NAHC Member Johnston Johnston won back-to-back NWTF North Carolina State Friction Call Championships using an aluminum call. Impressed? Well, let’s meet Johnston and find out why he prefers aluminum and ceramic surfaces to the more traditional glass and slate versions.
“I used my Knight & Hale Silver Queen to win the NWTF North Carolina State Friction Call Championship in 2007, and the new Silver Hammer to win in 2008. These calls produce clear yelps, yet can break right into some nasty, raspy yelps without missing a beat,” Johnston reports. “This range of turkey vocalizations makes this call great for competition-style calling. An aluminum calling surface produces a completely different sound than glass or slate calls. The texture of the call is microscopically rougher and harder than that of a glass or slate calls. This causes more vibration in the striker a higher frequency with different tones and pitch.”
Not only does Johnston use less traditional friction calls, many of his fellow competitors do, too. Slate pot-and-peg turkey calls will remain a popular choice among the wild turkey hunters heading into the woods this spring. However, over the last decade, pot-and-peg calls that use an alternative top material are gaining more and more popularity.
This is especially true for aluminum and ceramic pot-and-peg turkey calls. For 2008, many major call manufacturers have introduced new ceramic or aluminum calls to the market, like Knight & Hale’s Silver Hammer or Yella Hammer ceramic calls. Turkey hunters and competition callers alike are scooping them up and using these effective, higher-frequency calls in their efforts to bag birds or win trophies.
“I’d say about 50 percent of contest callers on the competition circuit today use aluminum calls,” says the 2-time defending champ. “I also use my aluminum call for hunting too.”
This simple rule of hunting almost always applies: If it works, don’t fix it. Aluminum calls work for Johnston because he’s comfortable with them and understands how to use them properly. “It does an awesome job cutting and fly-down cackling, and it easily rolls into very seductive clucks and purrs,” Johnston says. “The higher frequencies of the turkey sounds seem to grab the attention of gobblers at longer distances. But I also use a Knight & Hale’s Yella Hammer ceramic turkey call, because of its excellent range in volume. Both calls produce excellent, raw and realistic turkey sounds.”
Aluminum turkey calls definitely have some advantages; however, the calls do tend to require more special care to keep them running right.
Calling Tips from a Champion
Johnston has a few tips for keeping your aluminum call healthy. “Never touch the calling surfaces of any pot-and-peg call,” he says. “It will transfer oils off your skin onto the call and ruin its ability to make realistic turkey sounds. This rule of thumb is especially crucial for aluminum calls because their surface is harder to condition. If you do touch an aluminum call’s surface, clean and condition it with a clean cloth, a small dose of rubbing alcohol and a piece of scouring pad, such as Scotch-Brite.”
Johnston is also a part of the Cole Outdoor Productions pro staff. This is a start-up, video production company that founded by Trent Cole, DE for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. Learn more about this new outdoor-pursuits company by visiting “Web Links” here at HuntingClub.com.
We thank Johnston for his insight on aluminum and ceramic friction calls. Learn more about Knight & Hales in “Hammer” Series of turkey calls by visiting “Web Links” here at HuntingClub.com.