Huntsmen Blog

Game Calls for the Novice Hunter
March 08, 2024

Game Calls for the Novice Hunter

It turns out that if you want to be a successful game or bird hunter, you must learn
to master a game call. Piece of cake you say! I am astonished at the vast array of
big game, predator and bird calls that are available on the market today. I think
there are enough to make even the most experienced hunter scratch his or her
chin, imagine the confusion it causes the novice. So, how does a hunter begin to
navigate this system of game calls? Logic dictates that the first thing a hunter
needs to do is decide on their goals, what they are looking for from a game call.
Once expectations are decided upon, it’s time to look at calls.

Just what are all the call types you ask? There are mouth calls, friction calls and
electronic calls. The cost of these calls can be as low as $10 and as high as a
several hundred dollars. Price range is a definite consideration, but convenience
and ease of use are also considerations that need to be looked at. After all, what is
the sense of spending good hard earned money on a product that you have
difficulty using, or aren’t satisfied with the quality of the sounds you’re emitting?
Consider choosing a reputable brand and be careful of knock-offs. The adage “you
get what you pay for” is certainly true in the world of game calls. Today we are
going to look at the different mouth calls that are available. We will consider friction
calls and electronic options in future discussions.

Mouth calls include any devise in which the air you breathe is used to create the
desired sound to attract the attention of a specific game species. Mouth calls first
originated with the Native Americans who would blow on pieces of stretched grass
to replicate animal sounds. This concept was adopted by game hunters and mouth
calls were created.

One type of mouth call is the diaphragm call as it is referred to. Diaphragm calls
are used for big game, predator and turkey hunting; they are not used for duck
hunting. This call is basically a u-shaped frame of plastic tape that has a latex reed
stretched across the frame. It fits in the roof of your mouth and is activated as you
blow air. These calls can contain several layers of latex reeds, and these reeds
can have various cuts in them, or no cuts. The number of reeds and the various
cuts all contribute to the creation of various tones and animal sounds. Emitted
sounds are also dependent on the force of air being expelled, placement of the
call in the mouth, tongue and lip movement as well as hand movements around
the mouth. Diaphragm calls with a single reed (one piece of stretched latex) and
no cuts is the easiest for the novice caller to experience because it requires less
air. The sounds which are emitted are basic and the call doesn’t allow for a wide
range of pitches and sounds. It does however, give the novice a sense of
accomplishment as they begin the diaphragm call journey. There are other things
to consider when using this mouth call. You need to gauge the size of your mouth.
Some calls are bigger then others, and you want to get one that is not too large,
nor too small for your mouth. If you do get one that is too large, there is a way to
cut them down, but since the call fits in the roof of your mouth, keep this
requirement in mind. Getting used to blowing air while having a foreign object in
your mouth and dealing with some vibration can be interesting, but as they say,
practice makes perfect, so practice, practice, practice.

The hand-held reed calls are another call option. These calls are used in big
game, predator, turkey and duck hunting. Hand-held calls also have reeds
contained within the body of the call which emit various sounds when air is blown
across them. The body of these calls is generally made out of wood,
polycarbonate or acrylic, and come in many different shapes and sizes. They can
contain one reed or two, and the reeds can be open or closed (enclosed). Of
course the easiest hand-held call for a novice to use in duck hunting is a closed
double reed. It seems these are the easiest to learn on, are more forgiving,
provide fairly accurate vocalizations and are reliable for the experienced caller as
well as the novice. The open reed calls take a little more practice and finesse to
master, but provide a broader range of volume, tones and sounds. The majority of
elk calls tend to be open reed calls in order to be able to emit the higher pitched
sounds required in imitating calf and cow sounds.

Whichever call you decide to give a try, don’t be surprised if you are not able to
immediately create the desired sounds with the first blow. As stated earlier,
becoming proficient at game calls takes practice. Repetition, focusing on the
fundamentals and getting to know your call are key elements in mastering game
calls. Last of all, START EARLY! Don’t wait until the week before your hunt starts
to order a game call. Give yourself time to practice with your new call and to watch
some videos on the tips and tricks to mastering your call, so that when your hunt
begins you will be ready and prepared to fill your tag!

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