It’s the middle of August and archery elk season is only a few weeks away for all of us out West. It’s time to start rummaging through the pack and getting prepped for the season.
One thing I like to do is take an inventory on all of my calls. The first calls I look at are all my diaphragms. They have a tendency to get pretty beat up through the rigors of elk season. Depending on where you store them, whether it be a hot garage or shop through the summer, extreme heat can destroy the latex. I recommend you store extra diaphragms in the crisper of your refrigerator; this will prolong the life of the latex.
If you are not a diaphragm user, and you use external bugles, such as our Mac Daddy or Rowdy Bugle, you might want to pull these apart and check the latex reed for wear. I always recommend carrying spare reeds in your pack in case one gets wore out during your hunt.
High-pitched estrus-type cow calls are a must for the elk hunter. This is why I always carry high-pitched, mylar-reeded calls like the Boss Cow or the Fighting Cow Call. We hunters have a tendency to be hard on our equipment, especially as the season wears on and most times we have neglected these calls from the prior season. So, I recommend removing the reed from these calls and thoroughly cleaning the tone board and reed prior to each hunting season as dirt and debris will cause any mylar-reeded call to hang up.
This is just doing a little preventative maintenance. Simply run the call and reeds under water and dry them off thoroughly with a paper towel. A quick note to reassembling a mylar reed is to check the memory of the reed by putting the top and bottom in between your index finger and thumb, and simply squishing down or depressing the reed. It will have a built-in memory; the reed will always bend the same way, no matter how you are holding it. You want to make sure that the bend faces away from the tone board. This will also prevent any sticking issues.
Hopefully doing some of this preventative maintenance will keep you from having a disaster in the heat of the moment.
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