Charles Hudson, a South Carolina turkey hunting legend from the tiny town of Travelers Rest, carries so many calls in vest that he “can barely walk around.”

But asked to choose which ones he would carry if he could carry only five, Hudson said to carry the ones you are most proficient with. All things being equal, he chose these five:

  • Box call. The standard, double-sided box call has probably called more turkeys to gun than any other style. Any hunter that does not carry a good box call is missing a great opportunity to kill birds.
  • Pot call. Also known as a slate call, this call is capable of producing every sound a turkey makes, easily and effectively. If you are restricted to one pot call, make sure you have a half-dozen different strikers — hardwood, diamondwood, carbon, etc. — to go along with the call. Each striker produces a different sound. 
  • Diaphragm call. A standard diaphragm or mouth call is imperative for all hunters to succeed. When any movement will give away your location to a eagle-eyed gobbler, you can still call a bird in with a diaphragm. Hudson prefers a “bat wing” cut, but a standard triple reed is also a great choice. If possible, carry several different reed options.
  • Trumpet call. Also known as a wingbone or artificial wingbone, this kind of call is not as popular as other types but is often the best one to use when stubborn birds won’t respond. From subtle yelps to hard cuts, the trumpet is a great ‘go to’ call.
  • Scratch box. Seldom seen in the vest of many modern hunters, the scratch box is a call that is capable of the softest purrs and whines of any call. Its two-piece design of striker and box make it simple to use. 

Just remember to practice enough to become proficient with each call you carry. When the moment of truth is upon you, you’ll need to strike the right note.