Spring is here, and turkey hunting can be fun, especially if you go home with a mature gobbler! Turkey calls can be helpful as they fill you up with the excitement of winning and enjoying your trip.
You don’t need to be an expert caller, but make sure you have the right tools and tips to get your game’s attention. One of the most accessible and most valuable is the slate call.
What is a slate call?
A slate call consists of a pot and striker. It can produce various kinds of subtle or loud calls, coaxing the turkeys to move closer. A slate call is also called a friction or pot call.
The pot is a wooden or plastic body that has a crystal, glass, or slate surface. You can get a pot customized to produce specific sounds as well. A slate call is available at various archery shops.
Prep your call and get ready.
A new slate call will need some prepping before you perfect turkey calls. You can rub your new slate call with some sandpaper before you start. Usually, a call comes with a small piece of sandpaper for you to prepare the surface.
Remember not to rub the slate in circular motion but instead rub it from one direction to another. Once you have a coarse surface ready, scrape it with the striker to create a natural turkey sound. If the sound is not what you wanted, prep the surface a little more and try again!
Holding the pot correct is important.
Always remember to use the striker with your dominant hand. You can hold the pot in your fingers and rest the palm of your dominant hand on the outside edge. Then use the striker to scrape the slate surface and make turkey sounds like you practiced during prepping.
For regular turkey sound, hold the striker like a pencil and strike it at almost 45 degrees with the surface of the slate. If you grip the striker nearer to the tip, a high-pitched sound will be created.
However, for deep-pitched sound, you can hold the striker higher. For the majority of hunters, the right spot is almost two inches from the tip.
One essential tip is to keep the striker in contact with the surface during calls. Any unintentional sound created by moving the striker or the slate can make your turkey run off like a secret message was delivered to it!
Small tips and tricks
When you have used the call, shot the bird, and packed your kit, always keep the striker in a dry pocket. Every hunting tool requires maintenance, and the slate call will go a long way if you keep the surface dust-free and dry.
A turkey call can go a long way and will last years if you keep it away from anything that may smoothen its surface or make it ‘oily.’ Usually, hunters pack their things after a game in a hurry.
They know most of the equipment and gear will require some cleaning when they reach home. However, this minor slate does not need any maintenance! The only maintenance is to keep it away from soap and water!
The different kinds of surfaces
You might wonder which slate call you should buy. I mean, it is called a slate call, but it comes in crystal, glass, and fractionate surfaces too.
• Slate: The slate surface is one of the most popular ones. After all, the turkey call is named after it! This surface creates very realistic sounds and is easy for beginners.
You can cluck and purr quickly if the surface is prepared correctly with some roughness added by sandpaper. While the slate surface is easy and close to nature, the surface may get moist and smooth with use!
• Glass and crystal: The glass surface of the pot can help you reach out to the big turkeys that only move when called with conviction! You may find this funny, but glass surfaces will create a louder sound, so it is a better choice for a windy day or when you go out to open areas.
However, if it starts to rain, your call will be lost! The crystal or glass surface works best when it is dry, and the high-pitched sounds can be powerful enough to call birds from a farther distance. Another downside of glass or crystal surfaces is that they cannot be used for low-pitched or quieter tones.
• Frictionite: This type of slate call is least popular. The ceramic surface offers a high-pitched slate that can produce louder or quitter tones too. Like slate and glass surfaces, the ceramic surface also requires some care, like avoiding moisture or oil.
Common turkey calls
The most common types of turkey calls that you can produce with your slate call are:
• Purr: Turkeys purr when they are content and secure. Just like cats purr when they are satiated and at ease, turkeys purr when they know there is no danger. Now you can coax them into coming closer by a single, swift movement.
Using your striker by holding it close to the tip and moving it in a straight line with less pressure, the purring sound will be natural and alluring.
• Yelp: A short sound that hens make is yelp. This may mean hello in the bird language. It is easy to make yelp sounds with a slate call, as all you need to do is work your striker in a specific way. For yelp sounds, use the striker to draw ovals on the pot surface.
However, make sure that you do not put extra pressure. If you draw larger ovals, the yelping sound turns to a longer cry and may not be helpful.
• The cutt: The cutting sound means calling out to your mates. You can produce this call by moving the striker swiftly from the top towards you.
The pressure must remain constant as the short sound will make turkeys attentive. These social birds love to come running when their mater cut and call them!
A slate call is a useful tool to carry when going for some turkey hunting. You can find turkey calls on numerous surfaces, and slate remains the most common one! You can prepare the surface and use this small tool to create various sounds.
We have discussed the various surfaces and the most popular sounds that will help you get a big turkey home!