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Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys #8213876 03/25/21 03:26 AM
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Daughter got drawn for a TPWD youth turkey hunt. I thought it was a guided type of thing but the hunt master told me today that I needed a call and decoys would help. Which is fine, I have just never successfully called a turkey in. So I have til April 16 to learn!

Can anyone recommend a quality call that would be good for a beginner. I saw a primos at academy for like $12 but it just looked way cheap.
Also some decoys that aren't $300.

Thank you!

Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8213907 03/25/21 03:47 AM
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A box call is easy to master. Primos heartbreaker is actually a good one. Get a box, a slate and a few diaphragms. It's pretty easy to learn. Depending on when your hunt is, you are welcome to borrow my decoys.


Originally Posted by SnakeWrangler
Originally Posted by TurkeyHunter
And make Kamila president

She’d just end up blowing it......
Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8213926 03/25/21 04:13 AM
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Thank you sir. I'll look into the heartbreaker and let you know on the decoys. My good buddy txcornhusker may also have some I can borrow.

Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8214030 03/25/21 11:38 AM
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Buy a couple of diaphragms and put one on your mouth and practice. It'll be super awkward at first, but you will get used to it. Being able to call without using your hands is a huge, huge plus.

Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8214118 03/25/21 01:07 PM
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Easiest calls to use are the friction calls and box calls. Diaphragm calls are usually what I use because they allow you to be hands free. If your daughter is the hunter, hands free won't be an issue. Over time, you can learn to use the diaphragm calls but at this late moment, friction or box calls are your best bet. Because you are just getting started, I think Walmart offers a starter set by Primos - Diaphragm, Slate call and box call for something like $34.95.. They look entry level but they will work. If you find out you love turkey hunting, trust me, other calls will follow. Borrowing decoys for this outing is also not a bad idea if you have someone that will loan them out. I have 3 Dave Smiths (the $300 decoys you are alluding to). I love them for how realistic they look. The first time you doze off taking one of those "spring turkey" naps we are all known for, you will get startled every time you open your eyes and see one and think it's a real turkey. But they have their downsides also. Cost. Weight - they are not for running and gunning up and down canyon walls. Keep this first hunt as low budget as possible and be sure you like it and then you can commit to more expensive options once you are committed. The first time you hear one gobble in the distance, the addiction begins. First time you "close the deal", the addiction is complete. Taking a "first time" turkey hunter is one of the most enjoyable experiences in hunting. As i raised all of my children, it was an experience I'll never forget. If I lived closer to Texas, I would be more than happy to "guide you". It would be equally as much fun for me as for you and your daughter. One other thing: If you decide to use diaphragm calls, you'll be surprised what you can get away with as long as you're close to what a turkey sounds like (whatever that is on a given day). I've hunted turkeys for probably about 25 years. I figured I was an expert caller because I've called in and killed tons of turkeys. I recently started videoing my hunts. Must have a bad microphone on my Tactacam because quite frankly, my diaphragm calling sounds pretty strange but it kills turkeys.

Last edited by Huskerron; 03/25/21 01:10 PM.
Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8214287 03/25/21 03:33 PM
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Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8214296 03/25/21 03:41 PM
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Thanks everyone. I think I am going to buy a Primos box call in the $50ish dollar range. Will Primos youtube videos sold me last night roflmao

I'll definitely grab that three pack of decoys though.

Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8214378 03/25/21 04:59 PM
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If you go the box call route, be sure you have chalk for it. I'm sure that Will showed you that. Pretty much any kind of chalk will work.

Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: Huskerron] #8214387 03/25/21 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Huskerron
If you go the box call route, be sure you have chalk for it. I'm sure that Will showed you that. Pretty much any kind of chalk will work.



No, no chalk in his video so I appreciate the heads up!

Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8214472 03/25/21 06:40 PM
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There are some chalkless calls that sound good, they have a synthetic layer on th paddle that does not require chalk.


lf the saying "Liar, Liar your pants on fire" were true
Mainstream news might be fun to watch
Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8214574 03/25/21 08:01 PM
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Sounds like technology has passed me by. I would say that not all box calls are created equal so you need to listen to what it sounds like. I use a Lynch. Mine needs chalk but it does sound good. They are soft wood and fragile though. I’ve replaced mine once because I sat on it.

Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8214604 03/25/21 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by cbump
Thanks everyone. I think I am going to buy a Primos box call in the $50ish dollar range. Will Primos youtube videos sold me last night roflmao

I'll definitely grab that three pack of decoys though.

Get you some diaphrams too. They are cheap. Annoy your wife and kids while practicing at home. If you can get good with them, they are great to get the Toms to come in those last few yards without moving anything except vocal chords.


Originally Posted by SnakeWrangler
Originally Posted by TurkeyHunter
And make Kamila president

She’d just end up blowing it......
Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8214661 03/25/21 09:43 PM
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I like to have at least one friction slate type (pot) call an usually have 2 or 3 with me as well as several diaphragms and a box call. Never know what sound a turkey will like best.

The box is easy to get good yelps and clucks with, the slate is easy to do those plus cutting and purrs. Diaphragms you can do all of those and others with it just takes a lot more practice.

Note: the worst sounding hen calls I have head in the woods were not from a hunter but a hen turkey.

Watch some of the youtube videos with real turkey sounds and learn the cadence of the calls the turkeys make. Cadence is a big part of sounding right to turkeys and getting them in as the sound of the call.

The TYHP turkey hunts we tried to have enough guides so every kid got a guide but occasionally it did not work out that way.

If i had to pick one call to go kill turkeys with it would be slate/friction type call. I have one that is no longer mad that has called in I do not know how many birds over the last 25 or so years an it still rocks, that said I also carry a slate and a glass topped pot call.

Last edited by kmon1; 03/25/21 09:55 PM.

lf the saying "Liar, Liar your pants on fire" were true
Mainstream news might be fun to watch
Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: kmon1] #8215375 03/26/21 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by kmon1
I like to have at least one friction slate type (pot) call an usually have 2 or 3 with me as well as several diaphragms and a box call. Never know what sound a turkey will like best.

The box is easy to get good yelps and clucks with, the slate is easy to do those plus cutting and purrs. Diaphragms you can do all of those and others with it just takes a lot more practice.

Note: the worst sounding hen calls I have head in the woods were not from a hunter but a hen turkey.

Watch some of the youtube videos with real turkey sounds and learn the cadence of the calls the turkeys make. Cadence is a big part of sounding right to turkeys and getting them in as the sound of the call.

The TYHP turkey hunts we tried to have enough guides so every kid got a guide but occasionally it did not work out that way.

If i had to pick one call to go kill turkeys with it would be slate/friction type call. I have one that is no longer mad that has called in I do not know how many birds over the last 25 or so years an it still rocks, that said I also carry a slate and a glass topped pot call.

This. When I am calling Turkeys, I don't use one call. I use every call that I own. You never know which sound that Gobbler will like that day.

Another tip. If he hangs up out of range, and won't come that last bit...switch calls.


Originally Posted by SnakeWrangler
Originally Posted by TurkeyHunter
And make Kamila president

She’d just end up blowing it......
Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8215796 03/26/21 09:14 PM
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Echo everything previously said. I have been hunting as long as i can remember, but never turkey. A couple years back decided i wanted to give it a go. I went to walmart/academy picked up the cheapest decoys, box call, and slate call i could find and practiced for a month along youtube vidoes. Soon as i heard them gobble back to my yelps from a $20 box call, i was hooked. Ive got some, have missed some, had some hang up, learned that certain sounds mean they are getting ready to high tail out of there along w every other turkey on the property (putt)...but at the end of the day has become my favorite animal to chase.

Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8216066 03/27/21 01:03 AM
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I would add in at least one slate pot call and a couple of strikers. One slate pot call with several different strikers will give you different sounds. 2 different pot calls each with one striker is equal to 4 calls. Just mix and match them. Instructions on the back of the package is all you need. Turkeys are not as smart as people think, they will answer back to a pick up horn blast, or a screeching screen door spring.


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Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8216191 03/27/21 02:42 AM
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Watch lots of turkey hunting videos. You'll pick up the cadence and volume of good callers. Don't blast out the calls, turkeys don't scream but they can hear really well. Box calls or a push call work really well for beginners. Real turkeys have all sorts of sounds, I've seen real birds in the woods that called like it was nails on a chalk board. You don't have to be perfect. Figure out your cadence and then mix it up a bit. Don't keep repeating yourself. Use three yelps, then six then four or something along those lines. Add some soft clucks and purrs when they get close.

Above, enjoy the heck of the experience with your daughter and have a great time!


Distance is not an issue, but the wind can make it interesting!
Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8216211 03/27/21 02:57 AM
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Thank you all for the advice. We're really excited to get out there.

Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8216319 03/27/21 05:00 AM
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A few things about turkey hunting in general

I am guessing since you were looking for her a shotgun she will be using it for turkey. Have her aim for the neck, one piece of shot (more is better) hit the neck or the brain and the turkey will die there although it will most likely flop around for a bit.

Try to get a shot where the neck is extended up making for her a better target, and generally easier kill. Also less chance of shooting the beard and messing it up.

If the turkey comes in with its head and waddles bright red, you can get away with more things as he is hot looking for love. If he has the head, neck and waddles almost white or light blue then he is on edge and ready to leave, Bright red head I have gotten on them then said Hey you to get it to stick its head up for the shot.

Goes without saying keep an eye out for snakes. Bug spray/thermacell and cloths treated for ticks and chiggers goes a long way to making a hunt more enjoyable.

Turkey tail mount with beard and spurs is pretty easy to do for her, if she wants it, once she gets her bird.

This will be my 40th year hunting turkey and it is still a lot of fun to me. But I do miss doing the kids hunts with TYHP.

If they let you stay out, though early morning and them being very talkative on the roost is fun and lets you know where they are, often hens will be going to the gobblers and one with live hens is hard to call away form them. If you hear then hens with the gobbler sometimes sounding like the most talkative hen will tick her off and get her to come in with the gobbler following along. Later in the morning after he has bred the hens he is with he will be looking for more hens and can be called in or I have seen them leave hens and just come to decoys.

An old turkey hunter told me 40+ years ago if a gobbler answers you then it might be a few hours but he can go check out that area later in the day, perhaps 3 or 4 hours later even.

Turkey have great eyesight and hearing, camo helps get away with some movement an keeps you hid better, though popup blinds work great for turkey and you do not have to brush them in like when hunting deer.

Turkeys are not smart, I have never considered being called a bird brain as a complement and a bird brain is all they have to work with. What they do have going though is being paranoid that everything is out to get them. And basically if an animal eats meat they are. Predators and hunters alike like a turkey dinner and tryptophan nap. Example of turkeys not being so smart they will walk back and forth along a fence sometimes for hours before they remember they can fly over.

Have her practice with light load shells in her shotgun she will be using, light target loads work for that. Pattern her gun so you can learn the effective range with her setup. She probably will not notice some increased recoil when shooting a turkey.

Mostly go have fun with your daughter.


lf the saying "Liar, Liar your pants on fire" were true
Mainstream news might be fun to watch
Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8216510 03/27/21 01:24 PM
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Yessir, we ended up with a few shotguns for her to try soon when we can get to the range. She’s been manipulating them and sitting in the living room shouldering them some.
1. My super black Eagle 12ga which she actually likes the feel of best. Carlson tss choke.
2. Remington 870 20ga with 20” barrel. Carlson tss choke.
3. Remington 870 .410 with fixed full.
We have federal tss for all of them. It’s just going to be a matter of which one she feels comfortable actually shooting.

I’ve Turkey hunted before, just always had someone else calling. Or it’s been fall season lol. This will just be the first time I’ve been doing the calling. Well there was once with a Jake I saw that I used just my mouth, no call at all, and he came running. Feathered him with my bow and he flew off. Lol. There’s no way that sounded good.

Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8216577 03/27/21 02:30 PM
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KMON - excellent write up. Pretty much says it all. CBUMP - I don’t know anything about your daughter (age, weight, tolerance for recoil) but I hunt turkeys with an original version 3 & 1/2” SBEwith Turkey loads. I weigh 245 and I am not sensitive to recoil. I do use a Turkey scope and sight it in each year off the bench. I sight it in with 2 & 3/4” shells and then fire it once with a 3 & 1/2” load. At that point I adjust it but don’t fire it again. I realize I am shooting off a bench and I get the full brunt of it but it is not enjoyable. I will add that with the adrenaline of the Turkey and the give of not shooting at the bench I don’t notice the recoil. Lots of variables here but I started all my kids with a 20 gauge pump and they all killed turkeys. Those 20 gauge with loads you’ve mentioned will reach out and touch a spring Tom. If she’s shot the SBE already and is ok with it then so much the better but if she hasn’t I would lean towards the 20 gauge. Just my .02.

Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8216674 03/27/21 04:26 PM
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I appreciate the input. They are all new shotguns (870s new to us) so we haven’t shot any of them yet. I didn’t expect she’d be using the 12. I had just bought that for me then looked for the kids the other ones. She just likes the feel when shouldering. She’s a huge wuss though so I’m not thinking she’ll use It lol.

Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: cbump] #8216696 03/27/21 05:04 PM
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That SBE should be an excellent toy for dad then. Like I said, mine is the original SBE and Benelli has made a few refinements to it. It’s a Turkey killing machine so I put up with it. Including sight in, I only shoot it a max of about 5 times a year. There isn’t a hunt I’ve done with my kids that I enjoyed more than Turkey hunting. Especially in the spring when you can hear them coming. Beware though that a lot of times they may come in without any gobbles.

Re: Good beginner turkey call...maybe decoys [Re: unclebubba] #8216705 03/27/21 05:15 PM
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[quote=unclebubba]A box call is easy to master. Primos heartbreaker is actually a good one.

X2 on the Primos Heartbreaker. There is something about the purple heartwood paddle that drives gobblers crazy. It has a great raspy tone to it.

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