As my first turkey season has ended, I have been hesitant to put my hunting gear away. Seems I have gotten used to having it around. I also wanted to be sure I cleaned everything properly before storing it away so I called on a few experts. Not only have these guys been using turkey gear for decades, some of them design the gear we use today. What I found out was I had a lot to learn. In part one of this two-part series, I turned to our official NWTF call company, Zink Calls and Matt Morrett, for the 4-1-1 on keeping my calls clean and in good working order until next season.
Mouth or diaphragm calls
“Cleaning mouth calls and proper storage are very important to extend the life of your calls. It always happens by the end of turkey season you have those two or three calls that are just right and are like your right arm,” Morrett said. He suggests:
- wash calls very thoroughly with cold water and a bit of antibacterial soap
- rinse completely in cold water
- and the most important part is to let them dry in open air (no light)
Once cleaned, storage in a container that allows a small amount of airflow is ideal, he said.
“Personally, I store them in my gear in my basement, which remains cool and dry. You can also store them in the freezer during the off season, either way this keeps them fresh and ready to go for next season,” Morrett said.
For box calls, Morrett suggests a little dry cleaning. Using a dry rag, clean away any dirt or debris left from the spring season. Be careful not to disturb any of the playing surfaces.
Morrett does not store his box calls out of sight. “I like to keep my box call in a place that when I walk by I can pick it up and hit it a couple times a week or month during the off season.”
Keeping with lessons from his father and those from custom-call maker Marlin Watkins, Morrett says a box call is like “fine wine. It gets better with the aging process.”
Pot style calls
For these calls, Morrett again suggests using a dry rag to clean away any debris picked up through the season and storing in a dry, safe place. He says utilizing a dry storage box is great option to keep all your gear in one place.
On final piece of advice from World Champion caller Morrett is to keep your calls close by.
“The more you have your calls in your hands or your mouth – the more you sound like the real thing,” he said.