Which turkey calls are the easiest of use for a beginner? Depending on exactly what you want to use there is multiple calls of each type that are great for beginners. If I had to narrow it down to one call for a beginner I would go with the slate call. There are literally thousands of strikers out there to choose from on playing tunes with the slate call. For a beginner I would stick with a (wood of your choice) closed tip striker. The key to calling on a slate call is the positioning in which you hold the striker.
How to hold the Striker and the Slate:
When you first pick up the striker hold it just as if it were a pen or pencil. Make sure your slate call has been properly sanded. A slick surface slate call (without being scuffed up) sounds like running your fingernails down your teachers chalk board. So make sure the call is properly sanded. When positioning your striker on the slate call tilt the striker towards the top of the call (away from you). When using your striker only about half of the tip will be used when making a call. The front half of the striker tip, which will be the half furthest from you is really all you will ever need to use. Holding a slate call in the correct way is crucial for that crisp sound that you will be looking for. Keeping the slate off the palm of your hands will allow you to achieve a better crisp sounding call. If the slate is positioned directly flat on your palm you will notice a much duller sound and will sound un-realistic. The goal is to cup your hands around the outer-ring of the call without allowing the bottom (pot) ever touching your hand. Proper conditioning on the surface of a slate call is imperative. Simply grab a piece of emery cloth and scratch the surface only in the same direction. Doing this will make it easier to acquire a different pitch. If you accidentally don’t go the same way when scuffing the surface don’t sweat it; the call will still sound good. With your striker in position and the proper hold on the call (conditioned surface), your ready to play!
Play the Beat:
There are several ways to make the sound of a turkey on a slate call, but I will give you what I feel is the best way to make the sounds of a hen turkey. Before trying to make a sound of turkey I recommend you try a couple things first to get the hang of how it works. First, take the striker and lightly drag a line down the middle of the slate. You should notice the friction and how it creates a sound. Some callers draw straight lines and keep repeating the process to make the sound of a hen turkey, but I feel this is not the most efficent way nor the best sounding. To achieve a yelp of a hen turkey, I draw some circles on the slate. Personally, I never take the striker off the slate when calling. Only half of that small circle i’m creating is making noise, but this helps keep the consistency of making the yelping of a hen turkey. Once you have the yelp mastered you can then proceed in to learning how to play all the other calls a turkey make. Purring, Clucking, Kee-Kee, are just several other calls that sound good on a slate call.
There is a widespread variety of slate calls out there and is really just up to you on which one you prefer thebest. Every caller has that favorite slate call that they think is the best slate made. It’s really just a matter of opinion on which slate call is best as there are all sorts of slate calls flooding the hunting market. For a beginner, I will stick to my guns and say the slate call is the best call for you starting out. The ease of use matched with the realistic sounds the call can produce is a must have in any turkey hunters arsenal.
This guest blog was written by Kyle Heuerman of Radical Outdoors. Team Radical is a group of (cool) dudes that share their hunting and outdoor adventures via their video. Check them out at http://www.team-radical.com/.
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