Editor's Note: This is the second 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.
To cutt on a box call, start with the lid open. Then, using only your wrist, produce a short, quick, abrupt, slightly downward stroke. Only make contact with the sounding board in the center of the paddle.
Envision the paddle striking the soundboard and traveling about 1/8 inch. Then return the paddle to the open position, and repeat the motion in hen turkey rhythm.
Envision your tongue as a valve that regulates air flow with a rapid opening and closing fashion. The key to putting realism in your cutting is the quickness with which you force air across the reeds.
Many people try to create the sharpness of cutting with their lips. That is a huge misconception. You can create more realistic tone with your tongue alone. Start with your tongue on the call with enough pressure to completely seal off the air.
Next, rapidly drop your tongue off the call with a short burst of air, and then return it to the starting position.
Never let your brain outrun your tongue. Practice rhythm before speed. When you have mastered cutting at a slower pace, begin increasing the pace.
At the call’s sweet spot, place the striker on the calling surface at a slight angle, with the shaft leaning away from you. Apply enough pressure to keep the striker stationary while slowly using your thumb and forefinger to begin a downward motion. The striker will jump, creating the cutting note.
To increase sharpness and volume, apply more pressure, and pull downward with a faster motion.
One critical point: Always move the striker across the conditioning lines created from side-to-side sanding. That lets the striker tip bite the calling surface, lessening the chances of it slipping.
— 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.