Marlin Watkins makes some of the best sounding box calls you’ll ever hear. Only a rare few call makers since Neil Cost’s passing match consistency with beauty in nearly every box he or she constructs. Watkins is one of them. Blindfold yourself and pull one out of a bag, and it’s easy to tell it was crafted by Watkins, because it holds a distinct sound that is pure turkey.
The bloodwood and poplar short boxes sold in Zink’s Wicked Series are no different. Great breakover with deep lows creates a dirty rasp like a longtime singer in a smoke-filled blues bar. In the particular call I have, I wish it had a little more on its high tones to allow me to make whines, but really, that’s just picking knits.
Sound is one thing, beauty is another. The Wicked Series box calls feature a contoured and laser-engraved poplar box set in a contrasting bloodwood base. The poplar is toned down with a little dark stain to keep it from standing out. They’re topped with a bloodwood lid laser engraved with the pattern of a turkey tail feather, creating a striking presentation that naturally blends in with the environment.
Bloodwood is dense, and when you hold the lid, it feels like a substantial piece of wood, maybe even a little on the heavy side. But it is balanced right, hand-tuned and ready to call right out of the package. That’s hard to beat. With this call, you get custom quality build and sound in an off-the- shelf product. A great combination in my book.