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.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pushing Kids Too Fast.

I finally got to watch some hunting shows and Pig Man was one I've been hearing about so I tune in to the Cotton Mesa TX hog episode. Everything's fine until the dad wheels out the lil 6 year old and says he's gonna be using what appears to be an adult size high powered rifle. They don't show either shot the boy takes at a hog, probably because the little guy can't handle the rifle himself. Later when they find a hog they think is the one he shot at Dad is carrying the rifle.

Why do some dads insist on starting kids WAY to early with big guns? It's unsafe since the kid can't handle the weight and length of the rifle nor the recoil. Pushing a kid into a gun too big for their little bodies is also a great way to develop a flinch in a new shooter. I was tall for my age and wasn't allowed to carry a rifle other than a .22 until I was almost 10 years old. I can't imagine handing a small child a rifle and expect him to be able to control the muzzle like he should.

One recent instance of this nonsense I witnessed was at the trap range. One dad was insisting junior shoot dad's older shotgun and the poor kid couldn't even shoulder the gun correctly. Even when it was pointed out to dad that it was teaching the kid poor gun handling and shooting skills and also how unsafe it was for the kid to fumble around the shotgun, pop insisted on continuing their practice. Grrrr, sometimes you just want to shake people.

In many states youth hunters can't hunt big game until they are 12 years old like here in CA. I'd say that's about the right age but each kid develops at their own pace. When a young hunter should be trusted with a firearm should be up to the parent to make the right call, and PLEASE, leave all the macho BS out. Make the safe decision.

Between the gun safety nonsense I've seen on 3 "Wild Within" TV shows already and this it's gonna drive me back to Oprah and The View.