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Im in your same boat. this will be my first year also. I just bought a primos box cutter and it seems to work fairly easy. I've also been practicing with mouth calls. I bought some primos calls and some h.s. strut and for me the primos are way easier to use. Also got the mastering the art of turkey calling dvd by primos and that has helped alot. I think what ever you get practice, practice, practice

p.s. kind of sounds like a primos commercial

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I think any box call is a decent box call if you practice with it. Same with the mouth calls. Though, I will admit some brands of mouth calls probably fit some peoples' mouths better than other brands.

My only preference about box calls is that they are made of wood. It's probably just my ears, but the sound from a wood box call is seemingly much more mellow than from a synthetic one.

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I think the box call is a great start for a beginner, you might want to look at the various companies that offer a gun mount call for when the bird gets in close in case you don't have the mouth call master. I use a slate/crystal call most of the time. Since I hunt with a bow in the the blind I found the primos freak that has a strap to keep on my leg so it really only takes one hand to operate. Good Luck

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Jmikes and Bear:

Congrats on your tag, and thanks for posting. Welcome!

When turkey hunting was somewhat new to MN, hunters here had a hard time with calls in that they had to purchase one to figure out whether they liked it or not. While this is still the case with mouth calls, perhaps the best thing that retailers have done recently is to spread out all of their calls for you to try. Gander, Cabelas, Sportsman's Warehouse, and many smaller pro-shops give you the opportunity to try out calls before you purchase them. The displays should be up in a month or so.

That said, I would recommend a single-sided box call for minimal effort in terms of learning and becoming proficient at the call. While push-pin type calls are even easier to run, I personally favor your average box call as it's only slightly more difficult to use, and gives you more range in terms of tone and types of calls you can make with it and still sound great. Don't get me wrong, push-pin style calls make great clucks, and kill many turkeys every year, but a box call will give you a bit more flexibility IMO.

When looking for a box call, I agree with Ray. The synthetic ones, while some may be waterproof and a little more sturdy, don't sound as realistic to my ears. When shopping for one, I look for a high frequency with good rasp and clear break to all the notes. You'll pick up some of them, esp. the cheap and/or larger ones, that sound like your making the call from inside a hollow log. Avoid the hollow reverberating tones if at all possible. Again, these box's are great for clucking, but don't have the range or flexibility you're looking for. At the same time, avoid the ultra-high pitched tinny sounding calls. These are typically too quiet for my taste, and again, don't sound believable to my ears. My personal favorites include a few custom calls, including one by Woodhaven; but the one I use most frequently is a Primos Lil' Heartbreaker. I've used the Box-cutter as well and like it too.

Make sure all calls are chalked-up well before trying them out, so that each gets a fair shot at your ear. Listen to some hen talk on CD or out in the woods, then trust your ear and purchase what you sound best on.

As far as technique, there's many, but my favorite is to hold the base of the call with my left-hand (I'm right-handed) with the hinged end to my gut. Then take the end of the paddle in your right hand and run the paddle from left to right across the edge of the box. Practice this until you get some good sounds.

As with any type of call or hunting, much falls on personal preference and what you're most comfortable with, so don't feel as if this is the only, or even the best way!

Good luck,


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Like Ray and Joel have stated the wood boxcalls are going to be the easiest to learn with. It's pretty easy to get a good sounding yelp and cluck with a conditioned/chalked boxcall. My personal favorite is a Quaker Boy Grand Old Master. But I carry a few of them including a few custom boxes as they are a favorite of mine. With practice they can be a very versatile call making all the sounds a turkey will make including a gobble.

The easiest call to use would be a push/pull pin call. SOund of these sound pretty good and will actually attatch to your gun.

The next easiest would be a slate call with a slate surface. I like a slate over glass myself. There are lots of other surfaces out there but the slate will be most forgiving to the new caller. Keep a skotch pad or emery cloth along to snad the surface from time to time and you'll sound just like a turkey with practice.

Good Luck!

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I haven't used a lot of them. But the Quaker Boy seems to have a good tone to it. The HS Strut will work as well but is definitely harder to keep from sounding squeechy. Check out one of the sports stores as they usually have some out to try. Bring a small piece of emery cloth or very fine sand paper to rough them up a little as they get used a lot with little if any care.

Cost will run from $10-20.

Another easy option is a scratch box. You can usually fine them pretty cheap on Ebay.

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I have a lot of turkey calls (more than I need!). The push button calls are the easiest to learn and you can pick them up at a good price. I like the Lonesome Hen by Knight and Hale. It is really easy to use and can be adjusted a little. It is also very tough. If you want to be able to make more varied sounds, try a "slate" call. They are pretty easy to use if you can get your hands on a tape with instruction. Most companies sell a set with the striker and the "Pot" together. I particulary like any of the Frictionite calls by Primos. They don't need to be sanded and sound good with any striker. For higher sounds work the outside of the call and for lower sounds work the middle of the call. I have gotten pretty good with mouth calls with lots of practice but still like "slate" calls when I'm closing birds the last fifty yards or so. You can position the call to "throw" sound the way you want it. Ex. You can make it sound like the hen is walking away from the gobbler (drives them nuts). Great purrs also! Good Luck!

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was at cabelas in rogers this afternoon and they had their turkey stuff all set up you can try a bunch of different box calls and slate calls they even had chalk and sandpaper so you could make sure everything was scuffed up.

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