Before hitting the turkey woods, make sure your calls are up to the task
It’s a good thing this call is inexpensive because it’s unlikely to last more than one hunting season. Each mouth call is unique and takes some time to get used to, even within the same brand and model. Take care of it so you don’t have to start over with a new one in the middle of a hunt.
The enemies of the mouth call are sunlight, heat, bacteria and forgetting where you put the blasted thing after you took it out of your mouth. The likes of a security badge clip, attached to your vest, makes a good place to dry out and keep track of your call when it’s not in your mouth.
Sunlight and heat degrade the latex reeds, making them tear or loosen on the frame until they don’t sound right. Don’t keep your mouth call in a closed vehicle once the weather warms up, for example, or the latex will begin to deteriorate within a few hours. You’ll know the call needs to be tossed once the reed turns wrinkly. You can stretch the metal frame to take up the slack, but it’s only a temporary fix because the latex has lost its resiliency and will soon go slack again.
Along with also degrading the latex, bacteria discolour the reed and tape, making it a disgusting prospect to keep the thing your mouth. Bacteria grow in a moist environment, so when you’re hunting always allow the call to air dry before putting it back in its case. Make sure the case has air holes to allow moisture to escape. And after the hunt each day, rinse the call with clean water and again allow it to thoroughly dry.
After rinsing a multi-reed call, separate the reeds using flat toothpicks so they don’t stick together as they dry. Otherwise, it will be impossible to make a soft tree yelp or quiet purr. In fact, you won’t know what sound it will make until it’s too late and you quite possibly blow your chance on a big tom.
If you need to kill bacteria on the call, douse it briefly in alcohol-free mouthwash (if the mouthwash contains alcohol, dilute it by half with water). After the mouthwash bath, thoroughly rinse the call with clean water then air dry it. If you won’t be hunting again for a few days, store the dry, clean call in your fridge. It’s the perfect environment, since there’s no sunlight or heat, and bacteria cannot flourish in the cold. Just be sure warn others in your household about the odd addition to your fridge’s contents.