My first turkey call was a slate. Corncob-handled striker. Ash peg. White string for the sandpaper. I flat-out LOVE slate pot-and-peg calls. That doesn't mean an old dog can't learn new tricks.
My collection of turkey calls collected over the years could fill a museum--one friend has actually said that: "Your office is like a museum." That it is: a turkey call is just a reach away. I once even worked a group of birds from this desk that were regrouping after fly-down just out my window. Had the brood hen yelping away to my commentary.
But I digress . . .
The new trick (or two): Over the years, I've used many calls, from Quaker Boy to Hunter's Specialties to Woods Wise
to . . . well, just name it. this year Knight & Hale issued new pot-and-peg offerings--the Slate Hammer, Glass Hammer, Silver Hammer, and Yella Hammer, which predated the other three I believe.
At any rate, I ran them all--in this office; in the field. On my recent trip to the South Dakota Badlands, the Glass Hammer proved out to work to the demise of at least two gobblers (one I shot; one a buddy dropped). I'm impressed by the crisp sharp yelps you can get from the surface. The strikers rival some of the best I've used (coffee cups full of strikers fill this space). At any rate, all I can say is to get one. Get 'em all if you can afford it.
The slate is great for soft talk, and just yesterday I fooled a talkative live New Hampshire hen into crossing a cattle fence to my side while thinking she'd be pulling in a strutting gobbler with her. The last wish didn't happen, and she walked. The fall turkey hunter in me called her right back, before letting her drift away. It's all good.
The Silver Hammer is super loud and high-pitched and for those situations when you need to reach out and touch turkeys. Like the Glass Hammer, it will work for up-close stuff too.
The Yella Hammer awaits duty this October. Truth is, any of them might make the cut and go afield with me then. Oh yeah, I've still 10 days left in the New Hampshire season. Better get back to work . . .
(Photo courtesy Knight & Hale; www.knightandhale.com)