Bristol’s World

Stu Bristol is a custom game call maker living in southern Maine, building custom turkey deer and owl call for three decades. He is a widely published outdoor Writer . His features and columns have been published nationwide for more than 60 years.



How to properly tune a box call. First, use 100 grit sandpaper to remove all chalk on the underside of the lid. A properly tuned box should operate without chalk (and better with chalk once the box is fine-tuned). Next turn the pivot screw and run the call until you hear a two note ke-oke. If you don’t hear the desired sound use your 100 grit sandpaper to lightly sand the inside of either sidewall of the box then test again. Due to variations in each piece of wood it may be necessary to lightly sand each sidewall. Next turn the lid adjustment screw until the slightest pressure creates the proper turkey vocalization. No two hunter hear turkey sound the same. every callmaker and every hunter has the sound of turkey in his or her mind. Nobody can properly tune your box for you. Add greaseless chalk only to the underside of the lid that comes in contact with sidewalls. I prefer Dixon railroad white chalk.

It is also wise to remove all chalk when storing the call in a cool dry place for the offseason.


There are various methods to playing or running a box call and each hunter has his/her favorites. Mine is what i refer to as “guitar style” Hold the call in your less dominant hand as though you are playing or strumming a guitar. The other dominant hand should grasp the lid lightly between thumb and first two fingers.

Sharp down pressure will create a cluck. Lightly sliding the lid across the sound chamber will produce yelps.

Slowly drag the lid across the sound chamber with a bit of down pressure will produce a purr.

Running a box call in “guitar style” allows the user to better control volume and tone of the call