MO Call 0005

Chris Parish breaks down the hen call note by note in an attempt to imitate it.  He believes if you are that good at breaking it down then you are also capable of knowing what that calling means.  There are so many subtleties in turkey communication that breaking down the call will tell you what that hen is saying to the gobbler.

Chris Parrish of Centralia, MO has been a competitor and champion in national turkey calling competitions.

There is no way that a human can sound better than a hen turkey.  But, it is possible to sound almost as good.  In the woods, turkeys do make a lot of mistakes in their calls.  They are not always perfect in their calls.  The hunter who listens to the hens and does not worry about the gobblers is the one who will be successful.

What is important is the rhythm of the call not specially the notes.  Whether high pitched, low pitched or raspy it does not make a difference.

A good woodsman can kill turkeys and never use a call.  But, calls add to the experience and challenge of the sport.  Calling does make the outdoorsman a more rounded turkey hunter.

A caller can make a gobbler’s temperature rise and have him seek out what he believes to be a hen.  Or he can get aggressive with a hen and make her so mad that she will seek him out.  Some callers can actually sound like multiple birds.

Some hunters have trouble with mouth calls.  They do not fit the hunter’s mouth comfortably. Sometimes they do not get a proper air seal.  Everyone’s mouth is different and no single call will fit any two people the same.  This results in differences in sound between two callers using the same call.

What is the best call to buy?  Parrish recommends buying one of everybody’s call and try them all until you find the one that works best for you.  Then stick with it.  Do not worry about the name appearing on it.

Hunters will put toothpicks between the reeds to let them dry out nice.  Some hunters will dip their mouth calls in a small cup of Listerine and then wash them off quickly.  If done every two weeks it tends to prevent getting colds and sore throats from calling.

A good call will last you three or four years if you take care of them.

One good way to learn how to mock a turkey is to use a CD of the birds and learn how to match your calling to their vocalizations.  It helps to copy the little soft subtleties that turkeys do.

Callers need to open their mouth when using a mouth call.  Although birds respond with the mouth closed down, the open mouth calling is more clear and distinct.  It makes for a sound of a more excited hen.  Opening the mouth and dropping the jaw give you that realism to the call.

People are reluctant to open the mouth for fear of movement that will scare the bird away or that they will spit the call out.  But, once you learn to call with the jaw dropped you begin to get realism in your calling.

Birds in the woods will yelp just one time.  Callers do not seem to want to do that.  They want to go through a routine.  Parish believes that turkeys do not know what a routine is and do not talk like the contest judge wants to hear.

This year when you are out in the woods listen to the birds and copy them.  It will lead to more success if you learn to speak the fowl language of the turkey.



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  1. Great title Don! Look forward to seeing you at POMA.

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