Turkey Hunting: Playing The Box Call

I give dozens of game calling seminars and demonstrations each year. Every single time I pick up a call, I explain to the folks watching and listening that the device in my hand, although it is described as a game call, is really no more than a musical instrument. I also tell them that game calls operate on the same two principles as do all musical instruments. Those principles being rhythm and pitch.

If you can master the rhythm and pitch of a given call, you can be more successful in the field. And, like a musician practicing their instrument alone, imagining what it would sound like with the full orchestra, you must practice your calls imagining what they will sound like outdoors, at some distance.

The spring gobbler is still one of the toughest and most sought after game trophies to collect and his popularity grows each year. Mastering the turkey call can make you a hero in your hunting group.

A Turkey-Calling Veteran
My favorite turkey call, by far, is the box call. I have had lots of professional experience calling turkeys. For over 25 years I served on the Pro Staff for Lohman Game Calls, and I am currently Director of the Pro Hunting Staff for Mountain Screamer Game Calls. So, my box call is like an extension of my own hands.

The author goes to the box call when he needs to put the hammer on spring gobblers. (Photo by Caleb Roux)

One of the most exciting and effective sounds the box call can reproduce is cutting. To do this, hold the box in your left hand, paddle up and laying on the lip. Use your left thumb as a “bumper.” Tap the paddle with your right hand allowing it to rebound off your left thumb. Practice this until you get the pitch, then work on the rhythm. This call can really fire-up old tom and vastly improve your chances for success.

The key to this turkey call and to all others is practice. There is no substitution for listening to “live” birds and reproducing the sounds you hear them make.

For a selection of Turkey Hunting gear, click here.

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