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What You Need to Know About the Different Types of Primos Turkey Calls

What You Need to Know About the Different Types of Primos Turkey Calls

2nd Mar 2023

For most of us, spring turkey seasons are hardly two months out. Without a doubt, many a hunter is going to hit the spring woods with a decoy slung over his shoulder and a Primos turkey call (or several) in his vest pocket.

However, if you’re new to the sport, let this short guide break down the five basic types of turkey calls, most of which are made by Primos (and other manufacturers, like Zink and Woodhaven.

About the Different Types of Primos Turkey Calls

As stated, there are five basic types of turkey calls, which are box calls, diaphragm and mouth calls, slate and pot calls, locator calls, and gobbler calls. (Some would add a sixth, called a push call.) We sell Primos turkey calls in four of these five categories.

Turkey calls are used to locate wild turkeys and communicate with them. Most calls are used to imitate the sounds of female turkeys (hens) in an attempt to lure in males (toms and jakes). A few are designed to irritate males, encouraging them to gobble, and a final type, the gobble call, mimics the sound of a male’s gobble as a challenge.

Box Calls

Box calls are made out of wood and consist of a hollow wooden body and wooden lid. By scraping the lid across the lips or sides of the box, you can make cutts, yelps, and putts. These calls are easy for beginners, but versatile enough for advanced callers.

Primos box calls are popular because they have a wide range of uses and can be used to imitate a number of different turkey sounds.

One thing to remember, though, is that box calls require two hands to use and if they get wet, they don’t work.

Diaphragm/Mouth Calls

Diaphragm calls, also known as mouth calls, consist of a semi-circular frame with a rubber reed. They are held in place in the hunter’s mouth and by blowing across them, the reed vibrates and makes a sound.

Mouth calls are very versatile and, despite the fact that they are hard to learn how to use, they can make a wide range of calls, including yelps, purrs, cutts, putts, and kee-kees. This makes them among the most versatile of all turkey calls.

Diaphragm calls also keep the hunter’s hands free, which means he can keep calling right up to the point that he is ready to shoot. That said, the sounds from mouth calls don’t travel well, so it’s good to have another type of call in the vest, too.

Slate/Pot Calls

Slate calls, also known as pot calls, consist of a slate, or a ceramic or rough glass disk and a striker. By rubbing the striker sharply across the face of the pot, the hunter can make a wide range of calls, including yelps and cutts.

Slate calls are loud, like box calls, which makes them great for locating turkeys, as the sound carries well. They are not as versatile as mouth calls, but they are easy to learn to use.

However, like box calls, slate or pot calls do not perform well when wet, so keep that in mind.

Locator Calls

The first three types of calls mentioned on this list are intended to imitate a female turkey, thereby drawing in a breeding tom. Locator calls do not mimic a hen - instead, they mimic some other animal, in an attempt to antagonize a gobbler in the area to gobble, giving away his location.

Popular locator calls include crow calls, owl hoots, or even a woodpecker. Some hunters don’t carry locator calls - and they aren’t necessary to hunt turkeys - but they can make it easy to pinpoint the location of a gobbler in the area.

                   Primos turkey call

Gobbler Calls

Last but not least we have gobbler calls. Whereas most turkey calls are intended to imitate the sounds of a hen, gobbler calls do one thing and one thing only - they mimic the call of a breeding tom turkey - a gobble.

Most gobble calls consist of a plastic body and a flexible rubber or plastic bellows; to operate, the hunter raises and then shakes the call, emitting a sound much like the gobble of a turkey.

Many spring hunters that carry gobble calls set up not only hen decoys, but jake decoys as well; these antagonize mature toms into thinking a young turkey has intruded into his “turf,” luring him in as a challenge.

For beginners, mastering the gobble call is not necessary, though. The main call you need to  know is a yelp, and that can be mastered with a box, slate, or mouth call (or some combination).

Basic Turkey Calling Tips

Whether you go into the woods with a Primos turkey call or choose a different brand’s flagship, here are some basic tips to help up your chances of success of luring in a big gobbler this spring.

  • Don’t overcall. It can be tempting to call every few seconds, but realistically, this is just way too much. Yes, wild turkeys cluck and purr just about constantly when they are in company, but they are not constantly yelping. Take it easy. If the bird was close enough to hear you the first time, trust us, he heard you. Space it out. Calling too much can actually spook pressured birds anyway.
  • If you’re new to calling, keep it basic. Don’t try to master putting and purring right off the bat; yelping convincingly is hard enough. Just master the yelp, do it right, and add skills as you go. Nothing is worse than bad calling; trust us, the birds know a bad accent when they hear it.
  • Just because birds aren’t answering you doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Stay still and sometimes a tom will come out of the woodwork.
  • Keep your calls dry. Box and slate calls don’t work well in the rain, but going out in the rain is a good tactic cause it often keeps the other hunters at home. Just make sure you keep your calls covered.
  • If you use a box call, carry chalk. If the chalk wears off in the middle of your outing, you’ll lose that “natural turkey” sound.
  • Carry more than one call. Different calls have different tenors, making it sound like more than one hen is in the area. Also, having a spare call is useful if your primary call is a box or slate call and it gets wet.

                     Primos turkey call

For More Information on Turkey Calling Techniques, Please Consult Our Previous Blog

We covered the different types of turkey calls (sounds) in one of our previous blogs, A Crash Course on Turkey Calls and Turkey Calling. If you have questions before buying a new Primos turkey call, check out that blog for more information.