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Slate calls may be the most effective calls for turkey hunting. Why? You can make a wider variety of turkey sounds with a slate call than any other call. They are simple enough for a rookie turkey hunter to learn with very little practice. Slate calls can be learned in one night but it can take a lifetime to master. Even veteran callers need to practice and continue to improve their skills.
These days slate calls are often referred to as pot and peg calls. They aren’t just made of slate anymore. The pot can be made of glass, metal, composite, or even… slate. The peg, also known as a striker, can also be made of a variety of materials.
When it comes to maintaining these calls, check the call instructions first. Some call makers have detailed instructions for call maintenance. Otherwise, the following paragraphs offer good, rule-of-thumb advice for keeping your call working optimally.
Off season care should resemble that of a box call. Store slate calls in a cool, dry place. A plastic zip-sealed bag will protect your calls from rapid changes in humidity. If you have a pouch or carrying case for your slate call, and you should, keep the call in the case as well. This will further protect it.
When hunting with and while maintaining a slate call it is imperative to avoid touching the calling surfaces of the pot and the striker. The oils from your skin can foul up a call. It’s also a good idea to keep the call in a bag or pouch while walking the woods. I don’t know about you but the pockets of my hunting vest all have small amounts of dirt and woody material. Those things can pull a call out of tune.
Slate calls should be sanded to clear off any built up grime. Use steel wool or fine grit sandpaper on slate. Generally, medium grit sandpaper is used on other surfaces. The most important tip for sanding slate calls is to always sand in the same direction. Don’t go back and forth and by all means, do not sand in a circular motion. Sanding in the same direction will keep your calling consistently. A slate call has certain areas that are better than others for specific turkey sounds. Proper sanding preserves the reliability of a call.
The striker needs maintenance as well. An emery board works great for sanding striker tips. Again, be sure to always sand in the same direction. With proper maintenance, a slate call should last for years. These tips will get you well on your way to a lasting relationship with your favorite pot and peg. Have a great season!