Hunting turkeys with a bow is one of the most challenging and exciting ways to hunt. Hunters must combine stealth, situational awareness, and good aim to catch their prey. It’s not an easy task, because turkeys have excellent eyesight and are quite intelligent. However, the high difficultly level of hunting turkeys with a bow makes it incredibly rewarding when you finally get a kill!
If you want to be successful when hunting turkeys with a bow, you will need some specialized hunting accessories. They may include additional camouflage, a hunting blind, and a decoy. You may also need to purchase a turkey call, a little gadget that helps you reproduce the vocalizations of turkeys to attract them to your location.
This guide will take a closer look at turkey calls and explain why they are so useful. We’ll also share the 5 best turkey calls for bow hunting. Let’s get started!
How a turkey call works
The philosophy behind turkey calls is fairly simple. You use the turkey call to emulate the sounds that a turkey makes, attracting them to your location. The tricky part about emulating turkey sounds is that there are many types of sounds to make, including cackles, putts, purrs, gubles, yelps, and cutts.
Many hunters take multiple turkey calls with them, so they can vary the calls they make. This reduces the risk of turkeys becoming over educated about the sound they are hearing and realizing it is not another turkey.
The most successful hunters spend time listening to turkeys and use turkey calls in the same way as the bird. The closer you can make your turkey calls sound like a real bird, the more success you will have.
More: How Hunting Calls Work
Types of turkey calls
Many types of turkey calls have been developed including:
Turkey box calls
A box call creates sound via friction. A lid is slid across the surface of a box, creating one of the sounds that a turkey makes. Turkey box calls are small and easy to carry in your pocket. They can be made from plastic, but the higher quality box calls tend to use timber for a more authentic sound. Box calls are very easy to use and quite convenient. They also produce a lot of volume, which increases their effective range. They are the most popular type of turkey call.
Turkey friction calls
Friction calls are another commonly used turkey call. A striker is drawn across a surface, causing friction and producing a sounds that resembles a turkey call. The surface of the call is typically made from timber, plastic, glass, or aluminum. How fast you strike the surface can change the tone and volume of the call.
Push-pull turkey calls
A push-pull turkey has a button that is either pushed or pulled to trigger the call. When the button is activated, a surface is forced across a peg to produce a turkey call. They are easy to use and produce the same sound every time.
Tube turkey calls
Tube turkey calls are made from a small hollow barrel with a latex top fitted across a portion of the opening. It can be used to produce a variety of turkey calls, but there is a steeper learning curve for using this call. Many of the nation’s most skilled turkey hunters use tube turkey calls, but they do require quite a bit of practice to master.
Wingbone turkey calls
Wingbone turkey calls are one of the first types of turkey call devices used by hunters. They were originally crafted from the wing bones of the turkey. Sound is made sucking through the bone. The sound produced is a hollow yelping call that can attract nearby turkeys.
Diaphragm turkey calls
Diaphragm turkey calls are one of the harder tools to master, but can be quite effective. The call is inserted into the mouth and the hunter simply blows over the diaphragm to produce sound. These calls are typically inexpensive, but can take many hours to master.
Turkey locator calls
Turkey locators use a loud noise to startle tom turkeys. When startled the turkey will perform a “shock gobble” which can help the hunter locate them. Sounds like a crow’s caw or a hawk’s scream can cause a turkey to gobble.
5 BEST TURKEY CALLS FOR BOW HUNTING
Here are 5 great turkey calls for bow hunting that can dramatically improve your success rate. They are well made and produce authentic sounds that will attract turkeys to your location.
1. Primos Hunting PS257 Waterboard Wood Grain Turkey Box Call
Primos is a renowned manufacturer of turkey calls. They have developed a reputation for making turkey calls that produce very authentic-sounding calls.
This is a highly durable turkey call that will survive in rough conditions in the field. It is a double sided box call that can produce both hen and gobbler sounds. This product has been designed to work in the wet, which is useful for hunters in locations with wetter climates.
- If you need to make a gobbler talk, rain or shine, the Primos Waterboard is your call. With each side producing different tones, you can replicate the sounds of multiple hens cuts, clucks, purrs, or yelps
- The mahogany box and canary paddle is a great combination for great calls. Works wet or dry. Make ‘em talk with the Waterboard
- 100% waterproof with coating on paddle and box
- Double sided box call produces tones of two different hens
- Mahogany box with Canary paddle
2. Lynch World Champion Turkey Box Call
This is a high-quality mahogany turkey call made in the USA. Its two-sided construction means you have access to both hen sounds and gobbler sounds. Each side of the box is inscribed with the name of the call, so it is simple to make the right call at the right time. It is made from straight-grain mahogany that produces a rich and full sound better than most plastic turkey calls.
It uses hooks and rubber bands to ensure the turkey call remains silent while you are moving. Although it is a very well made turkey call, it is reasonably affordable. This is a great choice for hunters of all skill levels.
- Unique 2-sided construction lets you create hen sounds on 1 side and gobbler calls on the other
- Straight-grain mahogany wood
- Great for both beginners and experienced hunters and a favorite for more than 75 years
- Hand made in USA and hand tuned to perfection
3. Primos Hunting Hook-Up Magnetic Box Call
This is another great product from Primos. It is another box call made from wood, but it has a useful system that uses magnets and springs to keep the call silent while you are moving. This system solves one of the common problems with box turkey calls — they sometimes make noise when you don’t want them to.
It is a rare earth magnet that is quite powerful and guaranteed to prevent any extraneous noises while on the move. It also uses a magnetic hinge to insure the perfect tension for lifelike turkey cuts, purrs and yelps.
- The Hook Up box from Primos is designed to take all the guess work out of getting that perfect box call sound every time you play it. The ultra-strong magnet holds the paddle at the perfect angle for crisp cuts, smooth purrs & soft to loud yelps
- When used with the included Gobble Band , the Hook Up produces some of the most realistic gobbles made! The detachable paddle can also be removed for silent carry. This call is simple to use and fun to run
- Whether you are a professional, recreational user, or even casual, primos will fit the mold for all types of people
- Patented magnetic hinge design provides correct tension for realistic cuts, purrs and yelp
- Super strong, rare-earth magnet holds paddle perfectly in place and No need for tuning or adjustment
4. Quaker Boy – Hurricane Turkey Box Call
This box turkey call produces a brilliant high pitched call that can be heard over long distances. It is a water-resistant call that will still sound great in wet conditions.
No chalk or conditioning are required to operate it in the wet. Made from high-quality timber, it is a double-sided call that can make two distinct sounds. It is reasonably priced and a great choice for hunters of all skill levels.
- Package length: 30.48 cm
- Package width: 11.43 cm
- Package height: 6.096 cm
- Product Type: SPORTING GOODS
5. Primos Power Crow Turkey Locator Call
This is a well-made gobbler locator that can produce a variety of calls, including distress calls, fighting calls, and come here calls. It is a weather resistant call that will work well in the wet.
It is quite loud, which gives it a great deal of range. The raspy sound reed produces a rich and vibrant turkey call that will trick turkeys in the local area. A great choice for hunters looking for a no-hands turkey call.