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The Striker Does Matter

          As someone who is an aficionado of friction calls, I carry an assortment of equipment afield when turkey hunting. One of my hunting companions always comments on the assortment of calls I have affixed to my person. And without hesitation I would agree that my vest weighs at a minimum of twenty pounds – before I put a bird in the back. This does not account for the twin lanyards that each carry between two and four calls each. Yes I do carry a lot of equipment.

And when it comes to slate, pot, or the like, I have several different varieties (more about that at a later time). But if there is one thing I have learned through the years of using various “slate” calls. It is that the striker makes most of the difference when using a “slate” call. (for clarification purposes, I refer to all calls of this type as ‘slate’ calls. whether they are made from actual slate, glass, crystal, aluminum, or other material for this story I will refer to them all as ‘slate’ calls because we are talking about the striker).

I use all types of material in my slate calls; glass, beaded glass, crystal, aluminum, slate, you name it. And while they all have different sounds, the one thing is constant is that a different striker will make all of these calls sound completely different. Oak, purple heart, cocobolo, laminates, carbon, you name it and they all sound completely different. Top these with different types of ‘tops’ and they again sound different. Sanded ends, burned ends, flared ends the options are myriad and the sounds endless.

Like most, I have my favorite (check that – had my favorite – I lost it last weekend on a turkey hunt and spent the better part of a day retracing my footsteps in search of it) Until last weekend I had that oak striker for over twenty years and brought fifty three longbeards to the gun and bow with that striker and slate call. Suffice it to say it was a dandy. The oak striker on that particular call made the most perfect sound a turkey ever heard. I have tried other oak strikers, and none sounded as good or as sweet. That is why I carry several, sometimes close to a dozen different strikers on each hunt. Because you never know which sound is going to entice that gobbler to come investigate the calls. That being said; there seems to be one good old standard that appears to have a love hate relationship among the hunters who carry it along on hunts. That is the carbon striker. Admittedly, it took me some doing to start carrying one along. At first I just didn’t like the sound it made – then I began using it and learned how to use it properly and I have to admit, it is fast becoming my ‘go-to’ striker above all else. Besides being weather proof, whether it is on slate, glass, aluminum, beaded glass you name it, the carbon striker will produce some raspy yelps, sharp cuts and excellent purrs that seem to drive southern gobblers nuts.

While I am still becoming adjusted to the carbon striker, one thing is for sure, if you see me in the woods during April, you will have your choice of at least a half dozen to choose from, and on most day, many more than that, because one thing I have learned is that the striker matters more to the turkey than to the hunter.