turkey calls for hunting
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7 Go-To Turkey Calls

Whether you prefer slate, box, or reed calls, these seven will bring home the (turkey) bacon.

Choosing the right turkey call delivers ample reward: Observing a gobbler, who believes he's out there just among his kind, in full strut with his glorious display of feathers. Set against a backdrop of budding green foliage, spring turkey hunters certainly appreciate this scene—but even more so, they appreciate when that broadhead hits true and they get to successfully bag their bird.

The right turkey call could mean the difference between a fruitless morning spent in the woods or a day ending with a filled tag. While there are, admittedly, many factors that contribute to a successful hunt, calling turkeys in at the right time, with a realistic-sounding call, makes a huge difference.

Naturally, not all turkey calls are equal. The best and most effective turkey calls will sound like a real turkey, be easy to use, and be affordable. It doesn't have to be the most popular call or the trendiest call, either. Some of the best calls are flying just under the radar.

The following list of turkey calls are what we consider to be the best calls on the market today. A few of them are widely available at any major sporting goods store, but many of these are made by small businesses, designed by turkey hunters, for turkey hunters, and are worth the trouble of waiting to arrive in the mail.

1. Wicked Series Friction Call

zink turkey calls WICKED SERIES POT

First on the list is a pot call—or a slate call, depending on who introduced you to turkey hunting—which means it's as versatile as it is easy to learn.

This one is from Zink Calls and what makes this call truly unique is the core of the design: The Brazilian cherry pan of the call has been planted with acrylic, turning the call weatherproof.

As opposed to some other friction calls out there, this call has a built-in sweet spot which offers a second calling surface to provide a super-soft, close-range sound to complement the already strong sound from the primary striking surface. The backside also incorporates an integrated striker conditioner to help fine tune your striker in the field, and the sides employ a no-slip rubber grip ring, which can make a world of difference when you're trying to remain stealthy and that spring heat has your hands sweating.

It's pricey, but the unique and effective design makes it worth it.

Zink Wicked Series Hunting Pot — $99

2. The Game Changer with Corn Dog Striker

Beaver Creek Game Calls The Game Changer

Beaver Creek Game Calls make some of the best turkey calls on the market, hands down. Every single call that Beaver Creek puts out is created and hand-tuned by Patrick Urckfitz, the owner of the company. These calls are in high demand by turkey hunters who know quality when they hear it. If you want one of these calls, you better e-mail Patrick and get on the waiting list stat, as they're often sold out.

The Game Changer is a black walnut pot call that features a cherry soundboard and glass playing surface that allow you to produce screaming yelps or tone it down when a big gobbler makes is about to make his move. It also includes Beaver Creek's Corndog Striker.

Beaver Creek Game Calls The Game Changer — $55

3. Supreme Turkey Calls Strut Buster

supreme strut buster

Supreme Turkey Calls

Next down the line is another pot call, handmade by Steve Reeves, owner of Supreme Turkey Calls. Many turkey hunters consider Reeves the Michelangelo of turkey calls.

One of company's top sellers year after year, the Strut Buster features a Purpleheart body with a crystal playing surface and slate on the back. It produces an unmistakably high-pitched, raspy sound, which has led Reeves to keeping this body style in his lineup since 1998. Each call comes with two strikers and is only available on the site.

Supreme Turkey Calls Strut Buster — $155

4. Primos Hook Up Magnetic Turkey Box Call

Now we move into box calls, which offer the easiest, simplest way to call in a turkey. Box calls have been around for decades, and there are still veteran, expert-level turkey hunters who swear they're still the best option out there.

One brand that isn't as hard to come by, Primos is simply famous for their game calls. The Hook Up may have taken their fame to a new level by offering a box call that is as innovative and as it is easy to use. Instead of a traditional screw, the Hook Up uses a strong magnet that holds the paddle at the perfect angle to make a variety of calls, including crisp cuts, smooth purrs, and soft-to-loud yelps. It also includes Primos' Gobble Band, which allows hunters to produce some of the most realistic gobble sounds of any box call on the market.

It may not present the same rare allure of many on our list, but Primos has made quite the splash on the turkey market with this model.

Primos Hook Up Box Call — from $46

5. Split V 3 Reed Call

split v turkey call

Reed calls, also known as diaphragm calls, are considered an option exclusive to the most skilled turkey hunters—they take a whole lot of practice to actually be effective. However, if you have the determination to learn how to use one, you'll not only have the ability to produce even better sounds, but you also won't have to move your hands at all. And it doesn't hurt that they're considerably cheaper to purchase.

Hendershot Game Calls are all designed and created by Shane Hendershot, a multiple turkey calling national champion, and these calls sound good. The Triple V is a classic style that many turkey hunters come back to again and again for their rough and raspy sound.

When it comes to finding a good reed call, don't trust the variety packs that you can find at big-box retailers—trust a company that has a turkey calling world champion creating each and every one.

Hendershot Game Calls Split V 3 Reed Call — $10


David Halloran Turkey Calls Natural Born Killer

natural born killer turkey call

This simple reed call is a unique design created by calling champion David Halloran. This call has prophylactic reeds as well as yellow and black latex that create the bat wing cut. You can expect clear front-end yelps with an awesome raspy finish.

Each call is completely handmade and rival any of the best calls in the country at medium range with crisp yelps, clucks, and purrs.

David Halloran Turkey Calls Natural Born Killer — $9

Honorable Mention: Tucks Cherry Long Box Call

tucks turkey calls

This is easily one of the most sought-after box calls out there, but sadly, it's a whole lot harder to track down these days as owner Gary Tucker had to close down his website due to some health issues he was dealing with. Tucks Game Calls were featured in national magazines, as well as television shows, and quickly became an American classic, largely because they sounded so good right out of the box. The Tucks Cherry Long Box Call has a finish that only gets better with age and the cherry finish darkens with exposure to sunlight. There are still a few out there online if you look hard enough.

READ MORE: How to Choose the Best Turkey Vest for You