If you walk into any sporting goods retailer, you can quickly find and buy a good turkey call. At Cabela’s, you can find hundreds of options including new mouth calls, box calls and pot calls, but sometimes being different can pay off. Every turkey hunter should have an oddball call in their vest — a custom-made call that sounds different from the rest. The following are four oddball calls you probably haven’t heard of or seen. They might cost a bit more than your run of the mill dime store diaphragm, but these calls are hand made, one at a time, by an artist, not by a machine.
Roanoke River Yelper
In one of the first books ever written about turkey hunting, “Tales Of Wild Turkey Hunting,” Simon Everitt describes building a suction yelper that is made of the wingbone of a wild hen turkey, a bamboo mid-section and a hollowed out piece of elderberry. The book was published decades ago, but today a few call makers still make this call, which is called the Roanoke River Yelper. Gene Gardner from Old Masters Custom Calls offers this call. Gardner and his late partner, Parker Whedon are known for making high-end yelpers of all kinds. Many of them have become collectors’ pieces. “Anyone interested in calls of yesteryear will appreciate the Roanoke River Yelper. It sounds great and is a very unique call,” Gardner said. Learn more about this call at www.oldmasterscustomcallmakers.com.
The Vibrating Tongue
One call that recently caught my eye is called a vibrating tongue call. There are very few people who make this call. In fact, I had a hard time finding anyone who actually sells this unique call. A vibrating tongue call is a little bit like a pot call in that you use a striker to operate it. One difference is the call is made entirely of wood. The tongue, which is cut out of the center of the wooden box, vibrates when you run the striker across the chalked surface, creating the yelp of a turkey. “This call is extremely versatile. I can make this call sound like a box call, a wingbone, a mouth call … the options are endless. The vibrating tongue call is functional and beautiful,” Scott Hembrook from Willow Ridge Turkey Calls said. Hembrook calls his the Tongue Teaser. Learn more at www.charlieelk.com/willowridgecalls.
Cow Horn Yelper
Another unique call is the cow horn yelper made by Ed Morris from Virginia. Morris is an avid fall turkey hunter who loves chasing turkeys with dogs. As far as he knows, his cow horn yelper — which is made of a cow horn, a wingbone of a hen and a piece of tubing is a Virginia original. “As far back as I can remember, this call is what my family always used to call in turkeys. Because of the flexible tube, the call can be pointed in a variety of directions to get a different sound or to steer an incoming turkey in a different direction,” Morris explained. The cow horn yelper looks cool. Get your own by emailing Ed Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Turtle Call
One call that is truly unlike any other is the turtle turkey call made by Steve Stortz. There are plenty of people who make slate calls that are utilizing a real turtle shell as a sound chamber for the slate, however, Stortz carves his turtle shell and the entire call out of wood. Slate is then attached to the bottom side of the turtle shell. “A turtle shell is a great sounding sound chamber. So I decided I would carve my own shell and the rest of the call. The striker for the call is the head of the call. You pull the turtle head out of the shell and it doubles as a striker. When you are done calling, you put the striker back inside the shell of the turtle. To call, you flip the shell which is where you will find the slate,” Stortz noted. Hours go into making one of these calls. If you were to glance at one of these calls, you would swear it is a real turtle. The paint job is amazing. A variety of turtle species are available, including a painter turtle and a box turtle. Learn more at www.turtleturkeycalls.com.
All of these calls are a work of art, not just a turkey call. If you are looking for a call that is one of a kind, give the calls listed above a second thought.