If I could only take one call into the turkey woods with me it would be a pot and peg friction call. They produce all the vocalisation of a hen turkey realistically, in a range of volumes from whisper quiet to screeching loud, just by varying the pressure on the peg. This versatile call can handle most situations from soft finesse calling to a nearby tom to shock calling a vast woods with loud searching calls to get a gobbler to sing out.
A fine slate call with a hardwood pot and wooden striker produces clucks, yelps and purrs so realistic the call could sprout feathers and fly away. But my go to call in tough situations is the Heavy Metal glass and aluminum pot call with a carbon striker. To my ear it sounds too high and too screechy compared to a sweet sounding slate, but long beards like it. It brings them in when other calls don’t. Beauty is in the ear of the listener so I give ‘em what they like.
To get crisp, clear calls on a pot call don’t wear a glove on the peg hand. A glove deadens the sound by by cushioning the peg from the bones in your fingers. With your bare hand pin the peg with your thumb to the bony side of your finger joint rather than to the soft pad of your finger tip, as pictured above. This gives the sharp, crisp calls.
You can produce higher calls by taking a shorter grip on the peg and lower calls with a longer grip but always pin it tightly to the side of your finger with your thumb Of course, put your camo glove back on as soon as you you finish the calling sequence. Nothing spooks a tom like the flash of a white hand.
The sound from a pot call comes out the bottom of the pot so when you hold it flat the sound is directed down into lap or the ground. This is fine for working a nearby tom. You don’t want him to pinpoint your location before he is in range or he will hang up. You want him to keep coming and searching.
But if you are calling blind, searching a large area for a tom willing to gobble, hold the pot vertically to direct the sound straight out rather than down. This increases the range of the call and you can direct it to all points of the compass around you in search of a gobbler. Once you get a distant gobble and the toms starts coming toward you hold the call horizontally. This makes it seem like you are on the move and he better keep coming if he hopes to find you.
If he hangs up out of range and out of sight, you can hold the call vertically and direct the call away from him while calling quietly to make it seem like the gal he is interested in is leaving and he better get moving. Practice with your call in the vertical position so you will know how to do it when you need it.
IT’S ALL IN THE WRIST ACTION
When you move the striker across the pot surface, do it by flexing your wrist rather than by bending you fingers. Keep your fingers locked, not in a death grip, but in a rigid grip on the peg. This keeps the angle of the peg the same on the slate so it will produce a consistent sound every stroke. You will be able to call with confidence every time you put the peg to the call if you call with wrist action. But if you call by moving your fingers, the angle of the peg changes all the time and you won’t know what sound will come out of the call.
To get consistent calls you need to stabilize your peg hand, so rest it near the base of your little finger on the rim of the pot as pictured above. Experiment to find the exact spot on your hand to rest on the pot and the precise grip on the peg to produce realistic calls consistently, then practice it until muscle memory and your subconscious let you do it without thinking about it.
Always grip the pot by the rim only and orient it the same way in you hand each time. Do that by putting the label,or a mark on the call, at the top or whatever other location where the call makes the best sound. Then you will know what sound will come out the call every time it talks. Then the the long beards in your woods better look out.