With all the complex turkey calls available today why would you want to use something as simple as a wooden, push-button call?
Turkey are one of the hardest wild game to hunt. They have eagle-like vision that requires the best camo available to fool them into coming closer. The true art to hunting them is mastering the ability to produce realistic clucks, purrs, yelps, and gobbles to draw them in. Most people really like to use reed-based calls for this, but why not go with something easier like a push-button call?
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Most experienced turkey hunters overlook these great calls as something only beginners use. This is just not the case though; they produce some of the most realistic calls you will hear with just a little practice.
The reason they can be such an effective tool to use in the field is the fact that they are overlooked so often. This is especially true if you hunt a lot of public land. Out there, turkeys have heard every type of reed and slate call from the best to the worst. After a while they learn to avoid these or become very hesitant to pursue them past 50 yards away.
How They Work
Push-button calls work like paddle-box calls, using friction to create noise. Instead of a hinged lid they have long, wooden dowel with a block of hard wood attached to it. This block scrapes and vibrates across a pointed pillar of wood underneath of it.
A spring puts tension on the wooden dowel to push it back out of the box. By rhythmically pushing on the button at different speeds, or tapping it quickly, different turkey sounds are produced.
Producing Different Calls
A wide assortment of calls are possible with the push-button calls. Try these out and see what happens.
Yelp- A high to low sound that is a universal call to all turkey. Start with a medium speed, but firm push all the way down with the striker to create a longer “yee–elp.” Then follow up with faster, shorter “yelp-yelp-yelp” behind it.
Cluck- A soft hen call that is best used at closer range. Great for drawing in toms during spring. Quickly tap the striker rod in succession four to five times.
Cackle- This is more of an excited hen call. Kind of like a faster yelp. Push the striker rod four to five times in quick, short, rhythmic bursts followed by a series of longer bursts.
Purr- This is made by a happy turkey who is usually feeding. Slowly but firmly push the rod enough to make it vibrate and create the “purrrrr.”
I believe a push-button call should be a part of any serious turkey hunters arsenal. Their versatility, realism, and ease of use are amazing. They will usually turn birds on when nothing else will. This could end up being the push those toms need to get close enough to give you a kill shot.