As you read this, I’ll be down in south Georgia at the Gopher Plantation, hunting the spring opener, running my old Lynch box and trying to strike a gobbler or soft talk one into shotgun range.

These days I’ve gone back to using a box call almost exclusively, because it makes the most realistic raspy hen yelps.

To run a box call generally:

  • Hold it lightly in your left palm and work the lid gently with the fingers of your right hand (vice versa for lefties). Keep your fingers off the sides of a box so you won’t deaden its sound.
  • Some people run a box better with a vertical hold, which I really like too. Lay a call in the palm of your hand, turn your hand perpendicular to the ground and scrape the lid right to left.

To make the specific turkey calls:

  • To cluck, pop the handle lightly on the call’s sounding lip. Another way: hold the call in your palm, press your thumb semi-tightly on the top of the lid and tap it with your other hand.
  • To cutt, bear down on the handle a bit and pop or tap a series of fast, sharp clucks. The vertical hold works great for cutting.
  • To yelp, move the handle an inch or less off to the side of the sounding lip and “close the box” to run two notes together. Light pressure on the lid will give you raspy yelps; put a little more pressure on the handle for higher-pitched notes.
  • To purr, set the lid off to the side of the sounding lip and drag it softly across the lip of the box.

Chalk your box call each morning before you hit the woods, and a couple of times during a hunt. Use wax-free chalk that won’t gum up the grain of the wood.

Good luck this spring!