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Bobby Woods call case

The Answer Kee

Bobby Woods and Jason Isabelle counted on special-purpose calls to take home trophies during the 2010 Grand Nationals. Woodhaven's aluminum Kee Disc was an important key to their successes. It produces a wide range of volume, including high-shrill kee-kee whistles, as well as clear, adolescent yelps of a young turkey. The call was specifically created for serious competition callers.

"I'll admit that I was leery of the Kee Disc when I saw it," said Woods, the 2010 Grand National Friction Champ. "It took some getting used to, and now I think this call produces the best kee kee sound anyone can make on a friction call. But remember, it's not an ordinary turkey call. Most people can't just pick it up and run it. It's finicky. You'll need to practice." — J.R.

Inside the call case

Friction call contest competitors carry an arsenal of calls on stage

Winners like Bobby Woods (Friction Call Division champion) and Jason Isabelle (third runner up) arm themselves with jammed-pack cases of pot calls and strikers when they take the stage for the NWTF/Wild Turkey Bourbon Grand National Calling Championship. This armory of choices allows callers to create specific vocalizations the judges ask them to make.

"We post the required calls at 5 p.m., the evening before the competition," said Tammy Condrey, who organizes the Grand Nationals on behalf of the NWTF. "The callers use that time to match their calls against the acoustics of the room and their comfort in using a certain call to make each vocalization."

Here are the call-striker combos these two top competitors carried with them on stage when the barrage of bright lights and crowds glare back, and the pressure is on.

Isabelle's Best

Jason Isabelle from Pittsford, Vt., brought four friction calls and four strikers with him on stage in 2010, when he ultimately placed as a top five finisher.

During the final round of competition, contestants had to perform five wild turkey vocalizations — cluck and purr, kee kee run, cutting, assembly yelp and the yelps of an excited hen.

"Woodhaven's Cluck 'n Purr Pot and Kee Disc were natural choices for some of those vocalizations," said Isabelle. "For cutting, I used the combination of Woodhaven's Hickory Striker with a Legend Slate. For the yelping, I used Woodhaven's Vision Crystal and the laminated Strike 3 Oak Flared Tip Striker."

Wood's Wonders

Bobby Woods, from Dante, Va., selected three friction calls and three or four strikers to bring on stage. But his Ol' Tom Treasure Chest turkey call case waited for him backstage, storing 12 to 14 calls and more than 50 strikers.

To secure the championship, Woods counted on his Woodhaven Cherry Crystal call. "I yelp, fly-down cackle and cutt with that call," he said. "It's my No. 1, all-around, go-to turkey call."

Woods also carried a Woodhaven Cluck-N-Purr Pot to the stage. "This call produces a subtle, throaty purr with clear and natural low-pitched clucks."

His third call was Woodhavens' Kee Disc.

Your competitive side

"I encourage anyone that has ever had an interest in competing in turkey calling contests to give it a shot. Calling contests are great fun," said Jason Isabelle, Pro Staff Sting Team Member for Woodhaven Custom Calls. "Even if you don't intend on competing, contests are free for anyone to watch and listen, which will help you improve your calling abilities."

"The kee kee is a pleading or begging sound," said Woods. "With the Kee Disc, I can start off with a low, soft whistle and build up volume with every stroke until I reach that high-pitch, urgent whistle at the end of the calling sequence."

Woods uses a Woodhaven Hickory striker for yelps, a cedar striker to cluck and purr, Woodhaven's Mike's Striker to kee kee, and the laminated Striker 3 Birch Flared-Tip Striker for cackles.

"I bring more than 50 strikers with me to a competition, because your striker can be the deal maker or deal breaker," said Woods. "Fifty percent of a turkey call's sound is from the call itself, and the other 50 percent is the striker. Whichever turkey vocalizations are selected for the round will determine which strikers I will use." — J.J. Reich

WANT MORE? > Check out the 2011 NWTF/Wild Turkey Bourbon Grand National Calling Championships at the 35th annual NWTF Convention and Sports Show, Feb. 16 - 20, in Nashville, Tenn. Learn more at www.nwtf.org/special_events.