Turkey Game Calls

Due to the restoration of U.S. wild game turkeys in the 20th century, the sport of turkey hunting is thriving, and in turn, so is the market for turkey game calls. When it comes to acquiring calls, some collectors say there are two categories: antique calls with noted value, and modern calls with potential value.

Before Europeans settled in the U.S., wild turkeys were abundant throughout the continent, providing a valuable food source to indigenous populations. In fact, archaeological digs revealed the first turkey game calls were made from bone and antlers by Native Americans. In the 1880s, a man named Charles Jordan is believed to have made bone calls, followed by Jordan and Gibson, who developed the first wooden calls. Tom Turpin was famous for his yelpers and box calls, while Mike Lynch invented the popular Lynch Box Call.

The diversity of call making has brought hunters and collectors many kinds of air and friction calls including wing bone calls, trumpets, snuff tubes, box calls, and post and peg calls, among others. Popular modern calls have been made by Parker Wheadon, Lamar Williams, Bob Harwell, Steve Mann, Frank Cox, Darrin Dawkins, and many others.


Quick Facts

  • In 2005, a well-known collector named Parker Whedon purchased a Henry Davis trumpet call and case for $55,000 from Davis’ daughter and grandson
  • In 1920, only about 250,000 wild turkeys existed in United States. Hunting them was legal in just eight states
  • It’s believed that only seven of Henry Gibson’s first patented box calls exist today

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