Turkey Calling Guide | The What, How, and When of Turkey Calling

Bone Collector | Fully Loaded Turkey Calling Guide

Whatever level of turkey calling you are currently at, whether you sound like an eerily sounding sick, crippled hen, a near perfect lonesome lady, or a sweet sounding, seductive, fluent turkey talker, you could always use a little more practice in the final weeks before turkey season. Lucky for you, we have compiled some intensely detailed information on which type of call does what, how to use them, when to use them, and extra tips on selecting the right type of call. This is to better your turkey calling techniques and strategies, no matter what level you are at, beginner, intermediate, or advanced.

This might be obvious to some, but harder for…well let’s face it, the hard headed turkey hunter. If you think you are an expert turkey caller, than you might want to re-evaluate and think again!  How many turkeys have you killed, how many turkeys have you busted, and how good do you really sound? If you think you are that good, get you’re most successful turkey hunting buddies and put on a show…the comments might be more negative than you would have thought.

For some it might be harder to admit, but figuring out whether to label yourself at the beginner, intermediate, or advanced calling level will help you by the time you are finished with this article. From selecting the right call, to using the more advanced mouth calls in the right scenarios, and in the right tone, particular information will be more valuable to you depending on how much or how little you know.

Selecting the Right Call

There are multiple types of turkey calls on the market. Friction, locator, and the well-known diaphragm calls all have their place among turkey hunters. Here is a quick overview of the style, when, why and how to use each call.

Friction Turkey Call

Friction calls are the general term used to describe your pot calls, box calls, and push/pull calls. Friction calls are by far the easiest to use when it comes to first-time turkey hunters and hunters at the intermediate level. From the simple push/pull call, and box call, to the slightly elevated user level of the slate or glass calls.

Locator Turkey Call

Locator calls are used by nearly all turkey hunters, regardless of which turkey call they prefer. These are not to simulate turkeys, but calls and sounds that will locate toms. Sounding off a like an owl, hawk, pileated woodpecker, and crow all result in a tom gobbling. This become advantageous to locate a gobbler on his roost, or locate which section of timber, holler, or field a gobbler will be in before you make your move on him.

Diaphragm Turkey Call

Mouth calls, or diaphragm calls are easily the most dominating turkey call of the market. They are small, easy to carry, and relatively inexpensive, making them effective and easy to get used to. While the simplicity of the call itself is popular, learning how to correctly us a Diaphragm call takes more explanation.

The diaphragm hands-free usage and (with the right user) exceptionally realistic sounds, are the best call available to turkey hunters. While diaphragm calls offer the best of the best, if you are just picking up a new diaphragm call for this season you may want to reconsider. You don’t want to start off turkey season with a new call, instead enter the woods with a call you are comfortable with. A simple friction box, slate, or glass call are much easier to master in a short time span. Being hands-free is an advantage, only if you can get the gobbler in that sort of range. While a simple friction box call, slate, or glass call can be easier to use and desired in some scenarios, the diaphragm call if mastered properly, will give you the power to literally become the turkey as far as a big tom is concerned. Still yet, locator calls have their place to locate birds afar, without getting them to move, or locating birds on the roost. Here are some basics on how to use each call.

Basics of a Diaphragm Call

Diaphragm calls are obviously one of the most realistic and most advantageous calls on the market. A mouth or Diaphragm call is made by stretching latex or a reed across a shaped frame in a plastic skirt. Placing the mouth call horseshoe out on the roof of your mouth and blowing air across will give you your sound. Using differing pressure of air, and your tongue, along with saying some words, you will start to differentiate calls such as yelps, cuts, clucks, and purrs.

Again, whether you are at the beginning, intermediate, or advanced level of calling, you could always use some extra tips and practice. When you begin to use a mouth call, you will quickly learn there is much more you can do than simply blow some air. While you might be limited to different variations depending on whether you are using the Bone Collector Death Valley box call or the Bone Collector Poplar Girl pot call, a mouth call is seemingly an endless amount of variations all depending on how you use your air and mouth.

Besides you, there are numerous types of diaphragm calls, from easier clean doubles, to cut triple reeds, and different thickness of the reeds themselves, and they can all produce another entire set of unique sounds.


If you are at the beginning stages of turkey calling with a mouth call, you need to focus on selecting an easy beginner call and placing it correctly in your mouth. After you have associated your mouth, tongue, and air pressure you can start practicing the simple yelps, cuts, clucks, keekee, and purr calls.


Once you achieve the intermediate levels of turkey calling, and you are comfortable with your choice of call. You can now begin to understand which call and sounds are appropriate during which calling situation. Calling turkeys on the roost, striking a shock gobble, gauging the “temperature” on a bird, and creating excitement on a held up gobbler, all require different tactics to success.


Once you become comfortable with your call, and you are well-educated with your turkey talk, you will become more interested in different mouth calls, raspier, cleaner, easy to use, or for maximum control. Looking for different “hen voices” and having confidence in these voices, will take some practice and playing around.

Whatever level of turkey talk you are currently at, it always helps to read up, do some research, watch some tips, and practice before turkey season opens up. If you are looking for the best turkey call, or how to use a turkey call you have come to the right place. This turkey calling guide gives you some detailed information and some tools to help you dig a little further if you’d like.

Selecting the right turkey call, using it correctly and learning these tips, will result in a productive turkey hunting season this spring. When you are successful, print the campaign banner below (click banner to enlarge, right click on banner and click “save image as” to print).  Get creative, and use the campaign banner in your turkey hunting pictures and get ready to submit on our Facebook Page to win some CSTF prizes!



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