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Turkey Mouth Calls and the issue with tension
Written by Ron Jones Redneck Pride on Monday, March 7, 2016
You know the very first Turkey calls I made were back in 2000 and were diaphragms. I started making box and pot calls a year later. I made the mouth calls on a little hand jig. And cut the tape by hand. A lot of small time folks back then were doing the same thing. Took 10 mins to make one 5.00 call LOL. Now I use a press and cutter, the same one most of the big company’s use, and getting ready to add 2 more of each. A lot faster I must say.
I think it was Fall guy that said something, and that is tension.
Inconsistent tensions are a problem. But the cause of that happening is not what one would think. One can only assume why, but most cannot know this tension problem and the causes really, as most do not make calls. The difference in tension in fact most times, does not happen at the press but in fact after the call is long gone on their way to the shop or customer. Temperature has a great influence on expansion and contraction. We all know this with water. Freeze and it expands heat and it contracts. Everything expands and contract with rises and falls of temperature. So when dealing with a mouth call, this movement will change the tensions. And fast. Aluminum is known to expand and contract hard, thus the frame in its self is a problem causing a more or less pull on the latex. Then the latex its self will really will move with rise and fall temps. A 1000th in tension up or down is a major move with reeds. The more temp changes that accrue with the mouth calls the looser they get due to stretch. Same as using them. This is why a new call has a break in from the first time in the mouth to where the call starts to sound consistent. I have seen tension changes happen for example when I make calls in July and August and open them up for fall turkey in Dec. So when companies are mass producing calls year round, the tensions are going to change for hunting calls depending on when they were made and temp changes they go through from press to mouth. And will change daily in large temp swings 35 mornings to 70 mid-day. Hunting calls are not comp calls; if they were you would be spending 20 plus bucks for a call that will last very short time. A high numbers comp caller would never think of using a call made 6 months ago or in many different contests.
I believe the last thing a person wants to do is place calls in freezer in the off season. In the fridge would be better, but for me I just keep them in a place where the temps will stay around 55 to 70 and most important out of the sun light. I don’t want the big temp swing to stretch the latex. Another factor in tension, if the calls are made in a 70 plus room temp then the caller goes out on those early season mornings where your short hairs want to hide, that will happen so often in the early season, the call is going to change when the call is places into a 98.9 degree mouth. And some time a lot. That call will go from high pitch to wash out. I can hear it very clear. Most folks do hear it but not as much as much as they feel it, meaning the call reacts differently. And they try to change the way they call to make it feel the same and sound as they did in the truck practicing. I tell everyone just say the words the birds are not as picky as you think. We are the perfectionists not the birds, Just do what you did practicing. Comp calling is a different thing than hunting.
Another thing I see with folks with tension is every call has different tensions that is what makes the sounds different. My Red reaper for example is a hard tension call. Those reeds are pulled tight. That is what makes that call a killer. But it takes air to work that call. You are not going to go 90 seconds on a hard routine with that thing. I go 15 to 20 seconds tops on it cutting and working it and I run out of air and die LOL, but the toms are coming in most times. The problem with most callers is they don’t learn to work calls, they only work calls they like. That is fine but they loose on the ability to use calls that give different sounds when it is needed. I don’t do it much anymore but I use to guide turkey hunters. And there was seasons that I called in 30 to 50 birds that could have been taken, from jakes to good boys. I used calls that was new out of the pacage to calls that long had wore out. Matter fact I kill my best bird that had 1 7/8 spurs using a blown out washed out call after bring him in to almost perfect calling on my split v, for him only to say no and go back, I work him back and killed him using a double spilt mush out call speaking turkey ebonics LOL. Tom and Ted I know for a fact they carry a bunch of mouth calls I have them Beat LOL.
By learning to go hard on a call that you like is one thing. But learning how to work a hard air call that you don’t like and then dropping down to an easy air call takes a lot of practice and determination. I don’t use calls because I like them I use calls that the birds like. I remember when I was kid; I was learning to play the trumpet. I remember I was having a hard time with the high notes. My instructor said son you need to learn to hit those high notes. I said I am hitting the button they just will not go up. He said you have to do more than hit the button you have to put more air in and press your lips tighter. You have to make it happen son it won’t do it on its own!!!!!!. If you want to use a call you have to make it work not let it work. You have to figure it out. Everyone’s mouth is different. Heck Ted cuts so much tape off his call I am amazed that they will seal lol.
I WAS GOING TO GO INTO TYPES OF LATEX CUTS BUT THINK I WILL HOLD OFF LOL.
About The Author
Ron Jones owner of Redneck Pride Game Calls and Outdoors Scents....