Starting with Diaphragm Calls

Starting with Diaphragm Calls

September 21, 2020

One of Travis' favorite ways to attract game, is the diaphragm call.

Because of the large variety of calls you can carry in a small space, as well as the relatively reasonable starting price, I've decided to try to learn the knack.

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How these calls operate, is the colored "tape" portion forms a seal on the roof of your mouth, making a kind of artificial noise chamber. Then the latex piece pointed down towards the tongue, gets vibrated by the breath and changed by tongue pressure, and that's how you get the call to mimic various sounds. But how do you go about learning the best way to produce these sounds?

My first steps were to watch some of the excellent tutorials from the makers of the calls I was using, which in my case were the calls by Rocky Mountain Elk Calls. This was great because they have a wealth of information on how to use all of their products.

After watching and practicing for just a few minutes, this is where I was left.

So obviously that didn’t work too well, but I do have some advice if your calls sound like mine did. It took me almost two days to realize, but when I did figure it out, the solution was very simple. For me the problem was, I had the call too far back on the roof of my mouth. Once I moved the call forward, with the front line closer towards my K-9s, my call went from being “elk adjacent” to “elk like” in the space of three minutes of practice.

That is a marked difference after only a few days of practice, but is still far from indistinguishable from any elk. I'm going to try to listen to elk bugles in person and on video to get a reference for my technique. I am going to continue this learning experience and keep you guys updated.

My final thoughts for now boil down to this: While I have been pretty slow on the uptake, I have seen people pick the skill up much faster than I have, so don’t let my speed of progress deter you. Also, something I wasn’t expecting was the muscle fatigue you can experience while learning. You could probably expect to have some jaw and tongue tiring while you are getting used to the calls. My mom had complained about some vibration from the latex, but what little I felt didn’t bother or tickle me at all.

I will continue to learn and let you guys know and see my improvements.