It feels a little funny to be telling you how to care for your elk calls when my last article basically told you to swallow them and never use them! Although I am typically pretty conservative when it comes to my calling, I never enter the elk woods without a diaphragm in my mouth. I will even ‘half-bugle’ to locate bulls in from distant ridges before moving in silence. I have even called in some crazy rut-crazed bulls that absorbed arrows from me out of self-defense. I have called and know how to use them but find that most of the time silence is more productive. With that said, I still treat my calls like the important piece of equipment that they are. At times they can be the most important piece of equipment in your playbook. As such, they need to be taken care of.
When I first started hunting elk with archery gear I tried every diaphragm call in my local sporting goods store. I should have known that sticking something that size in my throat would make me gag, but I never learned. I just knew that the next call would be different. They all elicited the same laryngeal spasm in me until I saw a funny looking call made by some elk guru from Idaho. I bought a triple pack of “palate plates” from Bugling Bull Game Calls buglingbull.com and have never gagged on a call again. In that spirit, I reached out to that elk guru from Idaho named Rockie Jacobson. Rockie is still making the best calls on the market and poking arrows through many unsuspecting bulls. Here are his tips for taking care of your calls:
- After practicing with them during the offseason rinse them off under tap water. Pat with a paper towel and make sure you get them completely dry. Place them in a zip lock bag and store in a cool dark area, like your refrigerator. Don’t store in a glove box or next to any heat source. Also, remember to keep them out of direct sunlight and florescent lighting. This will quickly destroy the latex.
- During hunting season wash them off in a creek or with drinking water at the end of every day. Pat dry and put them in a call case or zip lock bag in a cool place like a cooler. During the day DO NOT leave them on the dashboard or in the seat of the pickup. There is a lot of heat in this area and the sunlight can also get to them through the windshield. Sunlight and heat will quickly destroy the latex.
Pretty simple tips to help you make sure your equipment is in the best condition possible when that opportunity of a lifetime steps out this fall.