You’ve found the most idyllic hunting spot, maybe even set up a ground blind or climbed into your tree stand, and now you play the waiting the game for your prey. You wait and wait, and eventually the sun is going down and you need to pack up, having seen no game at all. What happened?
As most experienced hunters know, you can’t just hope the game will come to you – you’ll be waiting forever. Instead, you need a way to lure them towards you. That’s where hunting calls come to the rescue, you can also use a deer feeder to attract more prey
Hunting calls mimic a variety of noises that game animals produce: the sounds of antlers clanging (a signal to does that bucks are rutting nearby), the gobbling of a hen, or the cries of a fawn that will surely draw any nearby does. Becoming an expert with calls can completely change your hunting experience as the game starts to come to you while you relax and wait, instead of tiring yourself by chasing after them.
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Choosing the Best Hunting Calls
Hunting calls come in so many shapes and sizes. Rubber gobblers, clanging antlers, kazoo-looking devices that mimic the grunts of a rutting buck, even electronic callers that can make whatever noise they’re programmed to.
With any of these types of calls, you’ll need to learn how to use them properly. They require some finesse to sound realistic, and that only comes with experience. Fortunately, most hunting calls are packaged with instructional DVDs that teach you how and when to use them. There are also plenty of online resources that can help you learn how to best deploy your new call.
If you you’re a novice with calls or just someone who doesn’t enjoy buying a whole lot of gear, an electronic call could be a good choice for you. They play pre-recorded sounds, often from a variety of animals, so one call can be used to hunt a number of different species. There’s a lot less flexibility with them, though, since you can’t change the tempo and tone of the call. The best electronic hunting calls will have a big enough selection that they can fit any situation though.
But remember that no matter how fancy of a call you buy, it will only be as good as the hunter operating it. Calls are one of the hardest things for a hunter to master, but becoming proficient with them is also one of the most rewarding aspects of a hunt.
Best Deer Calls on the Market Reviewed
Bottom Line: Overall this is a great tool to use for deer hunting, it received a 99.6% Approval Rating from the NAHC Field Test, which is the highest ever for a deer call!
Illusion Extinguisher Deer Call Review
The Illusion Extinguisher differs from the previous two calls in that it also produces the sounds of a doe and a fawn, rather than just a rival buck. This is a great option to have, because a buck might be uninterested in coming near another buck (especially if he’s concerned the other buck will be more dominant), but will always be interested in a doe during the rut. Another advantage is that the doe call won’t unintentionally draw in does, which could be attracted to the buck call.
The Extinguisher also has settings for buck and fawn calls. The fawn call is great if you’re hunting does, though it can also bring in bucks that are trailing a doe.
This call features a freeze-free design, meaning that if the reed gets stuck, you can easily unstick it by moving the slide on the tube. Nobody wants their call malfunctioning at that exact wrong moment when you’re just about to lure the buck into the open.
This is a great all-around call that will work for a variety trips throughout hunting season.
See it in Action
Bottom Line: These produce a great realistic sound of bucks fighting in the wild, they work better than real antlers because your less likely to smash your hands up!
Flextone Black Rack Rattling Antlers Review
A pair of antlers is a fantastic tool to have in your bag during rutting season. Clanging together a pair of real antlers is a surefire way to attract an unsuspecting buck, so many hunters use shed antlers to create a good rattling call. But if you don’t have any, the Black Rack is the next best thing and one of the best hunting calls on the market.
The Flextone Black Rack is made with “Bone-Core Technology,” which is a way of saying they’re close as you can get to the sounds of real antlers while using synthetic materials. They’re incredibly easy to use – just knock the two antlers together – but to create a really convincing call, you’ll need to spend some time working on your scraping and rattling. They come with an instructional DVD to help you out with that.
One advantage of the Black Rack over shed antlers is that they won’t be confused for a buck’s antlers by other hunters. While your blaze orange camo should protect you, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better call that’s this easy to use.
See it in Action
Bottom Line: Overall a great product with some top features, users who are looking for a sturdy product to last a long time will benefit from this model
Primos Buck Roar Review
The Primos Buck Roar is capable of three sounds: a grunt, a challenge wheeze, and a roar. The grunt is probably the easiest to use, and is the one that will be effective most often; it will attract bucks from a distance to get them to defend their territory. The challenge wheeze can be useful in bringing in nearby bucks that are actively marking their territory, but it’s pretty ineffective at all other times. The roar should be used sparingly, as it’s most effective when your target buck is actively in pursuit of a doe. The roar will suggest that another male is in the area and needs to be dealt with.
Many lower quality calls function poorly when you want to make a really aggressive roar; blowing too hard just results in weird high-pitched noises that don’t sound anything like a dominating buck. But the Buck Roar was designed to allow for an aggressive blow, achieving a deep, resonant call.
This call is rubber-coated, which should prevent it from rattling around on your pack or banging on something when it’s hanging around your neck. Nothing’s worse than losing a buck because your call made a sound it shouldn’t have.
This is a great call, even for a novice hunter. It will take some time to learn how to most effectively use it, but once you have the timing down, this will probably be your favorite call.
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Best Turkey Calls on the Market Reviews
Bottom Line: The Gobbler is simple to use and produces a high quality sound that is really loud, you can use it one handed for jake gobbling or two for mature gobbling
Primos Gobble Shaker Review
This is probably the easiest to use turkey call that you’re ever going to find. As the name suggests, you shake it, and it makes a gobbling sound. It’s super loud, too; you’ll have turkeys coming from all directions. The Gobble Shaker’s simplicity and ease of use is its biggest selling point.
It does have a few disadvantages, though. In colder weather, the rubber can get hard and won’t provide as realistic of a call. It also doesn’t allow for much customization compared to other turkey calls. However, you can use it with one hand to call jakes, and with two hands to call toms. If you don’t want it to make any noise, it has a cap to prevent unwanted gobbling.
Shaker calls are a good choice for novice hunters and kids, who may not be familiar with the nuances of calls and when they’re best used. The Gobble Shaker is a good all-around call because it can be used to get the attention of any type of turkey: hen, jake, or tom. That being said, it isn’t going to be as useful as a more targeted call. It’s a great choice to start out on though, and it doesn’t cost a lot.
See it in Action
Bottom Line: If your looking for a turkey mouth call you won't go wrong with this one from Primos. Once your used to it you will have the turkeys charging in!
Primos Hook Hunter Long Hooks Upper Cut Review
The Primos Hook Hunter line is an industry leader when it comes to diaphragm calls. The Hook Hunter Long with Upper Cut does an excellent job with raspy yelps, the kind that hens make to call in more distant males.
While this is an attractive choice with a low price, be cautious in moving to diaphragm calls – they’re also the hardest to use on this list. Diaphragm calls take a lot of practice, and you also need a strong understanding of the natural sounds of turkeys. Listen to the rhythm, number of notes, and volume of turkeys in the wild (or on YouTube). This call is only designed for making raspy yelps, so you may need to pair it with another one that makes different sounds.
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Best Electronic Game Calls on the Market Reviewed
Bottom Line: The GC350 is a highly efficient unit loaded with plenty of features. It comes with a remote so it can be activated from a good distance away from the unit. Providing over 24 sounds it works when hunting a wide variety of prey
ICOtec GC350 Review
While electronic calls are often seen as the purview of novice hunters, the GC350 demonstrates that even someone with a lot of experience can find value in an electronic call.
First off, it’s not designed like other electronic calls, which resemble handheld radios, and instead looks like a beefy speaker (which it is). The reason for this is that the call can be set out wherever you like, and controlled from up to 300 yards away with a remote control. This is a great feature, as there’s nothing worse than game seeing you as you’re using the call. It ruins the element of surprise, and there’s no way that call is going to work on them the rest of the day.
The best feature on this device is that you can load it up with whichever calls you want. While it does come with 24 pre-programmed calls, it can be reprogrammed with an SD card to play any sound you like. This customizability is invaluable, as you can you use it for any species at any time of year, and tailor it to your style of hunting.
The ICOtec GC350 is definitely priced in the expert market. But think of how much money you spend on individual calls – grunts, wheezes, gobbles, etc. They’re all contained in one convenient package here.
See it in Action
Bottom Line: This small handheld electronic game call is really simple to use and produces high quality calls that sound authentic, if you want an affordable electronic game call this is a great option
Cass Creek Ergo Call Review
Turkey calls don’t get much easier to use than this – at just the push of a button, you have access to several pitch-perfect vocalizations. The Cass Creek Ergo only has five calls programmed on it, which can be somewhat limiting, but it’s a good option if you’re new to using calls and don’t want to spend a lot of money.
The first call is a spring yelp, two high-pitched cries that a hen would use to attract males in the area. The second is a purr, a short-distance call that can be used to lure a tom the last several yards necessary to get the shot. There’s also the tree yelp that mimics the beating of a hen’s wings. The fighting purr call will attract males that want to defend their territory. Last is a jake gobble, which mimics the sounds of an immature male that might challenge the big tom you’re after. It’s not a lot of choices, but it’s a great starting point to learn how calls can best be used.
The Ergo is priced for beginners. You will probably outgrow it in time, but it’s cheap enough that it can work well as a learning tool.
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The Best Hunting Calls for You
When you’re trying to decide which calls to throw in your bag, you’ll need to be honest with yourself. How well do you how to use it? How well do you know your prey and the calls they’ll be using at this time of year? If you’re inexperienced, sometimes the best electronic hunting calls will work a lot better than a manual one that you don’t know how to use. It can be a lot of fun just going to woods to work on your calls, without any intention of filling your tag, just seeing how the animals react as your practice with them.
The best game calls are the ones you know how to use and that you feel comfortable with. Don’t get too bogged down in buying calls for every possible scenario. Work on a couple and get good with them before moving on to the next one. Having a bag full of gadgets is useless when you’re proficient with none of them.