How To Use a Turkey Box Call

One of the most effective turkey calls to operate is the box call. In this post, we’ll tell you how to use a turkey box call. 


How Turkey Box Calls are Made

First, a note on construction. Traditionally, box calls are made from wood. But the modern turkey hunter may find box calls made from a number of synthetic materials, which offer greater resistance to water. While the materials and construction may differ, the operation of all box calls is the same.


The Basics of Turkey Box Calls

The basic operation of a turkey box call requires the operator to draw one piece of the call across the other, creating sound by way of friction. The first part is called the paddle, or lid. It pivots on a hinge screw attached to the second part, called the box, frame, or pot. This second part has one or two lips, sides, or rails, between which is a hollow area where the sound resonates. 

Friction between the paddle and the lip or lips is increased with the addition of chalk between the two sliding pieces. A soft chalk like carpenter’s chalk is an excellent choice to keep your call producing good sound. Keep your chalk in a plastic bag to protect it from water.


Making Yelp and Cluck Sounds with Turkey Box Calls

The cluck and the yelp are the two easiest sounds to make with a turkey box call, and the techniques to create those sounds are very similar. To create a turkey cluck, simply draw the paddle across one lip of the box, making short, individual strokes for each cluck. For deeper sounds, move the paddle over the hollow area, for sharper sounds, move the paddle outside the hollow area.

For yelps, the process is very similar. The key difference in yelps is to make repeated noise, instead of individual sounds, and to increase the pitch and intensity of the sound. Most turkeys yelp faster at first, and then slow down and drop off as the yelp continues. 


Making Purr Sounds with Turkey Box Calls

Unlike clucking and yelping, which require short, choppy motions, the secret to making purrs is to move the paddle slowly and lightly across the lip of the box, allowing the sound to waver and quiver.


The Advantage of a Turkey Box Call

While often considered an old-timer’s call, when you know how to use a box call, you’ll have an advantage over every turkey hunter who doesn’t know the power of this classic tool.


Written by Frank Erwin