The basis for this competition is to determine each call’s stand-alone merit of how well it performs in the hands of a hunter. The judges of this competition will be a qualified panel of experienced turkey hunters who will grade each call on the prescribed criteria. Please note that this is not a contest to determine who the best caller is, rather it is a contest to determine the best call in each specific category.
Please note that we have restructured the criteria for this division to provide better judging.
While it is expected that call makers can run their own calls with great precision, the question with turkey hunters is, how simple or easy the turkey call is to use and how much does it sound like a turkey. In determining and selecting the best hunting turkey call each year, the NWTF strives to ensure fairness and impartiality without prejudice towards commercial or custom call makers or with the design of any call entered in the hunting call competition. Criteria for determining and selecting the best call places emphasis on the following:
Sound quality, tone, pitch, and its ability in attaining what is commonly referred to as a break over.
Ease of use.
The ability to produce authentic turkey sounds.
The ability to produce a variety of turkey sounds.
Overall rating on sound quality and ability to call turkeys.
Entry into this event is open to commercially manufactured or custom, handmade or hand-tuned calls. Special awards named in honor of Henry Gibson, Neil Cost, Jeremiah Stevens, D.D. Adams, Tom Turpin, Don Chancey and Charles Jordan will be given. In addition, the 2023 Grand National Champion Hunting Turkey Call Maker of the Year will be recognized with the mew Charley Burke best of show award.
Please note: Calls made with box turtle or turtle shells are not permitted.
Call makers are limited to no more than two (2) entries per category.
Note that we have added 2 new categories to this division. One is the pin feathers category (26) which allows JAKES members to collaborate with an adult mentor. The other category (27) is for tube calls. Currently, both categories are stand alone categories and are not eligible for any consideration for class awards. The pin feathers category does get a specialized trophy with the two names engraved on them.
When submitting calls for category 23-24, please also submit what animal or object this call is designed to mimic. Additionally, please include any instructions on how to blow or play the call.
Class I Categories: Category 1 – Category 6.
Class II Categories: Category 7 – Category 11.
Class III Categories: Category 12
Class IV Categories: Categories 13 – Categories 15
Class V Categories: Categories 16 – Categories 19
The following categories are not part of any class: Categories 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 27
Categories 1-22 & 26-27: The following characteristics of each call will be scored. - Ability to produce turkey-like sounds. Examples include, but are not limited to, yelp, cluck, kee-kee, cackle, cutting of the hen, purr, putt, gobble, tree call. - Ease of use to produce turkey-like sounds --- i.e. how simple or user-friendly the call is to use. - Tone, pitch and sound quality. - Break over or roll over - Versatility: the ability to obtain a vast range of turkey like sounds --- i.e. both spring or fall type calls, gobbler of hen sounds, including the ability to sound like more than one turkey. Overall rating on sound quality and playability as well as the abilty to call turkeys.
Categories 22-24: The following characteristics of each call will be scored. - Ability to produce the sound of the animal or object the call is meant to mimic. - Ease of use to produce the sound of the specific animal or object - Tone, pitch and sound quality. - Projection quality --- i.e. loudness and clarity of the sound of the call.
Outstanding Youth Hunting Turkey Call Maker of the Year Award. This award will recognize an outstanding youth call maker 17 years of age or less at the time of the convention. The winner will receive a Youth National Champion medallion with ribbon. In addition, all youth call makers will receive a Youth participant medallion with ribbon for participating. The call maker must indicate when registering if he/she is entering as a youth contestant.
Amateur Hunting Turkey Call Maker of the Year Award. All call makers who have been awarded Amateur Call Maker of the Year in a particular division will not be eligible to enter as an “Amateur” in that particular division. EXAMPLE: If you have won Amateur Call Maker of the Year in Division 1 – Decorative Turkey Call, you are not eligible to enter in Division 1 as an amateur again. However, you may continue to enter the remaining divisions (Divisions 2, 3 and/ or 4) as an amateur until you reach Amateur Call Maker of the Year in each one of those divisions). The Amateur Turkey Call Maker of the Year will be determined by judging the 3 – 1st place winners of Categories 6, 11, and 15 and will be eligible to win Grand National Hunting Turkey Call Maker of the Year as well. In addition, all Amateur call makers will receive an Amateur participant medallion with ribbon for participating. This does not eliminate any call makers from entering BOTH the amateur categories and other categories. You may enter BOTH the amateur categories and the other categories.
Classes are used to determine the big winners of the division. Winners of each category in the division are considered for classes unless the category is a stand alone category. Below is a list of classes that this division has and which categories are considered for each.
Best of Show - Call Maker of the Year - Charley Burke Award - Classes I, II, III, IV, & V winners go up against each other to determine the BEST of Show Charley Burke Award. Awarded $1000.00
Best of Class I - Gibson Award - The first place calls in categories 1-6 go up against each other to determine the Gibson award winner or Best of Class I. Awarded $250.00
Best of Class II - D.D. Adams Award - The first place calls in categories 7-11 go up against each other to determine the D.D. Adams award winner or Best of Class II. Awarded $250.00
Best of Class III - Tom Turpin Award - The winner from category 12 automatically wins the Tom Turpin Award or Best of Class III. Awarded $250.00
Best of Class IV - Charles L. Jordan Award - The first place winners from categories 13-15 go up against each other to determine the winner of the Jordan Award or Best of Class IV. Awarded $250.00
Grand National Champion of Champions - Box Call - The winner from Category 20 automatically wins this award. Awarded $250.00
Best of Box Call Sets - Don Chancey Award - The winner from category 22 Automatically wins the Don Chancey Award. Awarded $250.00
Best of Class V - Jeremiah Stevens Award - The first place winners in categories 16-19 go up against each other to determine who wins the Jeremiah Stevens Award or Best of Class V. Awarded $250.00
Grand National Champion of Champions - Friction Call - The winner from category 21 automatically wins this award. Awarded $250.00
Outstanding Youth Hunting Turkey Call Maker of the Year - The best youth entries go up against each other.
Amateur Hunting Turkey Call Maker of the Year - Amateur entries from winners of categories 6, 11, 15.
JAKES Pinfeather Mentor Award - The winner from Category 26 automatically wins this award and can optionally have their name engraved on the trophy with the mentor's name.