sounds realistic doing most realistic two-tone raspy yelps, clucks, or cutting.
- Type: Box
- Material: Brazilian Cherry
The WoodHaven Cherry Real Hen Turkey Call’s box is cut from one piece of cherry wood, while the lid is real Brazilian cherry. It produces a higher-pitched tone than the WoodHaven Walnut Real Hean Turkey Call, but don’t let that stop you from buying it. Some hunters claim that it produces more realistic sounds than they could using a mouth call. That’s pretty high praise.
It has a terrific sound quality and produces two-tone raspy yelps, as well as the expected clucks, cuts, and cackles. A bit more pricey than the Lynch Fool Proof Turkey Box Call, it still makes a great addition to your calls and many turkey hunters say the price is totally worth it.
3. WoodHaven Cherry Classic Friction Turkey Call[amazon box=”B001BAGUMK” template=”vertical” title=”WoodHaven Cherry Classic Friction Turkey Call” button_detail=”https://cabelas.xhuc.net/Emq14″ button_detail_text=”Cabela’s” /]
Why You’ll Like It: This classic friction call produces distinctive sounds, coming with two strikers great for varying pitch.
- Type: Pot/Friction
- Material: Brazilian Cherry
The WoodHaven Cherry Classic Friction Turkey Call has all the quality you’d expect to see with the WoodHaven brand when it comes to its turkey pot calls. This turkey pot call is made from beautiful cherry wood and the striking surface is made from slate. This quality pot call has two different strikers that allow you to vary the sound of your calls, whether they are yelps, clucks, cuts, or cackles.
Hunters love this call because of the workmanship and versatility. More than one hunter has bagged an elusive tom with this call because of its realistic noise and volume. If you’re looking for the best turkey pot call, you’d be hard-pressed to find something better. Like the WoodHaven Cherry Real Hen Turkey Call, you may find that it’s more expensive than other pot calls.
4. Primos Ol’ Betsy Slate Call[amazon box=”B000PW3YAG” template=”vertical” title=”Primos Ol’ Betsy Slate Call” button_detail=”https://cabelas.xhuc.net/0WYoV” button_detail_text=”Cabela’s” /]
Why You’ll Like It: Easy to use with great results. Beginners can lean on the many instructional YouTube videos.
- Type: Pot/Friction
- Material: Slate
If you’re looking for a turkey pot call that does an awesome job but won’t break the bank, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than the Primos Ol’ Betsy Slate Call. This call is made from quality materials, but if you’re looking for expensive wood, this isn’t it. The pot is made from plastic and the finest Pennsylvanian slate. The striker is made from hardwood with a plastic grip.
Many hunters find that the Primos Ol’ Betsy Slate Call outperforms even the tried and true calls that cost a lot more, so don’t be put off by the plastic. At least one novice hunter claims he called in turkeys while practicing his calls when his other more experienced hunting partners couldn’t. A real bonus is the YouTube videos which you can watch to learn how to call turkeys successfully.
5. HS Strut Smokin’ Gun Turkey Box Call[amazon box=”B00AZHFS8C” template=”vertical” title=”HS Strut Smokin’ Gun Turkey Box Call ” link_title=”HS Strut Smokin’ Gun Turkey Box Call ” button_detail=”0″ button_detail_text=”0″ /]
Why You’ll Like It: The Smokin’ Gun makes sounds on both sides, while being completely weatherproof without chalk.
- Type: Box
- Material: Walnut
The HS Strut Smokin’ Gun Turkey Box Call’s box and lid are made from one piece of walnut and are completely waterproof with no need for chalk or sand. This is great for hunting in rainy or snowy conditions. It is double-sided to make different sounding yelps and a variety of clucks and cuts.
On the negative side, it doesn’t come with instructions, but if you’re Internet savvy, you can probably find a YouTube video with one in it. Plus, because it’s a turkey box call, you can learn just by watching any box call video. Some turkey hunters had to play around with the sound until they got the sound they desired.
6. Primos Hook-Up Magnetic Box Call[amazon box=”B00HFZU85U” template=”vertical” title=”Primos Hook-Up Magnetic Box Call” button_detail=”0″ button_detail_text=”0″ /]
Why You’ll Like It: The Hook-Up features a magnetic closure, and features a Gobbler Band for multiple sounds. Capable of Purrs, Yelps, crisp cuts and one-handed gobbles.
- Type: Box
- Material: Magnetic/Wood
The Primos Hook-Up Magnetic Box Call is constructed of mahogany with a detachable walnut lid. The lid is attached by rare earth magnets that keep the lid on, while still producing a very crisp sound. It has a special rubber band they call the Gobber Band that wraps around the box and lid. When you shake the Primos Hook-Up Magnetic Box Call, it makes a convincing gobble that will attract toms.
Primos has YouTube videos that you can watch to learn how to call turkeys in successfully using their Primos Hook-Up Magnetic Box Call. The detachable lid is great for carrying when you need silence.
7. Lynch Jet Slate Turkey Call[amazon box=”B0000AVZ8B” template=”vertical” title=”Lynch Jet Slate Turkey Call” button_detail=”0″ button_detail_text=”0″ /]
Why You’ll Like It: Classic pocket-sized vest call, perfect for gentle soft sounds.
- Type: Pot/Friction
- Material: Slate
The Lynch Jet Slate Turkey Call is a compact turkey pot call that you can easily fit in your vest and take out when you’re ready to call those toms in. It’s made from mahogany and the striking surface is made from Pennsylvanian blake slate. It makes quiet calls, but if you’re looking to make louder calls, you can use a striker from one of your other pot callers and make it louder.
The Lynch Jet Slate Turkey Call is perfect when you’re hunting big game and stumble onto a flock of turkeys you have a tag for. It doesn’t take up much room and has a solid reputation of bringing birds in.
8. Primos 272 Friction Turkey Call Kit[amazon box=”B006QP720O” template=”vertical” title=”Primos 272 Friction Turkey Call” button_detail=”0″ button_detail_text=”0″ /]
Why You’ll Like It: The 272 is a great kit with all you need, and good assortment for beginners.
- Type: Pot/Friction
- Material: N/A
If you’re just starting out as a turkey hunter, you can’t go wrong with picking up the Primos 272 Friction Turkey Call starter kit. It has a box call, a pot call, and a mouth call, and is priced right for the beginner wanting to learn how to call without spending a lot of money.
You’ll get a double-sided box call, a domed turkey pot call with slate striking surface, and a mouth call with its own case. The turkey box call is made of wood, the striker is hardwood with a plastic handle, and the turkey pot call is plastic with slate.
9. Zinc Calls Wicked Turkey Pot Call[amazon box=”B00HGSOJKQ” template=”vertical” title=”Zinc Calls Wicked Turkey Pot Call” button_detail=”https://cabelas.xhuc.net/zEjGM” button_detail_text=”Cabela’s” /]
Why You’ll Like It: Gorgeous cherry wood call with a distinctive sound.
- Type: Pot/Friction
- Material: Slate
The Zink Wicked Series ~ Crystal Acrylic Stabilized Custom Wood Pot Call is unique as it is made with Brazilian cherry impregnated with acrylic so it is 100 percent waterproof and weatherproof. The crystal works well as a striking surface but needs to be conditioned regularly to ensure that it stays in good shape and does not crack.
It has a no-slip grip ring as well as a spot for softer calling to bring in those toms. One hunter complained that the crystal cracked when he used another conditioner meant for a different turkey pot call, so be sure to follow the care instructions.
10. HS Strut Super Strut[amazon box=”B00162KME0″ template=”vertical” title=”HS Strut Super Strut” link_title=”HS Strut Super Strut” button_detail=”” button_detail_text=”” /]
Why You’ll Like It: Great cheap turkey call combo to cover all the basics.
- Type: Pot/Friction
- Material: Carbon
The Hunters Specialties H.S. Strut Super Strut Combo Kit is another combo kit that gives you different calls to try out. It has two locator calls, crow and owl, a turkey pot call with a double glass striking surface, a carbon striker, and a mouth call.
This kit comes with instructions, but they may not be the clearest, but there are plenty of YouTube videos available to learn how to use them. All the calls are made of plastic or latex.
Types of Turkey Calls
Not all calls work great for everyone, and everyone has their preferences when it comes to turkey calls. That’s why there are a plethora of calls available on the market. Two of the most critical calls are the turkey pot (friction) call and the turkey box call. Both are great for beginners, and many expert turkey hunters claim that these were the first calls they used and became proficient. Let’s take a look at these turkey calls and see which one will work for you.
The Pot (Friction) Call
The turkey pot call, also known as a friction call or even a slate call, is a two-handed call that works well for beginners.
Pot Call Parts – The turkey pot call consists of a striker and a rounded “pot” or disk. The disk consists of the back and sides of the “pot,” made from plastic, wood, or some other material, and the striking surface which makes the noise when you use the striker on it. Friction calls are sometimes called “slate calls” because some turkey pot calls’ striking surface is slate, but this isn’t always the case. Some calls use glass, aluminum, or even plastic to produce the sound needed.
The second part of the friction call is the striker, the tool you use to make the pot sound like a turkey. It looks like a stick with a thicker handhold on the top of it.
How a Friction Call Works – Friction calls are relatively simple to use. You hold the striker against the striking surface and move the striker in a circular motion on the pot call. The noise of the friction between the striker and the surface will imitate turkey noises, with some practice.
When to Use a Friction Call – Friction calls take some practice to be effective. Most beginners make the mistake of holding the striker and the pot too firmly, thus reducing the sound. Beginners also need to learn to keep the striker in contact with the striking surface at all times to ensure a quality pitch. Friction calls can make a variety of calls, including clucks, yelps, cuts, kee-kees, cackles, and purrs.
The Box Call
The turkey box call is a simple call made from wood that is an excellent beginner’s call.
Parts of a Box Call – The box call, as the name implies, is a call made in the shape of a rectangular box that has a lid that slides over the open box portion. Box calls come from wood, either as one piece hollowed out, or made from sections that are fitted or glued together to form a box. The lid is fastened loosely on a screw or other fastener and is made to slide across the open cavity. Either edge of the open box may have some other material, such as aluminum, on the lip of the box.
How a Box Call Works – A box call works by dragging the lid across the edges of the open box to make a sound to imitate a turkey. Like the friction call, the turkey box call requires some practice to perform the right sounds to attract a turkey.
When to Use a Box Call – Box calls are the most straightforward turkey calls to operate but do require some practice before taking them out in the field. You can make convincing clucks, yelps, cuts, and purrs with them relatively quickly. Most beginners make the mistake of raising the lid off the box instead of keeping the top in contact with the edges at all times while using it.
Other Types of Turkey Calls
Mouth (Diaphragm) Call – Turkey mouth calls are an intermediate to advanced turkey call that takes plenty of practice to master. You can make the broadest range of turkey sounds with the mouth calls but are also the hardest to learn.
Push-Pull Call – Push-pull calls are simple turkey calls that allow you to yelp, cackle, cut, and purr consistently. Simple to operate, these calls can be carried or mounted on your shotgun. They are often used to locate toms or even get one to come in at the last moment with a consistent sound.
Electronic – Electronic turkey calls are illegal in many states as they offer a recorded call to bring in toms and other turkeys. They’re easy to operate, but relatively expensive since they require electronics and speakers.
Locator Calls – Locator calls are the easiest to use, but they aren’t intended to call in a Tom. Instead, they make a noise such as an owl, crow, or hawk that causes a tom to gobble in surprise. Many seasoned turkey hunters use locator calls to find their turkeys.
Which Turkey Call is Best for Beginners?
So, if you’re a beginner turkey hunter just getting ready to buy your first call, you may be wondering what calls are best for you. Excluding the electronic turkey calls, since they are illegal in many states, you’ll need to go with one or more of the manual calls. As a beginner, you’re going to want a turkey call that is easy to master and give you the most sounds with some practice. Of the manual calls, you’ll want to consider these in order:
- Box Call – Easy to learn and use, with a broad diversity of sounds, and simple design.
- Pot Call – Easy to learn and use (though not as simple as the box calls), and widest variety of sounds outside of the mouth calls.
- Push-Pull Call – Easy to learn and use, consistent but limited sounds, and great for locating and calling in toms.
- Locator Call – Easiest to use, these calls are used to locate where the toms are with a noise that will cause them to gobble. Very limited in call capability.
- Mouth Call – Hardest to use and learn; these calls are the most versatile and make the most range of sounds turkeys make.
Turkey Call Sounds
Turkeys make many different call sounds. Their vocabulary is quite complicated and extensive, so understanding turkey talk is key to calling in that tom versus having all turkeys leave the area, never to return. Turkeys use these sounds to communicate with other turkeys, so when you call, you have to use the right turkey language. Here are some calls you can make using a turkey box call or a turkey pot call:
Yelps – Yelps come in a variety of different sounds. The various yelps have slightly different meanings, but they all mean, “Hey, I’m over here!” Hens, jakes, and toms yelp. You can mimic a yelp with a box call by moving the lid back and forth rapidly against the box edge. You can use yelps when a tom is nearby to let him think you’re a hen. Hens use yelps to call in toms.
Clucks – Clucks are often used by toms and hens to call other birds towards them. You can make a clucking sound with a box call by holding the box call with your thumb out against the opposite side of the lid and tapping the top on its edge, so it springs against the thumb and bounces back in a short, sharp sound.
Cutting – Cuts are used by hens when they want to mate. It is a fast series of clucks and yelps. You can make this sound by mixing clucks and yelps on your call.
Purrs – Purrs are made by both hens and toms as a contented sound, usually while moving and feeding. If a tom makes a loud, aggressive purr, it indicates a warning to other toms and jakes to get the heck out or be looking to fight them for dominance.
Kee Kee – The kee kee sound is a higher-pitched whistle that young turkeys to find their flock. You can imitate a young turkey to call in an older hen or a tom after a group with young birds scatters. To make a kee kee call, hold your box lid, so only the top third of the lid is touching the box edge. Then move it quickly in three or four successive, short movements to make a high pitched chirp.
Distress – The turkey distress call is often called the kee kee run, which is a sound that has three or four kee kee whistles combined with a couple of yelps at the end. Useful for calling in hens or toms after a flock with young birds scatter. Make a kee kee sound and add a couple of yelps to the end.
Locating Calls – Locating calls can be made using yelps, clucks, and kee kee runs. Otherwise, you’ll need a locator call.
Which calls should you learn?
Ideally, you should learn all the calls, but if you’re a beginner just starting, you should at least learn how to make the yelp and cluck sounds. You can put those sounds together to create a realistic cutting sound too.
The good news is that you don’t have to be perfect to call in a tom, just practice and get the sound to a point where it’s similar enough. Some toms and hens are too riled up to notice your mistakes, especially around mating season.
So, what is the best turkey call? Like anything, it depends on your experience and your situation. In terms of the best turkey box call, we recommend the [amazon link=”B0000AVZ2R” title=”Lynch Fool Proof Turkey Box Call” link_title=”Lynch Fool Proof Turkey Box Call” /] or the Primos Hook-Up Magnetic Box Call for both the price points, the success rates, and the features. Some folks swear by these calls, even though they don’t cost as much as some of the other box calls.
When it comes to the best turkey pot call, check out either the [amazon link=”B000PW3YAG” title=”Primos Ol’ Betsy Slate Call ” link_title=”Primos Ol’ Betsy Slate Call ” /] for both the price point and the sounds it makes. A close runner up is the Lynch Jet Slate Turkey Call because of its compact size and versatility.