Frozen Calls

Author:  Richard Bogath is an NRA certified firearms instructor, certified hunter instructor, youth league pistol coach, professional hunting guide, published author, writer for several online publications, blogger, lecturer and proud dad.
December 17th, 2014

It’s night, mid-February and the moon-dogs are howling at each other. While you grit your teeth together to keep them from chattering, you get ready to start coaxing them in with a few distress calls.  CoyoteLight at the ready, you hit the “Send” button on the electronic call.


Positive that you turned it on, you hit the button again.


Pulling the glove off your hand, you change the remote to a different call, turn the volume way up, hit send and still, nothing happens.

Well it’s a good thing that you brought a mouth call with you, right?  You wince as you put your lips to that frozen piece of plastic/metal and give it a toot. All that comes out is a guttural noise that sounds more like a duck call than a cottontail in distress. So what happened?

You, my friend, have got frozen calls.

Learning the hard way a few years back, my education into different kinds of batteries was swift and decisive after placing my electronic call down flat in the snow on a night that was about 28 degrees.  Within ten minutes the $400 calling device was rendered useless by none other than frozen batteries. NiCad batteries, to be exact.  We tried wrapping them in hand and body warmers but no deal— the thing was out cold (no pun intended…well, maybe a little).

After a followup call to FoxPro and a quick lesson in my own ignorance, I learned that the only batteries to be used in electronic calls on cold nights are lithium Ion batteries. Without going into the science lesson as to why, suffice to say that it has to do with water content of the battery. No water-no freeze.

Your mouth call is a different story.  It freezes because of the little droplets of spit that collect in the call every time you blow into it drop in temperature as they come into contact with the cold inner workings of the call.  Layer upon layer of frozen fug builds up in there until the point where the reeds fuse together and present a sound that was altered and not intended, or produce no sound at all.

The frozen mouth call solution? Keep it on a lanyard around your neck and down inside your clothes until you are ready to use it.  Your body heat will keep it above freezing and usable. Just be sure to place it back against your skin when not using it (yes, it will be really cold. Sorry).

A few quick adjustments to what you use and how you use them will keep your calls from the effects of the frozen environment of winter night predator hunting.

Happy Howling.

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