February 24, 2022
One of the accepted tenets of modern turkey hunting is that the hunter who uses several different calls in different situations and circumstances is more likely to succeed than the hunter who sticks with, say, one box call all the time.
Hence, a lot of new calls of different types are introduced to the hunting market each year, and many of them made their debut at the 46th annual National Wild Turkey Federation Convention and Sports Show in Nashville recently.
The following are a few of the calls that caught our eye at the show, and no doubt will compel a big tom to come a-runnin’ in your neck of the woods this spring.
Purpleheart paddles on box calls will be popular in the turkey woods this spring, as several manufacturers have gone that route. H.S. Strut’s contribution is the Long Stroker ($49.95), designed by noted turkey caller Paul Butski.
The call’s walnut side boards, base and end blocks are paired with a lid of boldly colored purple heart wood. Butski’s intention was to produce a call that could handle any long-distance work as well as the close-up calling sometimes required to deal with a hung-up tom.
For mouth callers, there’s the Original Cutter, a replica of the call Butski designed in 1980. The call has 3 1/2 reeds and, once mastered, can be used for any type of turkey talk at long or short distances. Perhaps an Original Cutter ($9.99) will do for you what it did for Butski. He used the first version to win a trio of NWTF Grand National Championships, a half-dozen U.S. Open Championships and several other competitions during his calling career.
This year, famed Georgia call maker Lynch is not so much focused on the future as on its storied past. M.L. Lynch founded the company 80 years ago, and to celebrate the occasion, the company is offering fans some special promotions.
First, a limited-edition (100) "Turkey in the Pines" box call that Lynch introduced in the early 1950s will be sold for $495 each. Included in the package is a call hand-engraved by famed wildlife artist Dustin Dattilio, as well as a 45-rpm calling record and a turkey print by Dattilio that’s signed and numbered to match the call.
A limited-edition Lynch World Champion Box Call and the Fool Proof Box Call can be purchased separately or as a set packaged in a presentation-grade wooden box. Prices range from $125 for one call to $350 for the set with box.
As another anniversary observance, Lynch will host the first annual Turkey Fest on March 19 in Boston, Ga. It will include merchant booths, calling, associated events and other attractions.
Primos Hunting has marketed a lot of calls in its day, none more attractive than the new Select Heartbreaker box call and Select Lil’ Heartbreaker box call ($79.99 each).
Each is made at Primos’ Mississippi headquarters of a one-piece mahogany box and purpleheart lid with laser engraving, and each is hand-tuned by one of the Primos crew. The Select Heartbreaker is two-sided for more sound options, while the Lil’ Heartbreaker is one-sided and better for the type of higher-pitched calling a sweet young hen makes.
The new Select Jackpot Slate Turkey Pot Call ($49.99) features a high-grade wooden pot, slate surface and custom striker. The combination of quality components is said to result in an attractive call that toms like to hear, and at a price most hunters can afford without breaking the bank.
New to the brand’s lineup of diaphragm calls is the Select Turkey Mouth Call Series ($14.99 each). The Model PS1 (2 reeds) is best for clucks and purrs, soft tree yelps, feeding yelps and "content" yelps.
The Model PS2 is an all-around call. The company says, "it yelps, cuts and cackles with a high-end top note, but easily falls off into the raspy second note of an old boss hen looking for company." The Model PS3 works best for those high-end kee-kee yelps and the kee-kee run, plus jake yelps. Finally, the PS4 is the go-to call for yelping, but it also works for cutting and excited yelping.
Jonathan Shull of Mountain City, Tenn., is typical of the many custom call makers that set up shop each year at the NWTF soiree. Shull’s latest masterpiece is the Dirty Diva, a pot call made of laminated cherry, maple and walnut, with a strike that features a diamond wood peg and maple handle.
Shull polished off his creation by sandwiching a turkey feather between the friction surface and the sound board. He sells his turkey calls for about $40, which is typical for a custom-made call.
Everything needed to call in a wily gobbler is packaged with the WorkZONE pot-style call ($24.95), designed by 2010 Grand National Senior Division Champion Mitchell Johnston of North Carolina.
The Mossy Oak Bottomland series is available with glass or slate surface. The striker has a purpleheart peg with a maple handle, and each call comes with a bit of sandpaper and a scouring pad to rough up the call’s surface.
Everything old is new again—at least when it comes to pileated woodpecker locator calls. Though many hunters jumped on the woodpecker bandwagon a number of years ago when the calls first hit the market, they eventually fell out of favor. Could a fresh batch of toms fall for the old woodpecker ruse and gobble their heads off?
Legacy Calls reckons so, and has introduced the Pileated Woodpecker Locator Call ($10) to back up its faith. The call is made of tough plastic and the reed is mylar, which is said to produce a more "woodpeckery" sound.
Quaker Boy has long been at the forefront of quality turkey box calls. Its newest models are the Tearjerker and the Reign.
The Tearjerker ($45) has a purpleheart lid and mahogany bottom. A "ToneBlast" port in the lid is said to allow the sound to escape for better volume and sharpness.
The Reign ($25) isn’t as fancy or as big, but it still has a couple of intriguing features going for it. The lid is maple while the bottom is cherry. It performs the same wet or dry and is packaged with a silencer to keep the call from squeaking at inopportune times.
Maybe it’s not nice to play dirty tricks on turkeys, but turnabout is fair play.
The Dirty Trick Pot Call ($38) has almost as much aluminum in it as a beer can and was designed for those windy mornings when the sounds produced by an ordinary call don’t carry very far. The Dirty Trick’s high-pitched yelps, purrs and clucks will make sure any gobblers in the neighborhood get the message.
Tru-Tone hit a home run a few years ago when it introduced the Wet-Tech line of calls that sound the same come rain or come shine.
The newest call in the lineup is TK’s Signature Slate ($50). As the name suggests, it has a slate surface and pot made of birdseye maple. The call is packaged with a striker of laminated maple.
Make a statement in turkey camp this spring with one of these fancy friction calls. This Georgia call maker jazzes up his calls with maple, purpleheart and yellowheart laminates, and strikers are made of diamond wood.
A turkey feather positioned between the carbon fiber sound board and crystal glass friction surface provide the finishing touch. The asking price is $50.
There’s nothing more aggravating to a gobbler first thing in the morning than to hear the hoot of a pushy owl nearby. Whether he’s with hens or not, the tom is likely to gobble at the owl and give away his location.
That’s the whole point of the Ninja Owl ($35), a locator call that imitates one of a gobbler’s least favorite critters. Grand National and U.S. Owl Hooting Champion Scott Ellis spent a couple of years designing the call and making sure it had just the right tone.