Paul Meek has made thousands of turkey calls in his life, including about every style there is to try. It’s what he does for a living.
Even with that experience, he knows every call has to be fined tuned.
“My hands touch wood every day to fashion different kinds of calls,” said Meek, who operates Paul Meek Outdoors in Raliegh. “After a while, you get a feel for the grain of the wood, how the pieces fit together, and then how the finished product should sound.
“Most often I have to spend some time fine tuning my wooden box calls.”
To that end, it’s good to have the working knowledge of the box call involved.
“First off, try out any call in the shop before you buy it,” Meek said, adding that is always possible in his shop. “If you come to my shop, I’ll show you a variety of handmade box calls and show you how to use them. (visit paulmeek.com for his complete line of calls).
“A box call is made of several different pieces of the same or different woods mixed. The assembly has to be precise with all the edges and seams fitting tight with no gaps. The top paddle has to be securely attached either with an adjustment screw or a more permanent screw. The paddle should be plenty large enough to overlap the top edges of the sides of the box.”
According to Meek, the bottom of the paddle and the top edges of the sides should be well chalked with a softer, more powdery chalk, not the old hard blackboard type chalk.
“The paddle should rest on the side tops with a good fitting seal,” he said. “No gaps are best. Draw the paddle across the box to test the call. Make soft hen yelps, then some loud clucks. If the paddle fit to the top is too loose, then tighten down the adjustment screw a little bit at a time. Go slow to make changes.
“Make more calls until the sounds are what you think will fool a gobbler. The final test will come in the woods.”