While there is a lot of turkey hunting gear, that isn’t crucial for success, the best turkey box call definitely doesn’t fall into that category.
Like any call, turkey box calls come in a variety of styles. Some are time tested, and others are new to the market. Either way they need to perform to stand a chance.
Many turkey hunters will say that the diaphragm, or mouth call, is the best because it needs no movement, or hands. However, seasoned hunters, by which I mean hunters who have been doing this for twenty or more years, often stand by box calls for turkeys.
I have found two reasons for this:
First, the mouth call requires thousands of hours to actually reach the versatility that these calls have. Unless you are a Grand-National kind of hunter, chances are you have not mastered it to that extent.
Second, the box call can be mastered in a relatively short time, and produce a wide range of realistic sounds. Fifteen minutes and a newcomer can be calling in turkeys.
There are two types of box calls:
- The scratch-box call, which uses a box shaped piece of wood and a stick to rub which makes the sounds.
- The hinged-lid box call, which slides an attached piece of wood over the box, to produce sounds.
I prefer the hinged-lid box, and that is what I will be referring to here.
The hinged-lid calls can be further divided into two styles; the Gibson style and the Lynch style. Gibson style is a single piece of wood, where as the lynch style is several pieces glued together. Here I prefer the Gibson style as it is more durable, and produces better sounds.
Some things to consider when looking for the best turkey box call are; the material, the sound, ease of use, and durability. Do not be fooled by high priced custom boxes. They do look great, but more often than not the sounds are nearly equal to a box that is a tenth of the price. Follow the guide below to find your perfect turkey box call, or take up one of the suggestions I will provide after. Enough rambling, here is what to look for in a good turkey box call.
The kind of wood used in a turkey box call is extremely important. Hard woods are the best. Black walnut, oak, cherry, or mahogany are all good sounding woods for a box call. When looking at the call notice the grain, are there tight rings or are they further apart? The closer together the grain, usually the better.
Mixing woods is effective at good sound too. For example cherry with walnut seems to produce lovely sounds. Try different combinations to see what works well for the turkeys in your area. Remember, where you hunt has a significant impact on the right call for you.
Check the wood for irregularities and inconsistencies. A call that has uniform color and grain density is what to look for. These will most likely sound the best, and last the longest. Different colored grain might look good for furniture, and it might look nice on a turkey box, but different colored grains have different densities which can have an adverse effect on the sound.
Sound is obviously an important aspect, since that is what your turkey box call is going to produce. The best box will produce a wide range of sounds like yelping, cutting, clucking, purring, and even gobble. Turkeys are very vocal animals, and this range of sounds along with volume, tone, and range are all important considerations.
Different wood will produce different sounds also. The Lynch style box I mentioned earlier that is glued pieces of wood, will not stand up to the solid wood designs. There are some good ones out there, but if you want that sharp, clear sound a Gibson style is the best choice.
Range is important, too. Being able to control the volume as a tom moves in is crucial. Turkeys are easily spooked, and have outstanding eyesight so having a box that can reach far and wide, but also hone in on the lower range sounds is crucial.
This is another aspect that needs your attention. The Gibson style box is much more durable than the Lynch style simply because glued wood comes apart, especially if it gets wet. Although any hunter will tell you to keep any wood turkey box call dry, Gibson style boxes can be dried out over low heat, and brought back to life if done properly.
Some calls have water resistant coatings, or chemicals in them. Even so a wet box simply will not work, because it is the friction that makes the sounds. Without friction, there is no sound. So the rule of thumb here is to try and keep it dry.
When looking at the call, check to see the paddle is attached securely. Check the box for any holes, or irregularities that might be a sign of a poor shelf life. A good solid grain box will last indefinitely if it is taken care of properly.
The 4 Best Turkey Box Calls And Their Reviews
Now we know what to look for in the best turkey box call. Remember, you do not have to spend two hundred dollars to get a box with all those qualities. If money is no issue, than go ahead. If you are like me, however, money is not so free flowing. As my mom always said, “It’s what’s under the hood that counts.” Now, I give you the reviews of the four top rated turkey box calls, that I recommend.
Knight & Hale Bloodwood Cutter Mahogany Turkey Box Call
This beautiful box call produces some nice sounds. It cuts, yelps, gobbles, purrs, and clucks. The box is made of mahogany, while the lid is made of bloodwood. Bloodwood is a very dense wood, with tight linear grain. This combination is a match made in heaven.
This hand tuned box call is made with the same quality that many custom calls are made with, but without the hefty price tag. It is a bit more expensive than other production calls, but the variety of sounds that are made combined with the realistic tones is second to none.
This has some of the truest-to-life hen sounds on the market. The versatility of range is immense, calling across a large wood, or across a small meadow, it provides the sounds that no tom can resist. Even wary longbeards will be coming in for a look.
- Solid Mahogany box
- Solid bloodwood lid
- Wood combination produces great tone
- Beautiful design
- Cuts, yelps, clucks, purrs, and gobbles
- Bloodwood provides great resonance
- A little higher priced
- Not water resistant
Primos Hook-Up Magnetic Box Call
This box is one of the most popular on the market for production boxes. It is beautifully designed, and functional. It has a patented magnetic lid that applies just the right amount of friction. The lid can be removed for quiet carrying.
Included with this box is the gobbler band. This transforms your box into a gobblin’ machine that will get those turkeys rustled and excited. The magnet holds the lid at the perfect angle for cuts, smooth purrs, and yelps.
This turkey box call is made of mahogany and walnut. The sounds that are achieved with this box are similar to calls three times the price. A great design, easy to use, and exceptional sound make this a great turkey box call for the money.
- Magnetic lid applies perfect amount of pressure
- Lid can easily be removed for silent walking
- Hardwood design gives it great resonance
- It produces cuts, yelps, purrs, and gobbles
- Very easy to use
- Priced for any budget
- Beautifully crafted
- Some hunters say the sounds are too high pitched
- Chalk needs to be applied often
Hunters Specialties H.S. Strut Smokin’ Gun Turkey Box Call
This box is a great one to start with or add to your hunting arsenal. Made out of a single piece of walnut, it is durable and beautiful all in the same breath. Each side produces a range of yelps, cuts, and purrs to provide a wide range of sounds. From the pesky hen, to the wary tom, this call will reach them all.
The box is sealed with a dark stain that has the latest in waterproofing technology, it can be used wet or dry, and doesn’t need chalk. It takes a little more practice to achieve the sounds that some hunters needed for their particular circumstances, but once they got it it worked like a dream.
The fact that it is an all-weather box is a real high point for me. I live in an area that gets a moderate amount of rain, especially during turkey season. Remember to take these things into account when purchasing a new call. Your environment has big impact on what’s the best turkey box call for your hunting grounds.
- No chalk needed
- Works wet or dry
- Sounds include cuts, purrs, yelps, and gobbles
- Each side of box tuned to different pitch
- Solid walnut design for durability
- Pitch too high
- Strap that keeps lid closed is cheap
Flextone Magnum Strutter Box Turkey Call
This custom box is made from hand selected oak/walnut, while the lid is made from cherry. The laser engraved design is gorgeous, and made to pass down to the next generation. it’s looks are far from the best part, though. Comes double sided to produce sweet hen tones or raspy hen tones. It can produce the gobble of an old tom, too.
Each one is hand tuned before it leaves to give it the best sound possible. This is a marriage of beauty and functionality at its finest. The sounds are deep and resonant, able to call in a tom from a great distance.
All around, this call is great. Since each is hand tuned they rarely need to be adjusted. It does not come with a band or strap to keep lid closed so that is something that I would look into if this call is the one you would like. Since that’s an easy fix though, it definitely can name itself to be on of the best turkey box calls out there.
- Hand tuned
- Oak/walnut box with cherry lid
- Laser engraved for aesthetics
- Each side tuned for different hen calls
- Produces yelps, cuts, purrs, and gobbles
- Not waterproof
- A bit high in pitch
- Strap for lid not included
Which Turkey Box Call Makes The “Cut”?
This is one of the harder choices I have had to make while writing these articles. They all have attributes that I really find appealing, and I think each of them would perform well in the field. However, only one can be top dog, and that one is the Knight and Hale Bloodwood Cutter Mahogany Box. This box is just beautiful, both in design and the sounds it produces. While it is higher priced than the other calls in this article, for the quality it is actually very reasonably priced. The sounds this box produced are just a stretch above the rest, and I believe that to be from the unique combination of wood.
Like I said though, any one of these are a fine choice. What you decide to choose will be based upon your needs in the field. While the one I picked is a gorgeous looking call, that has nothing to do with my choice. I believe the sounds this box makes are second to none, including the high-priced custom boxes and therefor I would consider it to be the best box call on the market. So choose a call, and get out there.