Monday, March 14, 2011

You Made A Turkey Call Out Of What?!!!

I've made turkey calls out of just about everything you can think of. My first turkey call was made from young maple seed leaves that twirled to the ground at our elementary school yard. “Whirlybirds” we called them. You could tear the seed off and use the leafy part like a turkey diaphragm call to make hen yelps. This brought joy to our ears but ended up with hair pulling by our teachers who dragged us by our ears to the principle for blowing the them in class. You could also make them sound like a squeaky fart which is what got us in trouble.

Turtle shells, fence posts, wood from the floors of old cabins we found in the Ozark mountains, wingbone yelpers made from turkey wing bones. You name it, I've tried to coax a yelp from it.  I've been to Nashville for the NWTF callmakers competition and seen all kinds of turkey calls from callmakers all over the world. Well, I thought I had the gamut covered until Eric showed up at the Fred Hall Show last year and told me of his oyster shell friction turkey call.

"No way", I proclaimed, taint happening. The more Eric talked the more it made sense and the more it tripped my "gotta see it" detector.

Fast forward to this past Friday at the Fred Hall Show and who do I spy sneaking down the aisle with his oyster shell in hand but Eric and his buddy.

"Ah ha!" I hollered to get his attention to our NWTF booth.

Being from Mizzurah I told Eric it was time to "Show Me". And show me Eric did, he whipped out the corncob striker and struck up a hen yelp. Kelp, kelp, kelp came the beautiful notes. Eric is a biologist who records all kinds of animal sounds and he loves to hunt turkeys too so it was simple destiny for him to find the oyster shell and make fine turkey music on it.

Eric said the real beauty of the call is with all the ridges and bumps inside the shell you can get all kids of tones and pitches. Kind of like having a bunch of friction pots instead of just the one. Heck, I'm half deaf from all my years flying in the USAF and shooting guns but even I could hear the magic.

One thing Eric mentioned that struck me was he couldn't believe with all the cavemen and Indians running around years ago that none of them hadn't tried scraping something on an oyster shell to make sound. Surely one of them had tried he said. Having grown up around Muscatine Iowa where they were world famous for their pearl buttons made from clam shells we used to play in the piles of discarded shells behind my cousin's house. We never even thought of using a striker on a clam shell so it's possible Eric is the inventor of the Oyster Shell Turkey Call.

No word from Eric yet if he's going to make a few for sale, he's still punching the 9 to 5 clock and he's not sure if he wants to throw another iron in the fire yet. If he does, you'll be the first to know.

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