I sit in front of it quite often now with my H.S. Strut “Stagger 3” mouth call in place practicing yelps, which aren’t particularly spitty, but those putts produce microscopic saliva pellets that come out in shotgun form, similar to an Improved Cylinder choke pattern. (So, I guess this means that my web designer won’t want to tutor me on my keyboard any longer.)
As a former clarinet player and master of John Philip Sousa marches (trilling and staccato-ing my way through scores of marches), I figured this learning-to-use-the-mouth call business would come naturally. I think it sounds natural, anyway – just like the lessons I follow online with little downloads of each call. But then again, is listening to yourself sing or play an instrument so subjective that you never truly know how good you are until you’re put to the test in front of an audience? And, my audience (a “horde” of turkeys, as my web designer calls them) will be in the woods. Will they, or just one (please?), come to my call?
An online tutorial http://www.turkeyhuntingsecrets.com/library/libindex-calling-learn.htm, which touts a “Mouth Calls Department,” states that I should keep the mouth call in the side of my cheek when not using it. And, to keep it there until it doesn’t feel like a foreign object any longer. Wow, that will take months and I should have started this process last year after turkey season. I guess I’ll have to take a crash course in “storing your mouth call in your mouth when not in use.”
Gag reflex factor
Here’s where my gag reflex for using a mouth call comes in strong. How do you clean the thing? I remember wiping off my clarinet reeds before storing them in a funky metal box that held only four reeds. And, if they turned green, it meant throwing them away.
I purchased Diaphresh Call Freshening System that comes with a mint-flavored, witch-hazel based rinse that cleans out the old saliva. Then, you’re supposed to store your calls in the “heart” of the system, the field case that separates the calls. Anything’s better than wiping down the mouth call and running a toothpick or paper clips between the latex layers and then, sticking it back in the fridge. Gag. Besides, you all know what happens to something left unmoved in the fridge door for a year.
My tutor at the mouth call website writes, “Learning to use a mouth call will be fun if you follow the above process and don’t rush yourself. Once you master it, it’s like riding a bike … you’ll never forget how to do it.”
Yeah, but will I be able to use a mouth call and ride a bike? I bet Alex Rutledge can! And, I bet Brenda Valentine can yelp on a mouth call, line up 25 kids for the bus line, be thinking about what she’s going to pull out of the freezer to start thawing for supper and text someone about a speaking engagement on her PDA. (Sorry, Alex, but we moms get years of training for this type of thing.)
One thing I recommend: If you’re learning to use a mouth call while sitting at your computer, invest in some antibacterial wipes for the keyboard.
*From Urban Dictionary: Gleek: building up saliva in the salivary glands using some stimulus, like sour food or yawning, and then pressing the tongue upon the glands, causing the saliva to shoot out, usually at an impressive distance.http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gleek