A Little Call Care Goes a Long Way
Few experiences are more enjoyable, or exciting, than bringing a wily gobbler into shotgun range by convincing his tuned ear that a lonely hen is waiting for his visit.
Calls, whether pot and peg, mouth diaphragm, wing bone or box variety, are needed tools in the addiction called turkey hunting. Most hunters have one or more of each call in their vest with quite a few more sitting around their house or shop.
Originally called the pot and peg call, it's now more commonly known for the material for which it was first made of, slate. Slate calls are made from a variety of materials — glass, aluminum, slate — to provide diversity and are still very popular today.
The synthetic and glass materials used in most slate calls today require less maintenance than the original slate did, but care must be taken to guarantee quality turkey call sound. Never touch the working parts of the call with fingers or anything containing oil, because this can change the sound or even ruin the call.
Always store the call in a plastic bag or holster in a cool dry place. Sand the call in only one direction to ensure the best possible sound. Sand the striker tip to clean it of dirt and oil, and sand it in only one direction just like the call for the best results.
Many turkey hunters started with the box call for its ease of use, versatility, and sound quality. These same hunters still use them for the same reasons, as well as for the high volume of which they are capable. Made from combinations of wood, box calls require the most care of all turkey calls.
Unlike slate calls, box calls could never be sanded. Try to not touch the striking surfaces of the call as the oils in the skin can affect the sound and life of the call. Use only chalk that is free of oil and only use it on the underside of the lid, not the edges. Store the call in a large plastic bag to prevent moisture from warping the wood.
While more difficult to learn than other calls, master turkey hunters swear by the mouth call. Its versatility allows a hunter to make every turkey vocalization needed in the spring or fall turkey woods. The mouth call cost less than other calls and is very simple to care for.
Store in a case or plastic bag in the refrigerator when not in use. Never let it get hot or the latex in the call will expand and change the sound. With multi-reed calls, place a toothpick between the reeds when storing to keep them from sticking together. Rinse the call with cold water regularly, and occasionally spray it with antiseptic to eliminate germs and bacteria.
Good hunters don't store their favorite firearm after the season without conducting the basic maintenance to ensure its reliable service. Put the same effort into maintaining your call land they'll last for years.