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Getting Real With Your Calls: Purring and Clucking

Scott Ellis, champion turkey callerEditor's Note: This is the third installment of the online-only series Getting Real With Your Calls.

Regardless of which call you take afield this spring, sound quality is a must. These advanced techniques can help you produce the most realistic sound from your calls.

Box Call

Primos Wet Box Waterproof Box CallYou can produce the cluck and purr, albeit not the most realistic version, on a box call. Lay the lid of the call on the soundboard just shy of the center. Apply light pressure to the lid. With your wrist, slowly begin dragging the lid across the soundboard, moving it toward the closed position.

This should produce a slight chattering that will pass for a purr. To create the little clucks generally associated with purring, follow the directions for cutting but at a slower rhythm. Shorten the stroke, and don’t make contact as aggressively.

Mouth Call

Flextone Waddell Tramp Stamp Slate CallTwo methods let you produce a realistic purr with a mouth call: the gargling method and tongue-fluttering method. Let’s start with tongue-fluttering. Without the call in your mouth, force enough air across your tongue to make it flutter. Blow as hard as necessary to produce fluttering.

Next, place the call back in your mouth, and let the call "float.” That is, use just enough tongue pressure to keep the call in place. Then apply the stream of air required to make your tongue roll. You should produce some type of sound that resembles a purr. Use as much air as you need to get the initial tongue flutter. Then reduce the air flow until you make it realistic. To use the gargling method, place the call lightly in your mouth, and again use a steady stream of air.

However, you must flutter your uvula, which is the small, fleshy V-shaped extension of the soft palate above the tongue at the entrance of your throat. Not everyone can do this. If you’re one of the lucky few, steady air flow will vibrate your uvula and, combined with light tongue pressure, create purring.

Pot Call

Flextone Waddell Tramp Stamp Slate CallA pot call probably is the easiest device with which to produce clucking and purring. Place the striker on the calling surface, lean it slightly away from you, and apply light pressure.

With your thumb and pointer finger, begin dragging the striker toward the center of the call and across the conditioning lines until the striker chatters or starts vibrating, producing the purr. To cluck, simply apply more pressure, and pull downward until the striker pops, creating the cluck.

— Scott Ellis is member of the Woodhaven Custom Calls Sting Team, a pro-staffer for TruGlo and ThermaCell, and a field expert for Ol' Tom Technical Turkey Gear. He is a four-time Florida State turkey calling champion, and has won or placed in more than 75 competitions. He was fourth at the 2010 National Wild Turkey Federation Grand National Championships. Ellis is also an author. He lives in Mulberry, Fla., with his son, Jake, and wife, Kim.

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