Talk The Talk Part II – Nancy Jo

Once a new hunter is familiar with the different sounds that hens, jakes, and toms make, it is important to know the different style of calls that exist to emulate those sounds on their hunt. Calls range from handmade for precision and detail to machine made for mass production. Several popular style calls are the box call, the push-button  friction call, the slate call, and the diaphragm or mouth call.

Duel Calls copy

A good, reputable turkey call company will have a variety of call types and different styles for the turkey hunters to choose from. Duel Game Calls Blodgett Signature Designs. Photo Credit: Life in Camo

Box calls or friction calls are capable of creating many different turkey sounds with the friction created by sliding the lid across the surface of the base edge of the box. These type of calls are the most versatile turkey calls on the market, even more than the diaphragm call, because it is capable of producing more volume than any other turkey call. Box calls are made from many different types of wood and a few are even made with metal sides and water resistant. You can find them in several different sizes and some in unique shapes.

The push-button friction call is popular among novice, youth, and women hunters because of its ease of use. The call is a wood box with a peg-style push button that makes the sound when the button is pushed. There are some made of different materials other than wood such as plastic. Many of these designs can be mounted on the hunter’s gun for easy access in the midst of the hunt.

Another popular style call and one that is easy to master is the slate call. Slate calls are easier to use than any other style of call. On a slate call, the hunter creates a sound by drawing a striker across the surface. The striker is usually a wood, plastic, or aluminum dowel. Some slate calls and strikers are waterproof.


The slate call has a round surface that can be made from materials other than slate. Some of the other surfaces are glass, ceramic, crystal, composite, aluminum and copper. There are even combination calls that incorporate several surfaces.

Box calls and slate calls require movement so they are best used as long range calls. When the tom gets in close you will need to change to a different style call such as the diaphragm call which is often referred to as a mouth call.

The diaphragm call is inserted into the hunter’s mouth and requires practice to master. This call is also popular with hunters because it leaves the caller’s hands free to hold a shotgun and requires no movement which is crucial when the tom is within eyesight. There are many different brands and styles of diaphragm calls on the market. Deciding on the right one is not only personal preference – it has a lot to do with proper fit in the roof of your mouth. Diaphragm calls are made with single, double, and triple reed. There are even 3.5 reed calls. The reeds are usually staggered or stacked and some are split, v-split, or bat-winged.

Being familiar with turkey talk and learning how to emulate their sounds is crucial in your quest for harvesting that trophy tom. It is important to practice your turkey calling techniques well before your season opens. Of course, knowing how to talk turkey is not all that there is to turkey hunting, but coupled with good hunting knowledge and skills, perfect shot placement, and a good dose of patience, you are armed with a sure-fire guarantee to a memorable harvest.

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