Part of turkey hunting is calling. If you are just getting into turkey hunting this aspect can be daunting. As with everything to life, there are levels to calling, and you can dive in as deep as you want. From mouth calls to friction calls to box calls, which one do you want to go with? Honestly, it is personal preference.
I can give you my personal experience but I will try to give you additional resources about calling along the way. I am by no means a championship level caller, but I know enough to bring a bird within shooting distance. That being said, here is some information on the different types of calls.
Push Button and Box Calls
The push button call or a box call will be your best bet if you are just getting into the sport, looking to sound the most like a hen turkey with the least amount of effort. They are relatively inexpensive and all you have to do is push a button or move the top of the box at the cadence of a hen turkey and you can make most of the noises you need to bring in a sassy tom. I started hunting with one of these and still use it.
Here is a video showing some more details on the push button call:
How to yelp on a box call:
Here is a video showing a couple different calls on a box call:
I started using a mouth call for a couple reasons. First, turkeys are extremely wary. The movement of using a push button call when the turkey is close could cause the bird to take off. Second, the range of noises turkeys make are beyond that of a push button call. The mouth call allows me to add notes to the sweet turkey serenade. Used in combination with the push button call, I have been able to seduce (or piss off) birds to the point they get within killing range.
A basic yelp sequence:
Some different calling techniques from Cabela’s:
Friction or Pot Calls
I have not used a friction call or a pot call. There is a pot and a striker. The striker is rubbed against the pot, and that friction creates the sound. These calls can create all of the turkey sounds that a person could need.
Here is a basic tutorial on how to use one of these calls:
Practice, Practice, Practice
Regardless of which call you decide to go with, practice makes perfect. You want to sound like a turkey, you have to practice. I use the people around me as an indicator of whether or not I am practicing enough. When I start getting death threats or descriptions of where the call may end up if I keep practicing, I know I am on the right path. Then I take my calls and head for the truck so I can practice without human interruptions.
On the other hand, you could always roll the dice and bank on the tom being desperate or curious as to what is dying in the bushes and come in to your practice-free calls but that is up to you. I have heard turkeys make some ridiculous sounds, so it may work.
Regardless of the call you use, good luck and let us know how you do!