Author’s note: Matt Van Cise of Brookville, Pennsylvania has been setting the turkey calling world on fire. On March 9, 2013, Van Cise won the Senior Open Division of the World Turkey Calling Championship held in Stuttgart, Arkansas. The week before, he won the Wild Turkey Bourbon Grand National Championships in the Senior Open Division. Van Cise has won five World Open Championships, four Grand National Championships, three U.S. Open Championships, a World Friction Calling Championship, the Grand National Friction Calling Championship, the North American Championship, and the Mid-America Open Championship since 2000. He uses MAD calls and is a member of the Mossy Oak Pro Staff.
I built my turkey calling reputation using a diaphragm mouth caller. If I’m hunting by myself, I also use a box call every day. I really like the MAD Shady Lady box call. I also use a custom box call I’ve carried with me for years. I often use a box call after fly-down time and after the first hunt is over. I like the realism of the turkey sounds and the amount of volume that comes out of a box call.
I also use a friction call throughout the day. Last year, I started carrying the MAD Super Aluminator because it has a completely different sound from other friction calls. The Super Aluminator made a lot of turkeys gobble for me last year. I also carry a wide variety of mouth calls. Besides all my MAD calls, I usually carry some Denny Gulvas diaphragm calls. Gulvas lives here in Pennsylvania. These diaphragm calls have a completely different sound than other diaphragm calls, and I use them quite a bit.
On some days, a gobbler only will respond to a certain call. Turkeys are individuals, much like ladies and the shoes they wear. Ladies choose a pair of shoes according to color, style, and when and where they want to wear them. Some ladies will have 100 different pairs of shoes. Turkeys are the same way. On some days, they may want one type of call. On another day, they prefer another type of call. You may have to use several different calls.
To find the right call for a gobbler on a particular day, determine how quickly he gobbles back to you after you call. If you want to become a serious turkey hunter, I suggest you carry a wide variety of calls. Let the gobblers tell you what type of call and what sounds to use to get that bird to come to you.
Images courtesy John Phillips