Carry plenty of tactical tools this season. Here’s a quick look at some essential calls for spring success.
Slamming truck doors, goose honking, duck quacking and hawk screaming will pull gobbles from turkeys. Ultimately, though, a hooter and crow caller are all you really need.
Owl hooter: Used sparingly, an owl hooter can pull shock gobbles from silent gobblers. From wooden to synthetic models — including your voice — zero in on the best for you. Owl hoot to fire up barred owls nearby. Listen for a gobbler to bark back. Then hoot occasionally as you use terrain to set up closer to yelp the bird in.
Crow caller: “Locate a gobbler by crowing in the day, and you have a good chance to kill it,” the saying goes. As with owling, crow call now and then as you run and gun to pull a response from a lock-jawed tom.
Sometimes, you wait until turkeys hit the ground to call. Other times, you set the stage earlier.
Push-pin call: “Idiot boxes?” Nah. Push-pin calls offer soft, sweet clucks and yelps. Run one with a mouth diaphragm to make subtle tree talk to birds before flydown. Call with terrain to hide your setup position, as turkeys like to see visual evidence. An Avian-X decoy or several more (to look like assembling birds) can help ensure that.
Trough call: Simple and easy to use, old-school troughs are effective for mellow early morning tree calling.
THE BIG THREE
Pot and peg: Soft or loud, raspy or clear, or sweet and pure, a good pot and peg ranks as maybe the only call you need at times. Zink Calls has many options.
Short box: So reliable, even new hunters can pick one up and call with simple instruction. And, most dedicated turkey vests have a perfect pocket for them.
Mouth call: What’s not to like about a hands-free call? Carry several reed-cut options.
Gobble call: Gobble right before or just after spring flydown for locating turkeys. Pull male birds into your position with gobbling. Pecking order does that to fired-up turkeys. Use gobble calls thoughtfully, with reserved caution.
Wingbone yelper: A wingbone yelper is something gobblers might not have heard during your spring season.
Scratch box: It’s difficult to beat a good scratcher for well-placed gobbler yelps — a critical call for late-season toms. Sometimes, several well-timed deep, raspy notes are all you need.
Old-school snuff-can calls and beautifully crafted custom long boxes will do the job, too, pockets willing. But hey, that’s another column