I hear about everybody breaking up flocks and whistling the birds back in during fall. I’m no good on a mouth call and prefer a slate, but I can’t seem to kee-kee on a friction call. Any advice? — Tom Baker, Winona, Minn.
It’s not as tough as you think. If you’re good on a friction call, you’ve already won half the battle. The first part of your yelp is the whistle. You just have to change your technique a bit to continue the whistle and prevent the call from rolling over
Some folks advocate placing the tip of your striker farther toward the outside of the call, producing a higher pitch. Don’t do this. Run the call where you’d normally yelp, cluck, cutt and purr. This advice comes straight from World Champion Sadler McGraw.
Use a glass or aluminum call. Grip the striker farther down on the tip — perhaps right at the tip. Then, increase your finger pressure so you’re pinching tightly on the striker. This reduces vibration and prevents the sound from rolling over into a yelp or getting raspy. Run the striker in straight lines, returning it to the starting point in almost the same path. This will look like a W or M on the call. Done correctly, this should produce a high, clean whistle. If the call is squeaking, you might be gripping the striker too tight.
Also, don’t change the angle of your striker as you would when yelping. Try to keep it straight up and down. Again, this prevents the sound from rolling over or deviating from the whistle.
After you’re able to make competent whistles, it’s easy to roll the kee-kee into a kee-kee run. As you’re completing the final whistle, loosen your grip on the striker and let its angle change. The sound will naturally roll right into the second note of a yelp.
Mastering this technique will take some time, so don’t get frustrated if you’re not perfect immediately. You don’t have to be perfect to whistle turkeys to the gun in fall. If you get really accomplished at this, you’ll be able to impart that distinct nasally tone of young turkeys. Listen to the Grand Nationals friction calling contest sometime. The sounds those dudes produce are flat-out better than the whistle made by any poult.