By the end of my season, everything I own has been used hard, including my calls.
Dirt, spit, peanuts, little bits of snicker bars, weeds, and stuff I can’t identify get in my calls. Any of this can cause the calls to stick or squeak or otherwise stop operating well.
During the season I will frequently simply rinse my calls with running water. Usually this will solve my immediate problems.
But at the end of my season I want to do a little maintenance and get my calls returned to top form.
First separate the call barrel from the insert. Visually clear any trash. Next flush with hot water and a little dish soap. Using a scrub pad get the stubborn stuff off.
Flush the reeds gently lift the reed(s) and rinse them out. Run a dollar bill between double reeds to separate and clean.
Blow the excess water out of the insert by blowing backwards into the insert.
While you have your calls apart check the reeds for tears, splits, and fraying. Replace the reed(s) as needed. You can order replacement reeds from the company who made your call for not much. Also check the O-rings if they are torn or worn consider replacing them too. Most hardware stores have these.
If you decide to, or need to, separate the reed and tone board be sure to mark the placement of the pieces with a Sharpie pen. This will ensure you know how the pieces originally fit. Also mark on the tone channel. This will allow you know where the reed was before the call was dismantled.
Slight movements of the reed will impact the tone quality of your call. If it doesn’t sound right, experiment. If you can’t get it right remember most manufactures of the high end calls will retune your call for a modest fee. If it isn’t a high end call just keep playing with it and you will get it right.
After drying completely, rub some rainX on the reed and sound board. Rub the O rings too. In my experience rainX, the stuff that keeps the water off your windshield, is tops for keeping your call from sticking.
Cleaning your calls, like cleaning of your shotgun, might not be the most entertaining thing you will do. But cleaning your calls will help ensure that they are ready to do their job next time you call on them to bring in the birds you love.
Until I see you in the field, Be Safe, Be Good, and BE LUCKY~!