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Turkey Fever Part 2: Calling All Turkeys (A Guide For Beginners)

Turkey Fever Part 2:  Calling All Turkeys (A Guide For Beginners)

What do cluck, purr, & cackle have in common? These are the sounds indicating that Spring Turkey Season is in full swing in the South! If you guessed a fight at the local zoo or the noise your breakfast cereal makes then you may want to pay close attention to the handy beginner’s guide below.

Turkey Call Basics – What are they all for?

Box Call – a simple hinged-lid friction call made of two pieces of wood using chalk or rosin on surfaces to produce sound. This type of call is considered the easiest to master.

Best for yelping, clucking, & gobbling\

Basic technique: Lightly grasp lid handle between the thumb & index finger of right hand while holding the box in the palm of the left. Stroke across the top edge while flexing the wrist.

Slate Call (“pot call”) – Another type of friction call that is composed of a sounding board (“pot”) and a striker (“peg”) made in an array of materials.

Best for fly down cackling, purring, & yelping

Basic technique: Grasp the board in the left hand with tips of fingers while holding the striker like a pencil in the right hand. Draw circles in counter clockwise egg-shaped circles on sounding     board.

Mouth Call – A type of diaphragm call made of a thin latex rubber reed held inside of a horseshoe-shaped frame that uses the mouth to produce sound. Has a wide variety of versatility and    range of calls.

Best for yelping, cutting, kee keeing, fly down cackling (& more with practice)

Basic technique: Place call in mouth with rounded side to the back. Press to roof of mouth with tongue while “huffing” breath across the reed.

Tube Call – Another type of diaphragm call that is composed of the latex reed stretched across the top of a round plastic or wooden tube.

Best for yelping & cutting

Basic technique: Hold reed against lower lip and blow.

Turkey Language 101 – What does it mean?

Yelp – Here I am, come here.
Cluck – Here I am, where are you?
Purr – All is good.
Kee Kee – I am young and lost.
Cutting – WooHoo, I’m excited!
Gobble – I am King. Where’s my Queen?

Want your friction call to last for a long time? Never touch the call surface or striker tip!

Calvin Perryman, ALC


Tip from the Expert – What’s your best advice for learning to call?

Calvin Perryman, ALC, pro staffer for Mossy Oak and the 2017 National Wild Turkey Federation Grand National Head to Head First Runner Up, says “when it comes to learning how to call a turkey, be sure to listen to the communication of actual turkeys either in their habitat or online in credible video and/or audio recordings” he went on to say “this will equip you with the tools necessary to speak their language and leave less room for error.”



Written by Lindsay Schumacher – Independent Marketing & Public Relations Consultant, Great Southern Land, Freelance Writer, and Outdoors Enthusiast. She can be reached at

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