Turkey hunters love mouth calls. In many cases, hunters prefer mouth calls over box and pot calls. But why is that when you have to practice with them to become good with them? Well, they’re usually cheaper than box and pot calls, you only use your mouth to make the sounds, and they’re hands-free. Add to the fact that they’re compact and easy to use in the field and don’t rely on good weather to work correctly, you have the primary reasons for why many hunters prefer mouth calls over other types of calls.
Because mouth calls are so popular, they come in many brands and styles from which to choose. We’ll go over the basics when it comes to mouth calls and give a rundown of which are the ten best turkey mouth calls on the market today, and which is the best turkey diaphragm call.
Top 10 Turkey Mouth Calls
Choosing the top mouth calls is difficult because each hunter is different and has their skill levels and preferences. With so many variations in cuts and designs, settling on the best ten mouth calls can be a bit daunting. There are some brands and types of turkey calls that turkey hunters love. Here are the 10 best turkey mouth calls.
1. Woodhaven Red Wasp Diaphragm Turkey Call
Why You’ll Like It: Perfect raspy sound that can get loud or soft. It takes a bit of air to use but provides a deep tone.
- Reeds: 3
- Cut: Split V
The Woodhaven Red Wasp Diaphragm Turkey Call is an incredibly popular call with a raspy sound. Many hunters who use this won’t use any other brand of turkey call besides Woodhaven. This mouth call is made from three layers of latex and prophylactic reeds and has a split-V cut. This call is used to make mid-level to soft raspy yelps and cuts.
Most hunters who use the Woodhaven Red Wasp fall in love with this call. Several new turkey hunters claim it is easy to learn on and use and several old-timers claim that this is the only call they use.
2. Primos Hook Mouth Turkey Call
Why You’ll Like It: Distinctively soft and loud 2-pack of calls. Great Youtube videos to learn how.
- Frame: 2″
- Reeds: 2
- Cut: Ghost
You get an excellent starter pack with the Primos Hunting Hook Hunter Turkey Mouth Call (Pack of 2). One call is a ghost cut, and the other call is a cutter. The ghost cut is suitable for kee kees and purrs; the cutter is great for just about everything else. Hunters who have never used mouth calls before saying they’re easy to use and hunters who have used only other brands are impressed with the sound and quality.
The complaints about these calls were that the carry case broke in one instance, a few people found that using them was difficult, and at least one hunter discovered what happens when you leave them in a car on a hot day (you ruin them). Some hunters didn’t like the way they were made, and a few didn’t like the sound. But overall, they’re reliable mouth calls, and plenty of hunters love them to keep using them.
3. Woodhaven Toxic Orange
Why You’ll Like It: Easy to use. Kee Kee runs and purrs are a breeze.
- Frame: 2.5″
- Reeds: 3
- Cut: Ghost
The Woodhaven Custom Calls Toxic Orange is a popular mouth call with a ghost cut in the top latex reed. It has 2.5 reeds and is excellent at making yelps and kee kees. The Toxic Orange is great with kee kee runs. It gives a unique raspy sound, and at least one hunter found he could do purrs with this mouth call.
Those hunters who weren’t enthusiastic claimed the call was expensive compared to others and did almost the same calls, the mouthpiece was too big for their mouth, or they had trouble with the reeds coming loose with use.
4. Zink Pro Pak Triple Reed Turkey Diaphragms
Why You’ll Like It: Three different callers for all of your needs with a DVD to show you the ropes.
- Frame: 1-3/4″
- Reeds: 3
- Cut: Combo, Wallis, Snake Cut
The Zink Pro Pak Triple Reed Turkey Diaphragms gives you three calls with a batwing, cutter, and a W-cut made of latex and prophylactic reeds. These are handmade mouth calls with three reeds each. Hunters typically rave about these calls, finding them versatile and easy to use. With the DVD, you’ll be calling turkeys in no time.
One hunter who disliked these calls didn’t understand that the DVD wasn’t a CD, and they couldn’t use it while driving to listen to the calls. Another hunter thought the mouth calls sounded alike. Despite these negatives, most hunters love these calls, and some will only use these calls over other turkey mouth calls.
5. Woodhaven Ninja Hammer
Why You’ll Like It: Distinctive raspy old hen sound, with significant volume.
- Reeds: 3
- Cut: Green/Proof
The Woodhaven Custom Calls Ninja Hammer is a terrific call with a cutter style cut, three reeds, one latex, and prophylactic; and capable of a multitude of sounds. It is an excellent call for loud raspy yelps, kee kees, kee kee run, cuts, and will do softer purrs and clucks. Most hunters who use this call love it because of its sound and versatility. Some hunters swear this is the best call ever.
The only negative comment was that one hunter tried to make the sounds he heard in a YouTube video with them, but couldn’t. He had been hunting turkeys for 40 years and decided to go back to the calls he preferred. Other than that, almost all hunters claim this is a reliable call and well worth the money.
6. Primos Upper Cut
Why You’ll Like It: Easy to use and a great call with a single blow. Produces loud calls, and not only for long distance calling.
- Reeds: 3
- Cut: Upper
Turkey hunters love the Primos Hunting Hook Hunter Long Hook Upper Cut Turkey Mouth Call. They can’t say enough how good the call is and how it is their go-to call when calling turkeys. The three reeds are made of latex and prophylactic, cut in the cutter configuration. Excellent for raspy yelps and comes with a storage case. This could arguably be the best turkey diaphragm call on the market.
7. Primos Cutter Call
Why You’ll Like It: The Sonic Dome Call is well-loved, is pre-contoured, and fits the mouth well. It comes with a carry case for all three.
- Reeds: 4
- Cut: Bat Double Call
With the Primos Cutter Call (3-Pack), you get three calls for the price of one of the more expensive mouth calls. Hunters rave about the Sonic Dome Call with the batwing design as being loud and clear compared to other calls. The second call is a double cut, and the third call is a batwing call but without the sonic dome. Most hunters love the value of the calls and claim that they’re easy to learn and use.
The only negatives from some hunters were that the tape came apart quickly. Still, for the money, if you’re looking for a starter set, the Primos Cutter Call (3-Pack) just might work for you.
8. HS Strut Premium Flex Combo
Why You’ll Like It: 4-pack includes deuce cutter, sickle cutter, smokin’ gun & li’l strut. Great value for good calls.
- Reeds: 2-3 Each
- Cut: Ghost, Cutter, Batwing, Li’l Strut
What the Hunters Specialties H.S. Strut Premium Flex Four Turkey Diaphragm Combo gives you is four turkey mouth calls for a very reasonable price. Each one has two or three reeds in latex. The cuts on the reeds include a ghost cut (Smokin Gun), cutter (Sickle Cutter), batwing (Deuce Cutter), and a cut they call Li’l Strut. They claim they are the easiest to blow diaphragms available.
Most hunters find these calls incredibly useful and love them dearly. Many hunters have used these with success, getting a gobbler or two. A few hunters decided that the calls weren’t realistic enough, but overall, most hunters were happy with these calls.
9. Primos Curved Hooks Turkey Mouth Call
Why You’ll Like It: Soft polymer material for durability, and creating raspy and high-pitched notes with ease.
- Reeds: 2
- Cut: Crew
The Primos Hook Hunter Curved Hooks with Crew Cut Turkey Mouth Call is an excellent mouth call with two layers of latex and soft polymer material. The cuts are in a cutter design providing easy to make low and high-pitched sounds.
Many hunters love this call and have bagged toms to prove it. One hunter said it became soggy when they kept it in their mouth awhile, and one hunter complained about the quality, but most said the Primos Hook Hunter Curved Hooks with Crew Cut Turkey Mouth Call was incredibly useful.
10. Foxpro Crooked Spur
Why You’ll Like It: Three pack and very easy to use. Great for a novice and has three distinctive sounds.
- Reeds: 2-3 Each
- Cut: V, Bat, Double
The FOXPRO Crooked Spur Mouth Call Combo is excellent for novices who are looking for their first set of mouth calls. Included are a double cut, a V-cut, and a batwing cut. The V-cut is formed with 3.5 reeds of prophylactic material. The double-cut is made of two latex reeds. The batwing cut is made of one latex and two prophylactic reeds.
Novice hunters rave about the ease of use plus the success they’ve had using these mouth calls. A few hated the sound the calls made and went with something else.
Parts of a Mouth Call
The mouth call is relatively simple and straightforward. It consists of three parts: frame, reeds, and tape.
- Frame – The frame is typically made from plastic or aluminum. Its job is to hold the reeds and tape. Frames come in different sizes, so it may take some trial and error to find a good fit.
- Reeds – The reeds are usually one to four pieces of latex stretched inside the frame. The reeds, which come in various thicknesses, produce the sounds from the vibration when you blow across them. It takes a lot of experimentation with the reeds for manufacturers to produce signature calls.
- Tape – The tape is the part of the call which is outside the frame. It provides the half-circle shape of the call, which seals it to the roof of your mouth. When you blow into the mouth call, the tape forces the air through the reeds.
Mouth Call Cuts – One for Every Season & Situation
The manufacturer cuts the reeds in different ways to produce different sounds with different volumes. Each has its place, so it’s essential to have a refresher on reed cuts before you buy.
- Split-V – The split-v cut looks like a V cut in the center of the diaphragm. It is an all-purpose call intended for lower and mid-level raspy yelps and cuts.
- Double Cut – The double cut is the easiest for a beginner to learn on. It has cuts on each side of the diaphragm next to the frame. It’s suitable for tree yelps, kee kees, and kee kee runs.
- Bat Wing – The batwing looks like a V cut that has the two cuts widened out into a batwing shape, hence the name. This call is an excellent all-purpose call that has a broader and raspier range than the double cut.
- Ghost Cut – The ghost cut is a center cut in the diaphragm in the shape of a half-opened hand fan. It is a call good for yelps and kee-kees.
- Cutter (Shipwreck) – The cutter looks a bit like a shipwreck or sinking ship cut into the center of the diaphragm. This sound is a favorite among hunters as it is loud and good for calling birds in the open country. It is more difficult to control the pitch and requires the most airflow.
- W-Cut – A W-cut is a center cut with a piece with a W shaped center and two bat wings along either side. It is useful for all types of yelping and is raspier than the double cut. It is generally more comfortable to use than other cuts.
What Kind of Calls & Sounds Can be Made with a Mouth 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 use yelps when a tom is nearby to let him think you’re a hen. Hens use yelps to call in toms. To make a yelping sound, you’ll need to put two sounds together, a whistle and a “yuk” sound by dropping your jaw and forcing air out. The yelp will sound like “kee-yuk, kee-yuk, kee-yuk.”
- 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 flock with young birds scatters. You can make this sound by making the whistle sound in the first part of the yelping sound.
- Kee Kee Runs– The kee kee run is a sound that has three or four kee kee whistles combined with a couple of yelps at the end. It is excellent for calling in hens or toms after a flock with young birds scatter. Make a kee kee sound and finish with a couple of yelps.
- Clucks – Clucks are often used by toms and hens to call other birds towards them. Make a short huff into the diaphragm to make a clucking 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, the intent is a warning to other toms and jakes to get the heck out or be looking to fight them for dominance. The purr is the hardest sound to master and requires that you make a gurgling noise in the back of your throat while you huff air through the call.
How to Use a Diaphragm Call
If you’re learning how to use a mouth call for the first time, you’ll need to put the call in your mouth and leave it there on the roof of the mouth. Some people have gag reflexes when it comes to feeling something up there, so just wait until that feeling subsides. Once it does, you can try to use the mouth call.
- Press your tongue against the mouth call and hold steady pressure.
- Don’t blow air; rather, “huff” air from your lungs in short bursts through the reeds of the mouth call.
- Use your diaphragm and not your chest muscles to force air through the reeds. You’ll want to try to control your diaphragm so that you push continuous air through the mouth call.
- Don’t puff your cheeks.
- Try to first make a “whistling” noise with the diaphragm rather than sound like a turkey.
- Once you’re successful and get the feeling of control, you can try to make other sounds with it.
Storage & Care – How Durable are Mouth Calls?
Mouth calls are generally inexpensive, which is why you should replace your mouth call every year if it has had a lot of use. You can extend the life of your mouth calls by keeping them clean, dry, and stored in cases, but remember there is always a chance for bacteria to grow in them, so be sure to thoroughly clean and dry when you put them in their cases. To clean and store your mouth calls, do the following:
- Rinse your mouth calls in a solution of 5 percent mouthwash and 95 percent cold water.
- Allow drying completely.
- Put in cases and store them in the refrigerator until next season.
Ready to Mouth Off to Some Turkey?
Now that we have the top ten calls, which one is the best turkey mouth call? Well, if you’re a novice, you’re probably going to be very happy with the Primos Cutter Call (3-Pack). If you’re an old pro, you should be pleased with the Primos Hunting Hook Hunter Long Hook Upper Cut Turkey Mouth Call.
Whatever call you select, be sure to practice with it before trying it out in the field. Good luck on your turkey hunt!
*Last updated 2022-08-11 at 19:00 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API