To keep it sweet and simple, turkey calls are most common in the box call, slate and glass calls, aluminum and some copper and diaphragm and wing bone calls. Turkey call principles are based on the abrasive sound of rubbing or striking two various substances together. A box call tone is determined by the type of wood or artificial composite it is made from. Chalk is used to increase the gritty roughness of the two surfaces, the striking paddle, and the edges of the box. The mouth call diaphragm calls are exposed reeds set in a diaphragm and blown across in the mouth.
The slate, glass, and other mediums of surface calls are designed to be used with a striker. When buying a turkey mouth call it is very important to get a good striker that works well with the surface you are using.
In the past couple of years, Command Hunting Products, www.commandohuntingproducts.com, has pioneered a waterproof commercial striker called Smart Striker, which works on any material, except wood. The water proof feature means that if the call bodies are wet (and I mean wet) the striker still works as if the call body is dry.
When deciding on buying a turkey call, if you are inexperienced and unaware of the numbers to choose from, remember this: All calls are basically made from the same variations of materials, therefore producing different but similar turkey sounds, so consider this: what you are hearing is a tone that simply sounds good to you. We all hear tones differently, and so do turkeys but what sounds good to a turkey is the real deal.
We interpret what we hear is what the turkey hears but that is only partially accurate. A turkey can hear very well at up to a mile away, meaning clucking and yelping and gobbling, especially on a calm day. We want to imitate those sounds. Try recording your turkey calls with a small recorder and then playing it back. It will sound different to you, just as your voice will. Aluminum calls will sound crisp and clear and can be used loudly, and so can glass. These are good all around calls and especially on windy or breezy days when you need to reach out there. Slate calls are one of my favorite “close in calls” for purring and soft yelps and putts. My mouth call is also one of my main calls, freeing up my hands and still being effective and “sexy” with a good cackle of an excited hen calling.
Each year, the call makers and manufactures come out with new designs, but always with the same materials. What makes the difference is the thickness of the material, the depth of the sound chambers, the number of holes in the back of the call and the diameter of the call. It is kind of like picking out a fishing lure – they all catch fish at one time or another! My point is, choose what sounds good to you that gives you the confidence to learn your calling, then you can buy a new call year after year after year, but you still have your favorites! Mine is the Commando Glass call and my Smart Striker because I like to hunt in a light rain.