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Any hunter can have all the necessary essentials, such as weapon of choice, proper clothing, a backpack to hold other supplies, and even a chair to wait in comfort.
However, no matter how prepared you are, a target may not even wander by. One way to increase your chance for, say, a turkey to come within range, is to use a scratch box turkey call.
Animal calls are great techniques to lure a target into the area you’ve staked out. Here, we review what a scratch box turkey call is and highlight some of the best on the market to make your shopping easier and faster. That way, you can get to hunting right away.
Comparison Chart of the Best Scratch Box Turkey Calls
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What is Scratch Box Turkey Call and What is it Used For?
A scratch box turkey call is a type of call that is made with friction, specifically by rubbing a wooden box design with the provided lid, which will create the sound of the call.
These are used for luring turkey into the area of your blind, where you wait for them to walk within shooting distance. The scratch box turkey call, and any other type of call that can be created with friction, is generally the best technique for first-time users.
They are relatively easy to master and are a good choice if it’s your first turkey season. Once you become a bit more experienced, you’ll learn the difference between pitches and tones that make up different types of calls. These are easy to create and the product that makes them is generally small, so it is easy to take on the go.
What Makes a Great Scratch Box Call?
Finding the right model is important so you can generate the perfect call. There are a number of things that make a great scratch box call and a few have been listed below.
One thing that makes for a great option is how realistic the call sounds. If you want to attract a group of turkeys, you need to find something that replicates the actual call of a turkey. Great options will be easy to use and will provide a great call that will lure the turkeys to your blind.
Amplification is important because you want to be able to cover a wide area and have turkeys from neighboring areas to be able to hear and locate you. A great call will have clear sound and will be able to amplify that sound so it can be heard easily from a distance.
Durability is a key important point because you want a product that you’ll be able to use many times over. It won’t be worth the money if the item breaks down easily, or becomes unusable after only a few uses. It’s best to look for a high-quality, durable item that can be used for current and future seasons.
Review of the Best Scratch Box Turkey Calls
Let’s take a look at some of the top models that made our list and the features that make them stand out:
Primos Hook-Up Magnetic Call
This call has an innovative design that allows the user to easily generate an amplified call. A magnetic lid is able to automatically apply the perfect pressure for a great call with each use and can provide pressure for realistic purrs, cuts, and yelps.
The strong and durable earth-magnet paddle holds the entire box in place, making it easy to grip and generate sound. The paddle is also removable, which helps ensure that you are able to silently move locations. Included is a handy gobble band that is able to produce realistic sounding gobbles, further increasing your chances of a successful hunt.
This is a very good model, especially for those new to using a box call. A magnetic lid helps automatically apply exactly the right pressure to create an accurate and amplified call, and the pressure can be adjusted to create cuts, yelps, and purrs. The durable magnet paddle holds the entire box in place, though at times it may pop out.
The paddle is removable, which helps ensure that no noise is unintentionally made when you want to move locations or when you need to move to aim for a shot. Overall, it is a very good model, great for beginners and at a good price.
Lynch Fool Proof Turkey Box Call
This model is easy to use and is designed with an offset pivoting lid along with an automatic lid stop that help ensure the perfect amount of pressure is applied each time to get a great sound.
This wood box is made from a solid, straight-grain mahogany base and the lid is made of walnut to produce realistic effects and yelps that you wouldn’t be able to achieve using a plastic option. The ridge on the box helps to ensure that it doesn’t travel too far from the box, which adds to the quality of the sound.
The sound is able to be amplified well enough to be heard, while remaining natural and realistic, and ranges from clucks to yelps. You are also able to adjust the intensity, which can work better lure a turkey closer to you, so it won’t be too overbearing.
If you’re looking for a pretty simple and easy to use option for turkey hunting, this would be a good item to consider. It is made of quality mahogany and walnut wood, and is able to deliver a great sound. The offset pivoting lid, along with the automatic lid stop, allows you to consistently achieve the perfect pressure for an amplified and realistic call.
The paddle may become loose on the grain where the nail is located, but this can simply be fixed by tightening it, if possible. A great item to invest in if you’re new to box turkey calls, or even if you’re experienced in the practice.
Best For The Money:
The Lynch American Patriot is great for beginners and experienced hunters, as it is both easy to use and also a quality item. This is perfect for long range calls and delivers authentic turkey tones.
There are two sides that make distinct calls. One side producing the sound of a young hen, while the other is able to produce the sound of a raspy hen. This box is designed with a six-inch long dugout that is made from solid poplar bottom and a cherry lid that is able to pivot. This design helps the box produce realistic hen yelps that wouldn’t be achievable with a product designed from plastic materials.
Overall, this is a great model that is able to perform and it comes at a very affordable price. The two distinct sides allow you to focus on specific calls and the pivoting lid helps you create realistic yelps that are able to be amplified.
You are able to generate yelps, the sound of a raspy hen, and also that of a young hen. The box is made from quality materials, which ensures its durability so you will be able to use it for seasons to come. This is a very nice item, and very much worth investing in for your next, and future, turkey hunting trips.
4. Woodhaven The Cherry Real Hen
This item features a one-piece cherry trough-style box that is complemented with a Brazilian cherry lid. It is thin and a nice holding size so you can easily create the calls. This model is able to send out realistic two-tone raspy yelps that can be heard from a distance away, bringing turkeys into your area.
The item also is able to effectively create cutts, cackles, and clucks, adding a variety to really lure the turkeys in. A plastic clip is included that helps better assist with generating clucks, and also a sturdy Velcro strap allows you to secure it just about anywhere.
This is a very nice model that is able to create very clear, realistic calls. It is easy to use, so this would be perfect for someone new to turkey hunting, and is also great for experienced users as well. The box has versatility, as it can create two-tone raspy yelps, cutts, clucks, and even cackles. It is also able to amplify the sound of each call well. It is on the pricier side when compared to the other items on this list, but the quality of the build, materials, and calls that it produces makes up for the price.
5. Lynch World Champion
The Lynch World Champion is constructed from straight-grain mahogany wood, which is able to produce realistic calls that wouldn’t be achievable from a plastic item. This unit has two unique sides, with one that can easily produce hen sounds and the other that generates gobble sounds. This makes it more versatile and allows you to create multiple calls to really lure turkeys into your hunting location.
It is seamlessly able to generate clucks and yelps and gobbles are easy to create as well. The small size of this box makes it easy to fit in a bag and bring with you for your next trip.
This is a pretty great option and it comes at a nice price. The straight-grain mahogany wood material helps the box produce a more realistic sound and the two sides that produce different calls add to the versatility of this item.
One thing to note is that the rubber bands on this box call are a bit too small for the item, and once they dry up, they tend to snap easily. This can be fixed by just replacing the rubber bands with some that have a better fit.
The coat of chalk on the underside of the lid is prone to wear off quickly, so you may want to apply a new coat of chalk. Other than that, this item is great for new or experienced users and is able to generate a variety of calls. Its smaller stature makes it easy to fit in a bag and bring on your next turkey hunting trip.
Types of Turkey Calls
There are many different turkey calls that can be used for a hunting trip and it will be important to familiarize yourself with them to find the combination that best works for you.
Two Box Calls
There are generally two different types, one being the scratch box and the other being the hinged lid box. The scratch box uses a box that is created out of wood, and you use a stick to rub against it, generating the sound. The hinged lid generally includes a lid or another piece of wood that you would then slide over the box to generate the sound.
This type differs from a box call mainly in material and the way the sound is produced. It is created from a horseshoe-shaped piece of plastic that has latex stretched over an included reed. The sound is produced by blowing air from the roof of your mouth and over the reed.
This one is pretty simple and gets its name from the method used to generate the sound. A striker plate is used, and you push or pull the plate while also generating pressure on the paddle to create the sound. This motion of the push and pull of the striker plate is essentially what generates the mimic of a turkey sound.
Box calls are great items because they allow you to create realistic turkey sounds to help lure an individual or group of turkeys into your prospective hunting area. They are relatively easy to use, which makes them really great for new turkey hunters to invest in to increase their success on their first turkey hunting trip.
Many of the models are also able to generate a variety of different turkey calls that all sound realistic, which makes them very versatile since you won’t need to invest in other items to create different sounds. If you don’t yet have one but you’d like to increase your hunting success, make sure to look at our list and purchase one of the turkey box calls. You won’t regret it!
The scratch box turkey call is fairly common in the South. But many hunters north of the Mason-Dixon line have never even seen one. They’re not in major catalogs or carried by most retailers. But scratch boxes are an important piece of turkey hunting heritage. They are the predecessor of the modern box call. I recently attended the Northwest Sportshow in Minneapolis, Minnesota and met a man who is introducing Midwest hunters to the scratch box one call at a time. Eric Rice owns a company called Shine Box Turkey Calls and he is bringing it back into popularity.
While it isn’t common in most places these days, it is one of the first turkey calls used by American hunters. “The call dates back to the late 1700s to early 1800s… They were made from matchboxes, cigar boxes, boot boxes, any kind of small wooden box they had at that time was assembled and used to scratch with a small striker.”
The main difference between the scratch box and the modern day box is the striker. The box call used by most turkey hunters these days has a lid that is connected to the box. This design makes it nearly impossible to use the call incorrectly. The scratch box utilizes a wooden striker separate from the box. The scratch box takes a little more concentration but the advantage is that you can use a variety of strikers and angles on the same call and make vastly different turkey sounds. But Rice says the modern box call‘s simplicity sent the scratch box into obscurity.
“Once the modern day box call was invented… they say 80 to 90 years after the scratch box call was made. The large modern version box call grew in such popularity that the scratch box call kind of just receded back into the South and the Southeastern Seaboard… Most turkey hunters, when they are looking for a turkey call they are going into a big box store to see what is available and the scratch box call kind of faded out.”
Rice was introduced to the scratch box call almost by accident. His brother purchased one from a roadside vendor while traveling on a family turkey hunting trip to Wyoming. According to Rice, the group of hunters was having a hard time getting turkeys to react to their standard turkey calls when one of the brothers suggested trying the oddball call. “My older brother said, “Hey, why don’t you get your shine box?” quoting a line from the movie Goodfellas. My little brother took out that scratch box that he had bought, made a few calls, and we couldn’t believe the turkeys just erupted… When we got home, that‘s when I started my quest to figure out how this thing was made, where it came from, and how I could make one myself.”
The call is sort of a novelty to some, but Rice says there are a lot of advantages to hunting with the scratch box call. “It’s very small. You can hold it close to your body. The scratch box call, one beautiful thing about it is it’s not monotoned.”
Most people Rice meets have never seen a scratch box call. But his calls are so easy to use even children are able to pick them up and make great turkey sounds in short order. “It’s a very easy call to use and you control the pressure and you can control the angle so you can get a great range of sound. It is very easy to play once you get the hang of it.”
Rice started making calls about eight years ago and really had no interest in competing. But in 2011 he entered the Minnesota NWTF Call Making Competition and took a first and second place. His success fueled his desire to enter more competitions and in 2012 he entered national competition at the NWTF Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Rice scored a third place medal there. Since then, he has entered other major competitions and finished in the Top 3 in those as well.