Confession from a Seasoned Turkey Hunter – I Only Use Pot Calls

Yes, you can be successful only using pot calls.

There was a time when I counted every turkey I harvested like a point on some scorecard to determine when I achieved the status of “veteran” turkey hunter. That number now eludes me and I do not know why I stopped counting. Maybe, just maybe it was because after all these years I still only use pot calls.

There, I’ve said it. I tried mouth calls, box calls and everything else under the sun. The diaphragm calls hinder my hunts more than help (frankly ’cause I suck at them). For whatever reason I just never found a box call I liked and felt more control with a pot call.

This begs the question: can someone become a good turkey hunter only using a pot call? The short answer is, yes. Many would agree that woodsmanship kills more turkeys than award-winning calls. Are there disadvantages to limiting ourselves to one style of call? I’m sure there are, but I don’t lose sleep or birds over it.

Variety Doesn’t Always Mean Different Styles of Calls

It’s no secret that a finicky tom may like one call over another. Why? Maybe it’s just personal taste, maybe it has something to do with behavior. When there are a wide array of calls available we have the chance to change our sound and hopefully please that picky bird. But a wide array of pot calls can have similar results to various mouth calls and other friction calls.

In my bag I always carry a double-sided call, one with glass and one with slate. I also carry two strikers, one acrylic and one wood. That’s a variety of four different sounds. For the most part those four sounds get the job done when a bird decides to play ball. My methods are often improved by using movement, like scratching the leaves and walking away from the bird and calling to add that extra element of reality.

When Woodsmanship, Not Calls, Harvests Birds

Whether it’s hunting deer or even grouse, the lay of the land plays a huge roll in how successful we are. Turkey hunting is no exception. As a rule of thumb, we can learn where turkeys want to walk and where they will not. Understanding that and predicting their movement is part of woodsmanship. A solid plan built around predicting where that bird plans on going and how he is going to get there will result in harvesting far more turkeys than when depending on calls alone.

Clever methods like the “Turkey Retreat” proactively account for birds hanging up rather than trying a brute force of endless calling from a single position to get the job done. This is probably why I have never cared to hunt from a ground blind. Really, it comes down to relying on the behavior of the animal and its relationship with the woods to put meat in the freezer.

The Disadvantages of using just Pott Calls

Now I am by no means advocating that people should only use a pot call. I am merely trying to empower those who, like myself, have never been able to get over the diaphragm call hurdle. There are certain moments when I wish I could let out one last soft purr to seal the deal, like when reaching for a pot call is off the table because of the movement itself. With time we learn how to work with what we have and hopefully put some free range meat on the table.

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Founder/Creative Director of Northwoods Collective. A.J. DeRosa is an American filmmaker most notably for the award-winning Project Upland Series. His first mark in the hunting industry was as the critically acclaimed author of the cult classic The Urban Deer Complex and more recently The Urban Deer Complex 2.0. A.J. has expanded a larger mission into the successful R3 vision of millennial hunters through cutting edge research and successful application across the Northwoods Collective brands. Now a passionate bird hunter you can find A.J. following his first bird dog a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Grim through the uplands with his wife Sabrina and oldest son Marty McFly.

Latest comments
  • I am really enjoying this series so far. My go-to call is the pot as well. I do like to mix it it up a bit but no other call is as versatile in my my opinion. Keep ’em coming fellas. Well done.

    • Started this game of turkey hunting later in my life and my go to is the pot call also. I have really enjoyed my few years of turkey hunting so far even though I have no bird to show for my efforts yet. Really enjoying this series also. Well done.

  • I have a homemade wing bone call that works for my long game, but once they start closing this distance, I end up going for the pot call. All my turkey’s have been killed using a pot call!

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