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The Three Types of Turkey Calls: When to Use a Turkey Call

We all know there’s nothing like the thrill of turkey hunting. The anticipation, patience, and reward make each hunt memorable. When it comes to hunting turkey, knowing when to use a turkey call can make the difference between a successful hunt and going home empty-handed.

In this post, you’ll learn all about the three types of turkey calls and when each one shines. After reading, you’ll be well-equipped to make those gobblers come running.

You can expect detailed information about box, slate, and mouth diaphragm calls. When done right, these calls can imitate the sounds of a hen, a surefire way to lure in huge gobblers.

Box Calls

Let’s start with the most common turkey call, the box call. This call uses friction to imitate the sound of a hen yelping. It’s beginner-friendly, simple to use, and pretty effective — especially in the spring mating season when the toms actively seek hens.

Transitioning from box calls, let’s dive into the world of slate calls, another type of turkey call that can also significantly improve your hunting success.

Slate Calls

Slate calls, or pot calls, offer more variety in sounds, from purrs to yelps and clucks. Diversity is a definite advantage, but it does require more practice to master.

  • Slate calls are perfect for midday hunting when turkeys are less vocal.
  • They’re excellent for subtle, soft noises that entice a wary gobbler.

Our third and final call, the mouth diaphragm call, is the hardest to use but arguably the most effective.

Mouth Diaphragm Calls

The mouth diaphragm call is the most difficult to master but also the most rewarding. This hands-free option allows you to remain motionless, an essential aspect when you’re near the bird.

Ideal situations for using mouth diaphragm calls include:

  • When the turkey is already in sight, you need to minimize movement.
  • For cutting and cackling sounds to provoke a shock gobble.

When to Use a Turkey Call: Time of Day

Now that we’ve covered the types let’s talk about when to use a turkey call. Generally, early morning and late afternoon are prime turkey calling times. However, it’s essential to remember not to overcall. A few yelps, clucks, or purrs every 20-30 minutes is sufficient.

When to Use a Turkey Call: Season

It’s essential to remember that the season can also dictate which call and when to use it. When gobblers are looking for hens in the spring, a series of yelps can be pretty compelling. In the fall, on the other hand, kee-kee sounds from a slate or box call can mimic lost young turkeys, attracting hens if they are legal to shoot in your area.


Understanding the nuances of turkey calls can significantly improve your hunting experience. Whether you’re a fan of the simple box call, the versatile slate call, or the advanced mouth diaphragm call, knowing when to use a turkey call is critical. So get out there, call those gobblers, and enjoy the thrill of the hunt!

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