Episode 14 of the Slayer Podcast: How to read ducks
The duck hunters at Slayer Calls are the ones you might see out hunting every day of duck season. During a recent morning hunt, they limited out long before a nearby group of hunters. The difference? How they read the ducks.
The type of land, weather, time of year and even specific flock of ducks impacts the way serious duck hunters build blinds, set up their decoy spread and call in ducks. These longtime duck hunters discuss the ways they read ducks and make adjustments, including what calls they choose and how they blow them.
In this episode of The Slayer Hunting Podcast, Slayer’s Tommy Sessions talks with Slayer Calls CEO Bill Ayer, Slayer PRO Tanner Hardy and duck hunter Collin Cooper. For these guys, every day of duck season is another opportunity to wake up early and do the thing they love.
Duck calling and hunting tips:
Slayer calls mentioned in this episode:
The Full Story
Listen to Episode 13 of the Slayer Podcast or read the full transcription below:
Bill Ayer (00:00:00):
Hey all. Welcome to the Slayer Podcast. I’m your host Bill Ayer, owner of Slayer Duck Calls, a company founded on family heritage, unrivaled quality craftsmanship and an uncontrollable obsession for hunting. Let’s get to it.
Tommy Sessions (00:00:14):
Hey, guys. Tommy Sessions with Slayer Calls here. We are at the owner, Bill Ayer’s home and in his shop. This is kind of like the Duck Cave. I don’t know. Every time I come here I think of Duck Camp or Elk Camp, something like that, but we have here on my right, Bill Ayer, the owner of Slayer Calls, Tanner Hardy, and Collin Cooper. Collin’s kind of tagged along, but he’s got a lot of duck knowledge and he may be the entertainment for the show. So, watch out. You never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. Today, we are going to be talking about… We’re switching it up. We’re in waterfowl season. Peak time is about to hit Idaho, so we’re going to be talking about a lot of duck calling, duck calling techniques, duck calls, maybe throw in a little honker, goose calls, stuff like that.
So anyways, I’m going to turn it over to Tanner and we’re going to talk about duck calling. I actually have some questions for Tanner on… We got all these calls right here in front of us and it’s like, if you were to walk up here and look at these calls, what are they? What is it? What do you like? What is going on in front of you? There’s, what is that, seven calls, eight calls, with a goose call, but seven duck calls out there and every one of them does something different and is made out of something different. So, Tanner, what one out of that would you pick and why?
Tanner Hardy (00:01:30):
If I had to just pick one to put on my lanyard and blow for a whole season, it would definitely be one of our 100% acrylic open bore calls. Tons of range in it. It’s got a big exhaust system on it so you can get a lot of air through it and make as much noise as you need to make, but it’s still a super controllable call. You can get quiet. You can get gritty and dirty with it. You can do anything you want to do really. There’s a place and a purpose for every one of these calls, but if I had to pick one I’d be going with that, probably the double reed open bore.
Tommy Sessions (00:02:01):
Let’s hear it.
Tanner Hardy (00:02:01):
I mean, there’s tons of range in that call. You can be quiet enough that we can talk over it or you can be loud enough that everybody’s plugging their ears, you know what I mean? That would be my go-to call for the year, but you can’t beat a lot of the other ones either. The single reed in that’s a great call. It just depends on what you want to blow or what you prefer. This wood Bocote call is going to be softer, but if you want a finishing call, I mean, everybody’s got more than one call on their lanyard. If you hunt ducks, you’ve bought hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of calls and spent way too much money on this stuff.
You’ve always got more than one on your lanyard and everything’s got a purpose, and I do agree with that. I’ll pick this call up in a cornfield. Once I’ve already got birds working me and looking at me and circling around, I’ll just be soft and quiet on them the whole time. I mean, sometimes you need birds that want to be yelled at until their feet are touching the corn, but I really think there’s a purpose for everything there and that’s why I don’t have to choose just one. I wear a lot of calls.
Tommy Sessions (00:03:19):
Tanner, how about you? No, I mean, not Tanner. Collin.
Honestly, I haven’t blown too many of Slayer’s calls. I have this one on my lanyard.
Tommy Sessions (00:03:30):
And what’s that? Because we’re part on video and then most of this going to be audio.
What is this one called?
Tanner Hardy (00:03:36):
You don’t have that one. You have the Drake Slayer.
Okay. Drake Slayer but it’s yellow. Anyways, that one I was blowing this morning out on the lake and it worked fantastic. The ducks this morning wanted a ton of calling. So, we did not stop. When we first saw the ducks, we were blowing until they were finishing on the water, and so the Drake Slayer, is this one a Drake Slayer?
Tanner Hardy (00:04:02):
That’s a Ranger Open Bore there.
Ranger Open Bore. Okey dokey. Well anyways, the Drake Slayer did exactly what I needed it to this morning and real loud, real loud, obnoxious, and that’s exactly what they were looking for.
Tommy Sessions (00:04:16):
So, the lake you guys are hunting, just for a little back information for our listeners and viewers is they are hunting… This morning was a big open water. It’s not necessarily a little puddle or anything like that, so it’s-
Tanner Hardy (00:04:29):
No, far from a pond.
Tommy Sessions (00:04:30):
Yeah, yeah it’s… I don’t even know, probably-
Tanner Hardy (00:04:34):
All public land, you’re competing with everybody else calling on the lake. I mean, this morning, for instance, we had guys maybe 150 yards from us. About the same spread we had and same amount of mojos. I mean it was identical. They’re 150 yards from us. We shot limits probably hours before them. We were walking past them on our way out and we were all wearing Slayer calls on our lanyard.
Bill Ayer (00:05:01):
And it’s weird because sometimes they don’t want a lot of calling.
Tanner Hardy (00:05:03):
Bill Ayer (00:05:04):
You know, sometimes they want something soft and subtle.
Tanner Hardy (00:05:06):
Bill Ayer (00:05:06):
But today actually, we were out there yesterday, we shot a three man yesterday, and even yesterday they wanted a lot of calling, and I’m the type of guy where I tend to be a little timid and hold off and I thought we were over calling yesterday, and then the times we pulled back those birds left us and the more we got on them, the more they came. I was like, oh, okay, well let’s hammer them.
Tanner Hardy (00:05:27):
And it’s hard to say. There’s obviously still techniques and ways to call these birds when you’re calling at them, constantly. You can’t just sit there and blare your duck call straight in their face the entire time they’re coming. Rules of the trade, when they’re over your head, you’re quiet. You don’t want them looking straight down on you through your blind and seeing you, but-
Bill Ayer (00:05:50):
Soon as soon as they turn.
Tanner Hardy (00:05:52):
If they show you a wing tip or their butt at all, you’re railing on it, and then right when they face up to you, you’re still calling the whole time, you’re just quiet. A little feeder chuckle, little bounce and then maybe just a super soft subtle Cajun hen. If they were looking at me, I’m doing this the whole time still, and then if they turn, you’re railing on it.
It kind of seemed like this morning, also, even if they’re getting close, if we stop for a second thinking, oh we got them, they’re on their way in. They’re our ducks, and if we all just were silent for a minute, they would just lose interest and turn out of their way for a second and we’d have to start hammering on it again.
Tanner Hardy (00:06:34):
But we’ve had hunts where-
Bill Ayer (00:06:36):
You do that, and you hammer them.
Tanner Hardy (00:06:38):
Yeah, you quack it, you quack at them and get their attention and then you shut up. They come over and look at you and they full commit. If you blow at them the whole time, they’re out of there. It’s just… reading ducks is one of the biggest thing to being a successful waterfowler.
Tommy Sessions (00:06:53):
So, when you guys are talking about being where you’re at and call shy ducks or ducks that want to be called out more, in your opinion, is it because the people that are a hundred yards down from you actually calling less? Or worse callers? Or is it just because of where you’re at is you have to be at that location? Maybe if you were a mile to the… Well I guess it wouldn’t be a mile but whatever, to the west or east or wherever the river’s at. Are you calling different at that point or is it because you are like where… You know, does that make sense?
Tanner Hardy (00:07:28):
I get what you’re saying. Sorry, I’m not trying to cut you off. I think that in this instance, and you read everything different, reading a book, when you’re sitting out there. They’re telling you what they need to see, but in this instance, I think that it wouldn’t have made a difference if we were 500 yards away and they hadn’t seen their decoys or heard them calling or if we were 30 yards away, they wanted to be called out the entire time. Those guys weren’t loud on their calls. They were probably in the better spot.
Bill Ayer (00:08:01):
That’s what I was going to say, ’cause when we were walking out, we had to walk by them to get to the trail to get out of there, and they had some birds working. So, we ditched into the trees real quick so they can work those birds, and the volume they were putting out was probably one quarter of what this ranger is putting out. You know, you and Cody were blowing the rangers-
Tanner Hardy (00:08:22):
Bill Ayer (00:08:22):
And it was probably five times louder and I was like, holy cow, like we’re 50 yards from these guys and I could barely hear them, but 50 yards from our blind, you’re like still trying to plug your ear.
Tanner Hardy (00:08:34):
Bill Ayer (00:08:35):
And so the volume that these guys calls were putting out, and I’m not just saying it’s Slayer, just what you guys were doing with these calls was a lot more than what they were doing, and I don’t think those birds were hearing the wind was blowing. It’s big open water.
Tanner Hardy (00:08:49):
Bill Ayer (00:08:49):
I don’t think the Birds were even hearing them.
Tanner Hardy (00:08:51):
Lots of space for that.
They just weren’t them reading them. They probably just… They’ve had a bad experience with blowing out ducks before and so they’re just being super timid and not realizing that they wanted more calling this morning.
Tanner Hardy (00:09:03):
They could have shot more ducks.
Tanner Hardy (00:09:06):
Oh yeah. I mean really, I think they were probably in the better spot this morning.
Bill Ayer (00:09:09):
Oh yeah, for sure.
Tanner Hardy (00:09:10):
The birds would always come by and look at them first because that’s where they wanted to be.
Bill Ayer (00:09:15):
They had a big open hole.
Tanner Hardy (00:09:16):
We scouted it. He scouted it actually a couple days before that and all the birds were in that spot.
They were right there.
Tanner Hardy (00:09:23):
In public land hunting, you snooze, you lose. You know? Some of those guys are willing to be out there at two in the morning and I guess kudos to them. They get the spot, because I was not out there that early, but moved down the bank a little bit. At least try to be respectful. If they’re working birds or whatever, leave them alone, but when we had the same flock coming straight in and they could decide, go right to us, go left to those guys, we would rip on them and every time they would come to us.
Bill Ayer (00:09:50):
Yeah, it was a good two mornings. We had three man yesterday, four man today, so.
Tanner Hardy (00:09:57):
Bill Ayer (00:09:57):
Today was a little slower though. Yesterday was a real, it was a banger, man.
Tanner Hardy (00:10:01):
You what’s funny? It felt slower, but-
Yeah, it felt much slower.
Tanner Hardy (00:10:06):
We shot a full nother limit than we did the day before and we only ended maybe 30 minutes after-
Tanner Hardy (00:10:12):
But the birds were completely different today.
Bill Ayer (00:10:14):
Yeah. They were just working different, yeah.
I shot my prize hooded merganser drake. So, I’m pretty happy.
Bill Ayer (00:10:22):
That was a treat.
Bill Ayer (00:10:22):
Dude, you coddled that thing for an hour. You were walking around.
Taking my pretty pictures.
Bill Ayer (00:10:27):
You’re like petting it, taking pictures.
Oh, I just made sure the feathers were all in order.
Tanner Hardy (00:10:31):
He held it for a good 10 minutes. Walked down the bank.
Tanner Hardy (00:10:35):
I mean he’s out of the blind.
I tried to find a tree to set it on, nice little branch to take a picture, but-
Tanner Hardy (00:10:41):
Yeah, me and Bill are still in there calling ducks and shooting his stuff and Colton could give a care less. I mean out there getting picks of his.
I was excited.
Tommy Sessions (00:10:48):
See, I don’t understand that. I don’t ever… People have prized ducks, but I don’t know about a diver.
There aren’t many hooded mergansers in the area, so I was awfully excited. That’s the only diver that I’m going to care about though. The other ones, they can fly out.
Tanner Hardy (00:11:05):
I have heard… I’ve been hunting with Colton since, geez. How long have we been hunting together
Since you were 10 and I was…
Tanner Hardy (00:11:14):
Tanner Hardy (00:11:15):
Yeah. So, we’ve been running around together for a while and I’ve never seen him shoot divers. It’s a slow day. Especially when we were young kids, divers come by, oh I’m shooting every time. We’ve got six birds in the boys. I don’t know much about duck hunting. I’m killing any duck that gives me the opportunity. Back then, Colton never would. So, I had to rib him a little bit about that today because I watched him coming in and he’s like, oh, duck’s right here on the left, and then I was like, hey divers. He’s like, yeah, I know. Stands up and goes, hooded mer. Pulls up and shoots and I’m like, you’ve told me multiple times you will not waste a shell on a diver. This is different, man.
That’s the only one.
Tanner Hardy (00:11:57):
This is different. I’m like-
It’s the only one.
Tommy Sessions (00:11:58):
Well that’s not the only one because a redheads is considered a diver, correct?
Tanner Hardy (00:12:05):
Okay, okay, okay.
Tommy Sessions (00:12:05):
And then you’ve got, okay,
Tommy Sessions (00:12:05):
Tanner Hardy (00:12:05):
It goes on and on.
Tommy Sessions (00:12:07):
So, did you call that hood merganser in? Did you claim it?
I shot it but I-
Tommy Sessions (00:12:08):
But you didn’t call it in?
No, well they don’t respond to calls. They just mob on in, they-
Tommy Sessions (00:12:08):
I’m just busting you up.
They’re just cruising
Tommy Sessions (00:12:08):
Sitting there with a mallard call. I caught that hooded merganser with a mallard call.
Tanner Hardy (00:12:24):
We have been known to tease a guy or two for calling at mergansers.
If you spot ducks and you, oh there they are. Pull out your call. Well everybody else is noticing that they are divers or mergansers and you start calling, you’re going to get made fun of.
Tommy Sessions (00:12:39):
Yeah, that’s just part of it, you know?
Tanner Hardy (00:12:39):
It’s all in good fun anyway.
Tommy Sessions (00:12:39):
Yeah, it’s supposed to happen that way. Yeah.
Bill Ayer (00:12:44):
I’ve got a buddy who’s a golden eye guy, he sees a golden eye and he’s like, oh my god, there’s golden eye, I got to shoot it.
Tanner Hardy (00:12:50):
Those barrows are pretty cool. I can get behind killing at some barrows golden eye.
Their rarity makes it cooler.
Tanner Hardy (00:12:57):
They don’t look, I mean if you add a quarter inch of a white dot on your cheek, that’s the only difference between them. I don’t know why they have any more pizzazz to them than a common golden eye, but I think they’re a little cooler just because they’re rare.
Tommy Sessions (00:13:13):
Oh, guys love hunting divers on the Snake River.
Tanner Hardy (00:13:16):
Tommy Sessions (00:13:16):
Set up down river see-
Well that’s only when the puddle ducks are being hard to find.
Tommy Sessions (00:13:20):
But I will say-
Tanner Hardy (00:13:20):
Now there’s some full blown diver committed guys.
Tommy Sessions (00:13:23):
Decoys, middle of the river.
Tanner Hardy (00:13:25):
The whole deal.
Tommy Sessions (00:13:26):
On long lines, sit there and clip them on and they’ll have a hundred yards in each string and-
Tanner Hardy (00:13:32):
Tommy Sessions (00:13:32):
But I will say, have you ever been on an actual diver hunt?
Tanner Hardy (00:13:36):
Tommy Sessions (00:13:37):
Set up strictly for diver hunts?
Tanner Hardy (00:13:38):
Tommy Sessions (00:13:39):
When you decoy golden eye’s-
Tanner Hardy (00:13:40):
I’ve killed a four man limit.
Tommy Sessions (00:13:41):
It is so much fun. Those things are coming in at 60 miles an hour and-
Tanner Hardy (00:13:44):
Skip on the water.
Tommy Sessions (00:13:47):
You shoot one and they’re skipping across and you’re just like, all right, this is fun.
Tanner Hardy (00:13:49):
They do decoy like nothing else. If they want in, nothing’s going to stop them from coming in. They can be a hundred yards high and drop 80 yards of elevation and it seems like two seconds, and then they are not slowing down. They hit the water.
They’re just fold in their wings and drop.
Tanner Hardy (00:14:08):
But shooting a diver at top speed is one thing, a feet. They’re a pretty tough bird and they’re moving
Bill Ayer (00:14:17):
We shot a video last year with RTL. I don’t know if you saw that. You shot one diver and it hit and skipped like four times.
Tanner Hardy (00:14:23):
Oh yeah. Whoa.
Bill Ayer (00:14:24):
And it came up probably this high the first time, and it’s like pump, pump, pump, pump, pump.
Tommy Sessions (00:14:29):
Bill Ayer (00:14:29):
Tanner Hardy (00:14:30):
And I’m not quite to the extent of Colton, I’ll shoot a diver every once in a while. If it looks like a good opportunity and it’s moving fast, I do get a good kick out of watching one of those skip across some water.
I’ll save my steal for the next hunt. When the puddle ducks are more plentiful.
Tommy Sessions (00:14:45):
You’re so picky.
Tanner Hardy (00:14:46):
I take it out there to shoot man. I’m right if I’m hunting, I’m fully planning on shooting the shells I brought. I’m out there to have a good time, but I will say, going from setting up strictly for divers, that’s fun every once in a while, but that’s not my style. I want to watch birds work. I want to call at ’em and know that I’ve done something. I mean, I guess you do something, you set your decoys upright or whatever for divers, but there’s a lot more that goes into killing puddle ducks, and that’s what I like doing.
Bill Ayer (00:15:16):
And that’s something like this morning when we set up, we had a crosswind. We’re hunting a big, big water. So, we couldn’t set up to where we had the wind to our back. We had a crosswind and we set up, we put a J hook out and hoping the birds that would come in. We put the spinners out and I think we changed our setup what three or four different times? The birds just weren’t working right, working right… And I think we finally got it right at the end.
Tanner Hardy (00:15:41):
It’s subtle things too.
Bill Ayer (00:15:43):
Tanner Hardy (00:15:44):
Yeah, you know? You can just move two of your mojos or your spinners, whatever… You can move them 15 yards and it can totally change the approach of a flock of birds. It’s just trial and error. There’s so many things that go into it. I mean I’ve probably had more air than trial. I’ve killed my fair share of ducks now, but-
Tommy Sessions (00:16:07):
Who’s the guy that changes the couple decoys every time a bird comes in?
Bill Ayer (00:16:11):
Tanner Hardy (00:16:11):
That’s Colton. He’s the tinker.
Tommy Sessions (00:16:14):
I was going to say there’s always that one guy out there that-
I can’t just stand still on the blind.
Tanner Hardy (00:16:16):
This is the guy, man. We were talking about that all morning.
Bill Ayer (00:16:20):
I’m like… And it’s funny because every time he’d leave the blind, a six pack or an eight pack would come in and just we’re like, Colton, get out here, go do something.
Tommy Sessions (00:16:28):
Bill Ayer (00:16:31):
But no, he was cutting branches like brushing us up and then he’s out there moving decoys.
Rebuilding the blind.
Tanner Hardy (00:16:36):
Every time, one little thing… You know, it could have just been the bird, it could have been something we’d done. Maybe somebody looked at it, the dog moved wrong, it caught anything or it just wasn’t that interested. It wanted to come over and look at us. Anytime a bird didn’t finish in our face, Colton’s grabbing a branch. He’s moving two decoys over here. He twists the mojo out.
You never know.
Tanner Hardy (00:16:59):
Spin you know, but you don’t… And I don’t know if it helps or not, and obviously when you see something going wrong and you adjust your spread and you make the difference, but-
Bill Ayer (00:17:09):
Tanner Hardy (00:17:10):
You just got to let him tinker. It’s in his blood. We had-
Bill Ayer (00:17:12):
There’s always one of them. Those birds would bank, they’d come up wind, they’d bank right into the spinners and then come right overhead to us and-
Tanner Hardy (00:17:19):
Yeah. If they weren’t landing, they were coming right over our faces, and it was a-
Bill Ayer (00:17:23):
Tanner Hardy (00:17:24):
Bill Ayer (00:17:25):
Yeah, because they-
Tanner Hardy (00:17:26):
If we could hit them, they were dying.
Bill Ayer (00:17:27):
They wouldn’t have the right approach. They’d hit the spinners and kind of flare a little bit and come right over us to get a better approach, and that’s when we’d bang ’em.
Yeah, and then towards the end of the hunt, the branches behind us of our blind kept falling over the top so we couldn’t shoot up, and I was kind of frustrated.
Tanner Hardy (00:17:42):
A slight damper on a couple of the-
You look up and you got branches stabbing you in the eyes.
Bill Ayer (00:17:47):
Colton thought he almost lost an eye today.
Tanner Hardy (00:17:50):
I almost lost an eye this morning.
Bill Ayer (00:17:50):
He’s like, is it still there? Is it-
Tommy Sessions (00:17:51):
Is it still there.
Can you look for me?
Tanner Hardy (00:17:54):
But what’s really funny is the difference in hide in two days.
Bill Ayer (00:17:59):
Tanner Hardy (00:18:00):
The first day it was a super simple blind, and don’t get me wrong, hide is one of the biggest parts of your hunt, but you’re hunting public land. We get to the spot we want to hunt. There’s guys in there we had no idea of because they parked their truck 10,000 miles away. So, you didn’t even know that there was going to be people there, and so then we’re already off track and behind, we’re moving over and building a new blind and finding a new spot and birds started flying. So, we threw together what we had done and we got our decoys out and we started hunting and they were working perfect. They were finishing in our faces, we were killing them at 20 yards, and then today, same spot wind, which you would think is going to-
Bill Ayer (00:18:44):
Yeah, yesterday’s zero wind.
Tanner Hardy (00:18:45):
Obviously direct your birds. I mean everybody that’s a waterfowler wishes for some wind. We had wind we’re like, oh this is going to be money. Cakewalk, same blind, same get-up, and they were not into it.
Bill Ayer (00:19:00):
They were flaring to.
Tanner Hardy (00:19:01):
They were flaring on us and we were hidden but it wasn’t great, and so cut a bunch of more branches, built a real blind. Take the time. If you realize… That’s a tip I would give. Don’t just try to sit there. You might scrape a couple birds out, but if you know can change something to make it better, take the time and do it because
You can believe it on your head all every time.
Bill Ayer (00:19:24):
Have a tinker-
Tommy Sessions (00:19:24):
Bill Ayer (00:19:25):
In the blind, ’cause you’re like, yeah, they’re flaring man, and as soon as we said that-
I got my saw, go find some branches.
Tanner Hardy (00:19:31):
He grabbed his hand saw and he was gone and all of a sudden he is bring back, not just, he brought back trees.
Bill Ayer (00:19:36):
He brought back trees. Yeah.
Tanner Hardy (00:19:37):
He’s like four trees and we’re like boom, boom, boom.
Yeah, it was pretty awesome.
Tommy Sessions (00:19:42):
Oh, I’ll say I’ve had hunts where it’s the same type of thing out in the field, shooting hunkers, whatever… And it’s just like you’re on the X, you got three, 400 birds sitting in that field the day before and there’s a ton of traffic, and so it’s either you’re going to get the birds that are coming back, you’re going to get the traffic, whatever it is, and you’re sitting there and all it’s just like what is going on? And our hide sucks, and we’ve had days where I remember specifically one, Jesse and I are sitting out there in this field and we got our honkers out there and they nothing was working, and I’m like, dude, this is stupid. We got 200 birds sitting in a field that’s like 300 yards away. It’s never going to work. We got to go push those out, and I was like, then we got to change.
We walked those birds out of that field once. Went back to our setup that we had. Same thing happened. They circled us and then they went and landed in this other winter wheat field and I was like, it’s not working, we got to move, and he’s like, no, I’m going to stay here, and I was like, I’m out. So, I grabbed four decoys and I put them in a bag real quick, walked my happy butt across the field and set up on this other side of the field in the corner in a spot where you wouldn’t think, and just got into the best hide that I could. I shot my four birds like that, and I went over to him and I was like, I’m ready to go home, let’s go… And he had one bird and he’s like, dude, I hate you. What are you doing?
Tanner Hardy (00:20:56):
Then you got to make the change though. If you know… When you know that’s the problem.
Tanner Hardy (00:21:02):
You’re either… You can be okay with going out and drinking coffee in a blind or you can make the change and you can kill birds, so.
Bill Ayer (00:21:09):
And I’m going to admit that’s probably one of my downfalls is I’m a creature of habit and I’m kind of… I can get lazy and I’m kind of an old dude now. I’ve got a blue beard, not everything-
Tommy Sessions (00:21:19):
I’m getting there.
Bill Ayer (00:21:20):
And so I’ll be like, ah, they’re flaring on that. Let’s see what happens next time.
Tommy Sessions (00:21:24):
Maybe those birds just didn’t want in here so they’re going to do a next time.
Bill Ayer (00:21:29):
And eventually they’ll be like, okay, I got to get my ass up and do something here.
Tanner Hardy (00:21:33):
Yeah, yeah. You’ve already spent all that money on everything that you put in. You get up, you’ve already spent all that time. Might as well go just a little bit farther to make things happen.
Tommy Sessions (00:21:43):
Tanner Hardy (00:21:43):
You’ll sure… You will sure be happy in the end if you take the extra time and just do it. That’s one of the biggest tips I would say there is to duck hunting. Put your stuff out, do what you think is going to be the best possible way to hunt ducks that day and watch them, and if it doesn’t work, change. Do the next move.
Well it’s like bass fishing. You can’t just throw the same lure all day long and wonder why you’re not catching anything. You’re constantly switching things up until you find the thing that works. It’s the same with duck hunting.
Tommy Sessions (00:22:17):
Yeah. I will say, when you set up your spread too, a good thing that I’ve noticed is when you set up, wait till light after… Or set up in the dark and then wait till light and then look at your spread and usually you’re like, what is the deal? I thought it was a hundred yards out in the field and it’s 10 yards off the ditch bank or whatever, and you’re like, what? I felt like I packed those as a miles.
Tanner Hardy (00:22:39):
Bill Ayer (00:22:39):
Tommy Sessions (00:22:40):
It’s weird but it happens every time. So, typically sun comes up and I’m setting up honker decoys in a field and I’ll look at it and then I’ll have to push my spread another 15 yards out into the field because I was too close-
A lot with geese.
Bill Ayer (00:22:55):
That happened to us yesterday because we walked up on the gentleman that were in the spot we wanted to hunt, and-
PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:23:04]
Bill Ayer (00:23:02):
Were in the spot we wanted to hunt. And I happened to know one of the guys that was in the blind, so that was cool because we were like, “Oh yeah, we talked,” and we’re like, “We’re going to go down here, a couple 100 yards.” And they’re like, “That’s fine. We’ll work birds together.”
Tanner Hardy (00:23:14):
Which is super rare and super nice on public land.
Bill Ayer (00:23:17):
On public land. And it was awesome because if they were working birds, we left them alone. We were working birds, they left them alone. And so we’re going in the dark and we’re walking and we’re walking and we’re walking, and all of a sudden the sun comes up, and we’re like, “shit we’re only 120, 150 yards away from them.” We wanted to be 300 yards away, but in the dark, it felt like it was a lot further.
Tommy Sessions (00:23:42):
No doubt. There was a couple of things there that I would’ve done different if there was light and you could have seen, but it’s so hard. You’re dragging sleds and decoys and walking through mud and grass and you feel like you’ve put in plenty enough work to be 300 or 400 yards away from those guys. And then you get all set up. And they didn’t have any headlamps or anything on so you couldn’t look back and judge distance, it was just dark. And we thought, “Hey, we’ve got our ways.” Kudos to them though. They were good guys. They let us work birds and if they had anything, we let them work birds, which is super rare on public land, but …
Tanner Hardy (00:24:18):
They did good, too.
Bill Ayer (00:24:19):
And we all…
Tanner Hardy (00:24:19):
Yeah, they shot limits and we shot limits.. Nobody was mad at each other and that’s the way to hunt public land. But you can’t expect that every time.
Tommy Sessions (00:24:29):
No, no. Usually that’s the gentleman’s agreement or something and it usually gets broken by one party or another for some reason.
Bill Ayer (00:24:37):
It takes one person to busting the…
Tommy Sessions (00:24:40):
And then you’re like, “Ah, screw that guy.” That was not the agreement and then you’re out. But Well Bill, what about the… I did a podcast with Matt. Oh man, it was probably three weeks ago or so. They call the wild instructional series, the app that we have. I want you to kind of elaborate on that, I mean the backbone of all of it and stuff.
Bill Ayer (00:25:05):
So Call the Wild… It’s funny because we sat, Tanner and I have done shows for what, four or five years now? Yeah. We did our first show about five years ago here in Idaho when…
Tanner Hardy (00:25:16):
Hell of a turnout.
Bill Ayer (00:25:18):
When Slayer is more of a hobby than a business. But I can’t tell you how many people have come and said, “Hey, do you guys got anything to help teach us to call or anything like that.” And usually Tanner pulls them to the side and gets some, just to be able to do a quack. And we’re like, “Man, there’s such a need for this.” And we’re talking about public land and how many times have we had somebody set up next to us.
Tanner Hardy (00:25:41):
But needed to learn how to blow a call.
Bill Ayer (00:25:44):
That person needs to learn how to [inaudible 00:25:45] I feel sorry for him. I want him to kill some ducks. I mean they’re putting in the same work we are, but they’re horrible. So put something together that’s super simple, that’s very specific, that somebody can go to and learn how to blow a duck call. And we’ve also learned at shows that people are very embarrassed to do it in public. So give them something that they can do online and do it in their own privacy so they’re not embarrassing themselves or feel embarrassed. I mean we all started there. We all sounded terrible.
Tanner Hardy (00:26:16):
Everybody starts somewhere. You try to tell them that, but it don’t make much of a difference when there’s 5,000 of your best friends walking around behind you in a big expo.
Bill Ayer (00:26:24):
Exactly. And then so, they’re like, “Oh no, no, I’m good. I don’t want to try, I don’t want to learn.” So we put together the Call The Wild so the people can do it in their privacy. They can learn and go be successful in the woods or on the ponds or lakes or whatever. But what we’ve put out so far is the beginner series and then Matt and then Tanner will do the intermediate and the advanced series. So we’ll continue to add to it. We’ll do the beginners, learn how to quack, learn how to do a three note sequence and then keep progressing and progressing and progressing until you’re out there. You’re sounding like a professional and you’re killing ducks.
Tommy is WWW ASSWWZASWZ…..zzz.was.2..2.wz\/aaa/aassa Sessions (00:27:01):
What if somebody’s taking that course… This came to my mind and they’re out there just like we’re talking and as I understand it, this will come in the advanced or the next step or the next phase of Call The Wild. But if they’re out there and they’re like, “Man, these birds just aren’t working,” I want to know, kind of give a scenario or whatever. Is there something they can send a chat and be like, “Guys, I was out here. This is a scenario that happened today, the birds were… It should have been great, whatever.” And will we ever be able to answer all the questions? Probably not because of… Or maybe that’s something in the intermediate or in the next phase that you guys talk about with… Because Matt said there’s a working bird section or whatever like
Bill Ayer (00:27:49):
Yeah, I mean we’re going to go, it’s not only going to be about calling, it’s going to be about decoy setup, it’s going to be about problem solving, all that kind of stuff. So we’re going to move into gear, what gear works, what gear doesn’t work. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on gear that I’ve just thrown away or just does not work. Waiters that leak. Waiters that don’t hold up.
Tommy Sessions (00:28:09):
Oh you mean buddy waiters?
Bill Ayer (00:28:10):
Yeah, exactly. So, you know what I mean? We’re going to go into a lot of… Just about every aspect of hunting ducks, geese to elk, all that. But as far as answering questions, I’m not sure if our technology has that ability to, but I think it’s a great idea. I mean you could always email info and slayers if you want to. I talked to so many people on the phone. I love it.
Tommy Sessions (00:28:36):
I actually had a guy track me down through personal Facebook and then got my number and asked me some questions on the Honker call. And so we’re not afraid to definitely pick up the phone or to respond to an email. I know that for sure.
Tanner Hardy (00:28:52):
I think kind of to touch back on your question there, we are planning on doing some live seminars where you can ask questions. So if you were out the week before and you’ve been watching the series and trying to follow it to the best that you think you are or whatever, and it just wasn’t working, that’s the time on one of those live deals where you can talk to one of us and we can see what we thought maybe would’ve changed it. You’ll never know because you’re past the point. But you can kind of apply that maybe to your next hunt if you’re in that situation and sure. See how it helps you.
Tommy Sessions (00:29:24):
Sure. No, I think actually that brings it, I think we should do that on a podcast. And get it around again and get people in to call in or whatever and ask the questions. And then Collin can answer all of them and we can just stay here and…
Tanner Hardy (00:29:38):
The best of his knowledge for sure.
Bill Ayer (00:29:43):
But I think the backbone of Slayer is to get people out there hunting as much as you’re like, “Ah, I don’t want people hunting next to me on public lander, this or that.” But we want people to go out there and enjoy themselves, be successful and to be out there hunting. I mean it’s such a great sport. And so that’s kind of what we’re about. So Call The Wild really is get people out there and then the more… It’s taking a little kid fishing, you take them out five times, they don’t catch a fish. They’re like, “That sucks.” You know what I mean? And then they’re no longer a fisherman, but you take a somebody out and they start killing ducks. They’re like, “Dude, this is badass. Let’s go again. Right?” We went to the lake yesterday. Killed a limited ducks on, I called Colton, they were texting I’m like, “Collin, we going tomorrow?” text Tanner, “Are you going tomorrow?” None of them. They weren’t answering me. It’s seven o’clock.
Tanner Hardy (00:30:33):
He was the little kid.
Tommy Sessions (00:30:34):
Bill Ayer (00:30:35):
I’m 51 years old. I’m like, “Hey guys, are we going?” Because I don’t have a sled. And I’m like, “Dude, I’ll go by myself if I got a sled” and I’m like, “Hey, are we going?” And Tanner, it was 10:30 at night, finally text me back. Yeah, same time, same place and Collin’s like, “Yeah, we’re going, bring some more spinners.” And at 9:30 and I was like, “Oh, we’re going woo.”
Well, we had to wait for a text from our boss saying if we’re working or not.
Bill Ayer (00:31:04):
Well, when you said that, I was like, [inaudible 00:31:06]
Tanner Hardy (00:31:07):
We work a great job for Waterfowl Hunting, but we’re kind of wrapping up right now. We’re at the tail end of still not sure if we’re working the next day or not. It depends on… Concrete season’s wrapping up and it’s about full bore hunting season, but Bill was pretty sure he needed concrete season to be wrapped up yesterday.
Tommy Sessions (00:31:28):
Typically when the birds are here it needs to be wrapped up.
Bill Ayer (00:31:33):
So we just want people to be successful and to freaking want to just go out and do it again and again and again and again. Right. So that’s kind of the deal there.
Keep killing stuff and keep buying stuff.
Tommy Sessions (00:31:47):
But that’s funny though, you say that keep killing stuff, keep buying stuff. But actually, the motto of a lot of companies probably are like, and I don’t know this for sure, so don’t quote me, don’t send hate mail and say you don’t know how we operate or whatever. But Slayer calls is not the company that says, we want you to just buy, buy, buy, buy. Yeah. It’s all about the experience this.
Tanner Hardy (00:32:07):
We want you to buy and have the same duck call for 10 years because it was that good of a duck call.
Tommy Sessions (00:32:12):
And it’s the experience. And that’s why you talk about the Call The Wild instructional and then they have the experience to be successful, to put in the time to have those opportunities. And then when those opportunities present themselves, then they have the knowledge and the experience to be able to actually capitalize off of those. Where a lot of places are like, “Well, whatever. It’s just calling the rack or a shirt on the rack or a whatever and merchandise.” So anyways, just something interesting that I’ve noticed theme with Slayer over the time of being around them.
Bill Ayer (00:32:50):
I just want people to be successful, to be honest with you. It’s, I want people to go enjoy the sport and have the same passion. I’m freaking 51 years old and I still, this morning I was up a half hour before my alarm went off and I’m like couldn’t wait to get out of bed and go hunting.
Tanner Hardy (00:33:06):
That’s funny. I forgot to set an alarm last night and it was 3:48 in the morning. I wake up in a panic roll over and check my phone and I’m like, “Holy hell, I’ve got another hour before I need to get up.” But I knew I forgotten when I woke up I was like, “Dang, I let the guys down, I am late.” Then I roll over and check my phone and I’m like, “Holy cow, we got plenty of time.”
Bill Ayer (00:33:30):
For me it’s like Christmas morning. I get 50 days of Christmas morning during duck season. I get 20 days of Christmas morning during elk season. It’s like, as a kid you’re just like, you can’t go to sleep ’cause the presents are going to be there, you know the whole day is coming. That is hunting for me. Yeah. And I’m like, “I hope it never ends.”
Tanner Hardy (00:33:50):
And that’s what you’re trying to share is that feeling right there.
Bill Ayer (00:33:56):
You get out there and you’re like, the world goes away and you’re just concentrating on ducks. You’re with good buddies,
Tanner Hardy (00:34:00):
It’s you and your couple buddies and the ducks, you’re working.
Bill Ayer (00:34:02):
You listen to Collin and do weird things.
Tanner Hardy (00:34:04):
And whatever you’re going to eat when you get done.
Tommy Sessions (00:34:06):
Yeah. That’s always the topic.
Tanner Hardy (00:34:10):
9:30 rolls around and it’s like, “Hey boys, check your fried steak here, an hour or so.”
Bill Ayer (00:34:13):
That’s all we talked about yesterday. Today was chicken steak.
Where’s the closest breakfast restaurant?
Tommy Sessions (00:34:18):
So, something that you said in one of our podcasts last time, Bill, was that when you get going on a grind and you get burned out and then you talk about being a kid on Christmas morning in 50 days. And it’s funny because it goes with anything elk hunting, waterfowl hunting
Bill Ayer (00:34:38):
That happened to me this year. Elk hunting
Tommy Sessions (00:34:41):
And then I salmon fish and stuff like that. And then fishing is slow or waterfowl hunting’s slow. And it’s like, “Oh man, I’m three birds today.” And then you’re kind of like, “Maybe I’ll take the day off tomorrow” and then say seven o’clock rolls around and you’re like, “All right, it’s time, let’s go again.” But it takes you two hours to just kind of…
Bill Ayer (00:35:00):
You say that. And I’ll tell you what gets me through those times. And I talk to guys, I grew up in California and I know guys who surf. I know guys who have other passions. And when you catch that perfect wave and you ride that wave and you spend hours and hours out there, you’re reading the buoys, you’re looking at the angle of the waves and this certain area is going to have the perfect wave. And you go out there and it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. But you catch that one perfect wave and that’s what drives you back the 50 other times. And yesterday we went out there, the birds were just… Every five minutes we had birds working and we had birds finishing in our decoys.
They were not picky.
Bill Ayer (00:35:40):
And they weren’t picky and we’re just bang, bang, bang, bang. And then today we went out there and it was not a ton of birds. We had to work at it and we still did well today, but tomorrow we can go out and shoot three birds. But that… Yesterday, the thought of that perfect wave or that perfect hunt drives you back, drives you back, drives you back.
Tommy Sessions (00:35:58):
Well yeah, you remember the shoots that you shoot. I think, one that pops in my mind was 42 hunkers in three hours. And it was the same type of deal where you guys went out, somebody was on the edge. Well somebody was on a field right behind us. We joined up with them, we’re like, “Hey.” And they had a little kid and we’re like, “We’ll kill these honkers. There’s like 1500 geese in this field.” And we just smashed them and then get all these other hunts that are in between it and then you smash them again. But you don’t remember the ones that were in between it. I don’t remember the hunts really, that I went out and I hunted and shot two.
Tanner Hardy (00:36:30):
It’s kind of… Yeah, I mean we had an experience was that last year nothing to do with duck hunting, but same thing to do with a grind and pushing yourself and working hard and not remembering the bad times and thinking how fun it was. But in the moment you were going, man, this sucks. We’re working our tails off, we were doing a coyote hunting competition.
Tanner Hardy (00:36:52):
It was a full, was that a 48-hour competition? It was two hours of sleep. We got in 48 hours and it’ll grind as hard as we can. We’ll go out for fun, we can kill 10 coyotes. But when you’re playing for keeps, we kill seven coyotes and 48 hours, two hours of sleep, hardly eating, grinding it out, rolling all night long, all day. And it was, we’re driving to the check station five hours away from us, we’re dog tired about falling asleep and running off the road.
And we’re like, “Dude, this sucks. Why would we do… We Paid money to enter this and do this. This is retarded. It doesn’t make sense.”
Bill Ayer (00:37:31):
A little bit of added pressure.
Tanner Hardy (00:37:32):
And then two weeks later you’re like, “Remember when we killed that one dog? That was so fun. I can’t believe that was awesome.” That was a great shot at this moment. And you just look back at the good times. And so that’s what keeps me going, really, is thinking. I’ve had plenty of times where they were not the good times you look back at, but if you don’t keep going and put yourself out there, you’re not going to get the good times.
Bill Ayer (00:37:55):
Yeah, when you and I went to North Dakota.
Tanner Hardy (00:37:58):
Oh man, that was a grind.
Bill Ayer (00:38:00):
We grinded, we drove 15 hours there from here, Idaho And then
Tanner Hardy (00:38:04):
It turned into 18 actually with the snow and wind.
Bill Ayer (00:38:08):
And then we put on another 2,500 miles while we were there looking for birds. And the only thing I think about is the good hunts we had, the good shoots. I don’t think about the grind.
Tanner Hardy (00:38:16):
They were few and far between, but…
Bill Ayer (00:38:19):
But when we had the good shoots, it was like… And that’s all I think about. And I’m like, “We got to go back.”
Tommy Sessions (00:38:27):
I know that happened to us in Canada. I don’t know, it was like 15 years ago. But same thing. Yeah. I don’t remember the days that were crap or whatever, but…
Tanner Hardy (00:38:32):
But that’s how it ought to be. That’s good.
And the people you meet on those journeys, man, it’s like…
Tanner Hardy (00:38:38):
We did meet some characters.
The places we went to that we never would’ve went to. We probably had the best walleye we’ve ever had in our life, we met some of the strangest people.
Tanner Hardy (00:38:46):
No lead weights in it.
Bill Ayer (00:38:46):
Tanner Hardy (00:38:51):
Just clean, pure walleye I hope
Bill Ayer (00:38:54):
We’ve met some of the strangest people we’ve ever met in our life.
Tanner Hardy (00:38:58):
I once, didn’t even know it was a thing. I once got hot sauce stolen from me by the clerk of a gas station somewhere in a little town in North Dakota because two hot sauces was one too many for a full size burrito. The things that happened on adventure like that. Oh yeah. I set them up on the counter and she grabs one and puts it in her sweatshirt pocket. And I’m like, “Can I have that back?” And she’s like, “Do you really need two?” I’ve driving hours and hours. But yeah, I think I need two, I’m paying you for a burrito. It’s just random stuff that you think about that is a highlight in a trip like that.
Bill Ayer (00:39:38):
You know, just laugh about. Yeah.
Tommy Sessions (00:39:43):
Those are stories that you remember forever. And I don’t know, every time we get on a podcast we talk about it. Those things come back to my mind and you’re like, “Man, those are the best things about hunting.” Is the little things that come, the hunts, it’s not necessarily, “oh, we killed how many ever this day or whatever.” It’s usually the camaraderie, the things that happen on trips. I mean, I can tell stories, upon story, upon story of road trips of hunting and yeah, they’re all…
Bill Ayer (00:40:15):
Yeah. So you asked the question in the beginning was talk about Call The Wild and that’s what call the wild’s about. Yeah, it’s about the stories. It’s about the journey. It’s about the memories that you make. And it all starts with being successful. And that’s what we’re trying to help people be is learn how to call, learn how to set up your decoys, learn how to work birds, learn how to read birds and be successful and make memories
Tommy Sessions (00:40:41):
Well, I don’t think we can elaborate on any more than that. That pretty much sums it up right there. We have something new that just hit the shelves. Well, no, not even hit the shelves yet. Hitting. And we just did a video shoot on it today, the pearly gates, which is a cutdown, all acrylic and cut downs are kind of a breed of their own. I don’t know how to explain them. I don’t know how to really elaborate on it too much because I’m not a huge cut down person. We’re kind of a little far to the west from the Arkansas boys, but they are extremely popular, extremely useful.
Bill Ayer (00:41:23):
I grew up on the west, so I’m like cut down whatever I’m sticking with the J frame and I’ll do my J frame thing. And the market right now, people really want the cut down and I didn’t see the hype in it. And so I had one kid, he’s a staffer for us, and he lives in Arkansas. He’s like, “Bill, I’m telling you, if you stand next to a cut down, you’re not going to like it. It’s not going to sound good. It’s going to be so loud. It’s just going to be, it doesn’t even sound like a duck.” And I’m like, “Ah, I don’t get it.” And so he’s like, “Listen to this.” So he had 10 buddies in the timber and he got about 300 yards away and sent me a sound file and holy cow, it sounded like there was 300 ducks sitting in there.
And it sounded so ducky and so realistic. I was like, “Okay, now I know what you’re talking about.” So at that point, that’s when I went to the drawing board and started to design a cut down call. And I’ve been working about two years on it. And we came out with a double O, which is kind of a hybrid cut down. And it’s good to start, you start to learn the habits and how to work your air, how to open your throat and not ground into it and get that good quack or that slap to it. But it’s not a true cut down kind of the start of going there. And so this here, the pearly gates is a hundred percent cut down. Want to let these dogs out real quick? CJ
Tommy Sessions (00:42:54):
Dogs must be seeing some birds or something outside in the yard. So the first thing that I notice on the cut down compared to a J frame, like our Drake slayer is the cut…
Tanner Hardy (00:43:08):
The spit that came out of it when he pulls out.
Tommy Sessions (00:43:09):
It really holds well in that J frame, but the reed is about, I don’t know, two thirds the size of a standard duck called J frame in width. And then it’s probably about another quarter of an inch longer, but with a, I don’t know what you’d call the ears.
Bill Ayer (00:43:29):
Big dog ears big.
Tommy Sessions (00:43:31):
Yeah, big dog ears.
Bill Ayer (00:43:33):
You can call it dog dagger, you can call it bullet shaped. But it definitely, definitely shaped different. It’s also a.. It’s point 14 versus 0.10
Tommy Sessions (00:43:44):
That’s the thickness of the reed.
Bill Ayer (00:43:47):
Yeah. So goose reed is point 14, so you’re going to thicker reed, thinner reed, and then a different bullet shape at the end. But there’s a lot of stuff going on there with the tone channel. There’s, with the rise in the tone board, there’s a lot of different things going on there.
Tommy Sessions (00:44:01):
So in a J frame, the tone board is a lot more rounded in the bottom, typically like a round bid or whatever. And it,
Bill Ayer (00:44:11):
And then you get a keyhole type.
Tommy Sessions (00:44:13):
And then in this one it’s just a square notch. And you can definitely hear it. It sounds just super sharp. See if Tanner can give us little sound file on that because I can’t blow a J frames.
Tanner Hardy (00:44:27):
I can’t blow a cut down. Our cutdown guy just left us, right? Yeah, we’ve had some family stuff to take care of and had to get out of here before we started our podcast. But…
Tommy Sessions (00:44:36):
Bear with him because I can almost promise you that if anybody out there that’s blowing a cut down or if you’re going to want to blow a cutdown, you’re going to soon experience it. But you know that it’s a different call that it’s going to stick ultimately at some point in time you’re going to stick it, it’s not a main street call.
Tanner Hardy (00:44:53):
You got to give me some grace here.
Bill Ayer (00:44:54):
Yeah. He’s going to stick and watch. Ready?
Tanner Hardy (00:44:56):
Yeah, thanks. Why can’t you just tell me to demonstrate some good J frames here?
Tommy Sessions (00:45:02):
Everybody likes a little challenge.
Tanner Hardy (00:45:14):
So yeah, I stuck it three times at the beginning of quacks, but it’s completely different from blowing a J frame. It’s a sharp, sharp, toned down edge and you build pressure up in it and then it slaps the reed up and down. It’s a super sharp, fast quack. Super loud. And it’s for guys that blow cut downs.
Yeah, The first day I’ve blown a cut down down and I cannot figure it out.
Bill Ayer (00:45:42):
It’s an effective call. I’m not going to…
Tanner Hardy (00:45:45):
I’m out here in I Idaho, we blow J frames. We’re hunting corn fields and big open water in the timber, or we’re hunting rivers. We have one lake around here that really, that is the only open water we hunt. We’re hunting rivers in cornfield, so a J frame is our bread and butter and I’ve never.
PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:46:04]
Tanner Hardy (00:46:03):
Cornfield. So, J frame is our bread and butter. And I’ve never really spent time on a cutdown, which clearly, when you’re going to listen to this, you’ll think, “Well, maybe you need to spend a little more time on a cutdown.”
Bill Ayer (00:46:12):
Cody used it this morning and-
Tommy Sessions (00:46:15):
Oh yeah, yeah.
Bill Ayer (00:46:15):
Yeah. He pulled out the pearly gates this morning and I was surprised because we had some birds that I was like… We were all calling on.
Tommy Sessions (00:46:24):
Way out there.
Bill Ayer (00:46:24):
Way out there. And I was like… And we were hitting them, hitting them, hitting… Nothing. And he hit that pearly gates and it was, it was about what a flock like 25. They were like… I was like, “Well, it works.” Maybe I should learn-
Tanner Hardy (00:46:36):
It works good. Only problem with public land is we were working 23 of those 25. And two went over to our friends a hundred yards away and they shot at the two right as we had 25. I mean they were 50 yards away setting their feet getting ready to drop in. We’re like, Tanner-
Bill Ayer (00:46:52):
Tanner dropped two cotton tops.
Tanner Hardy (00:46:54):
Tommy Sessions (00:46:54):
Tanner Hardy (00:46:54):
Tommy Sessions (00:46:57):
Not picky. Doesn’t have to be all green, huh?
Tanner Hardy (00:46:59):
No sir. I mean if you’re out there just to shoot all green and it’s for the pictures, then you’re probably not duck hunting for the right reasons.
Bill Ayer (00:47:07):
Tanner Hardy (00:47:08):
I mean, don’t get me wrong,
Bill Ayer (00:47:09):
I like pretty pictures. I like pretty pictures.
Tanner Hardy (00:47:12):
I’ve had my fair share of shooting only drakes and making it look cool and I love it. It’s super fun. But hunting big water like that and mixed bags are fun to me. If I’m in a cornfield, I want to shoot green heads. If I’m hunting big water, I’m completely content with killing widgin, gadwall… Whatever we can decoy, you work the bird and you get it to do what you want and face up and finish on your spread, then I’m going to kill it. Your goal is completed to me as a caller and I want to see my dog work.
Especially when it’s time for a chicken fried steak.
Tommy Sessions (00:47:49):
Yeah. You- [inaudible 00:47:50]
Tanner Hardy (00:47:49):
You only need four more birds.
Tommy Sessions (00:47:53):
That’s right. Four birds is a hood of [inaudible 00:47:55] is one of them. Get a chicken fried steak and you’re… Whatever. It’s all good. So, maybe you know this Tanner but called wild, is the J Frame going to be part of that or is that… On the most advanced techniques like season four?
Tanner Hardy (00:48:12):
Yeah, I think it’s going to be up to the guy that’s teaching that at that time. I’m not sure what Matt Carey, the guy that’s doing the beginner’s section right now is blowing. I would assume he’s blowing a double reed Drake Slayer or maybe this Suzy Slayer, I’m not sure. But I think that’s what he is blowing and that’s super good call to get you into it. When I’m doing it for the intermediate and advance, I’ll be blowing an open boar acrylic ranger just because you have a lot more range with it and when you’re trying to learn more advanced things, you’re going to want more range because you’re going to have to learn how to control your air and your pressures and what to do with your tongue to make the call, make this pitch and you’re going to need a call that’s going to provide a bigger range.
So for me, I’ll be blowing our open boar. I think right now in the beginner section, Matt Carey’s blowing our Drake Slayer, which is kind of our flagship, it’s what we started with. It’s a super good call. I’ve killed thousands of birds with it in the last five years and we’ve just came out with this, this season will be our first season running this open boar and I’m a couple hunts in and it sure has been killing birds.
Tommy Sessions (00:49:27):
Yeah. The open boar reminds me a lot of a main street call, a calling competition call. It’s super open on the barrel, on the exhaust port as where the-
Tanner Hardy (00:49:39):
Tommy Sessions (00:49:39):
Tanner Hardy (00:49:40):
It’s almost twice the sizes.
Tommy Sessions (00:49:43):
Yeah. For people listening. I mean, it’s like, I don’t know, you probably fit a gumball in the end of the open board. It’s gnarly. It’s huge. So it’s going to put out a lot of… It’s going to take more air but it’s going to put out a lot of volume with that air. So, it’s not going to be any wasted air necessarily coming out of it. But it’s just, you’re using that.
Tanner Hardy (00:50:03):
And that’s the nice thing about that open board is that, you can use it in a way that it takes a lot of air and you’ve got to put some soul into it, but that’s when you’re reaching out screaming at birds, you can blow that call with minimal air. It takes almost nothing to get a ducky sound out of it
Tommy Sessions (00:50:21):
Yeah, because this is… And that’s just open board double.
Tanner Hardy (00:50:23):
Tommy Sessions (00:50:34):
I mean it’s-
Tanner Hardy (00:50:34):
You’re putting nothing in that on the bottom end.
Tommy Sessions (00:50:37):
Yeah, no and super… You can get that super quiet down, working birds in close in a cornfield or something if they’re working low and you’re in a lay down line or you’re out of water. Yeah, definitely.
Tanner Hardy (00:50:46):
And that’s kind of what I’m hitting on with your variety of range in it. You can be super clear and crisp and loud. You can be medium volumed and really raspy if you’re in a cornfield and birds are a hundred yards away or 200 yards away. Or you can be super quiet and finish birds until they land in the field and you can keep blowing quiet while you have birds walking around and never push anything out. It’s a super versatile call.
Tommy Sessions (00:51:11):
Yeah. This is the ranger single reed. Yeah. I personally tried to stick that call right there. I’m not a big person to hail call, but I was just trying to stick it and I couldn’t personally put enough… Somebody out there’s going to be able to put enough air through it to stick it. But I couldn’t stick that call.
Tanner Hardy (00:51:39):
There’s some cut down boys out there that’ll say that that call can’t take air. But that’s because they-
Tommy Sessions (00:51:45):
They present air differently.
Bill Ayer (00:51:46):
Their lungs are huge.
Tanner Hardy (00:51:47):
Tommy Sessions (00:51:48):
Well, I don’t necessarily think that their lungs are huge. It’s how you present air.
Tanner Hardy (00:51:53):
It’s all in the way you present it.
Tommy Sessions (00:51:54):
Yeah. Matt and I talked about that on a podcast when we talked about Called The wild is, it’s how you present air and from where at in your body. You have belly air and you have chest air and-
Tanner Hardy (00:52:07):
And cut down boys bring air from every single part of the body out.
Bill Ayer (00:52:12):
All of it.
Tanner Hardy (00:52:14):
At least for me to even make kind of the right sound, it takes everything that I have.
Hearing Cody on this one. It sounds so good. I’m going to have to figure out how to blow it.
Tommy Sessions (00:52:23):
Yeah. So the double O cut down is the kind of, like I said, the introductory call of a cut down world. It’s not necessarily going to have that really hard slap to it and-
Tanner Hardy (00:52:37):
It’s not going to get that shot.
Tommy Sessions (00:52:38):
It’s going to sound a little bit more like a J frame, but it’s like an in-between a J frame and an actual cut down.
Tanner Hardy (00:52:44):
Yeah. I would say this is your middle ground. For me, I probably need to spend a little more time on this just to learn how to present air and you can blow this more like a J frame if you want to. But it’s also going to give you the opportunity to learn how to try to slap your read and to present that air the right way. And so it’s a super good call, especially if you’re getting into it. I’ll be taking one home tonight on this podcast just to figure out how-
Tommy Sessions (00:53:09):
Tanner Hardy (00:53:12):
Oh Bill don’t mind. He got to have me making good sounds out there. You still kind of get choppy on it. Obviously I don’t present the air guys that are really good on a cut down. My home is with a J frame, but it’s a super good blowing call. It’s easy, it’s super affordable if you’re looking to get into blowing a cutdown, this is a great one to start with.
Tommy Sessions (00:53:48):
So what is the double O J frame… Or I’m sorry, not J frame, the double O cut down. What is that going to set you back?
Bill Ayer (00:53:54):
That sets you back 89.
Tommy Sessions (00:53:56):
And then what is the pearl?
Bill Ayer (00:53:57):
The pearly gates we 135.
Tommy Sessions (00:53:58):
Okay. And so people listening and watching, pearly gates is an actual true full acrylic call.
Bill Ayer (00:54:05):
A hundred percent acrylic, a hundred percent cut down.
Tommy Sessions (00:54:08):
And then the double O is a poly carb call, which is… Both of them are going to last you forever. You’re not going to have… It’s not going to be a wood where it swells up or shrinks or anything like that. You can use it-
Bill Ayer (00:54:20):
What’s great about slayer, you had a problem with your call. You call us up and we help you out. Something’s not working, we replace it.
Tommy Sessions (00:54:27):
So that’s a good segue right there into what not to do because so what not to do with calls. We talk about wood, we talk about acrylic and everything I hear all the time is plastic and acrylic. And I always say it too, they’re going to last you forever. Well, they probably will, but just like a vehicle, a vehicle’s probably going to last you forever if you maintain it and you take care of it and you service it and you do what you’re supposed to do with it. So what’s service are on a call, what do you-
Bill Ayer (00:54:58):
We don’t have a ton of problems on the duck calls. The only issue is, guys will have it in their car and they’ll call it, people will blow for hours and hours and hours. The reeds do wear out. They wear-
Tanner Hardy (00:55:09):
Yeah, that’s a good-
Bill Ayer (00:55:10):
They will wear out, they get just flimsy. They lose their brittleness or the tension that they have or retain. So you do have to get new reeds and new… You might as well get new wedge too when you’re doing it. The biggest problem we have is people take in their goose cuts out.
Tommy Sessions (00:55:30):
Bill Ayer (00:55:31):
And goose cuts. I’m telling you it, there’s an art to it. You brought your goose call today and you took it apart, what? 20 times?
Tommy Sessions (00:55:40):
Bill Ayer (00:55:41):
Fiddle with it. Fiddle, but you know exactly what you’re doing, right?
Tommy Sessions (00:55:44):
Bill Ayer (00:55:44):
You know what’s going to change the pitch, it’s going to change the tone, it’s going to make it louder, quieter or deeper. But it is such hair adjustments and you have to know what you’re doing with that reed and where you’re sticking that wedge and how far you’re putting the wedge into it, into the call. And so people take those apart thinking they want to make it, “Oh, I want my call deeper, I want it to be louder.” And I get the call back and have to retune it.
Tommy Sessions (00:56:09):
So, kind of a tip, a little piece of advice that I will give somebody, and this is what I used to do and this is how I learned to tune Goose calls. If you take a sharpie and a fine point. And not a true sharpie, an actual fine point pen sharpie and where the wedge is at on your read, where it comes out factory, it’s tuned from slayer calls and you send… And then you’re like, “I want this to be just adjusted a little bit.” You take a colored sharpie or black whatever, just not white, because you’re drawing on the reed.
And you go right across that and you mark it, and then you can take a razor blade and you can make a little teeny sharp or like a notch in your [inaudible 00:56:54] guts.
Tanner Hardy (00:56:54):
Tommy Sessions (00:56:55):
In the wedge and in the tone board of that goose call. And that shows you back to basically factory settings. And then from there you can start to play with it a little bit. And if you ever come back and you’re like, “All right, I don’t have this. I got to go hunting tomorrow, I better get my goose call back into where it was because I can blow it and make some clucks and make some sounds.” And without getting a too goofed up.
Tanner Hardy (00:57:17):
Yeah. For sure.
Bill Ayer (00:57:18):
We purposely put a line where your wedge should be on the bottom right, but that doesn’t show you how far it seats into this acrylic. And it also doesn’t show you where the reed is on that bottom piece. So, by doing that sharpie you know where everything’s at.
Tanner Hardy (00:57:39):
That has to be one of the big not to-dos, I would say. Even with the duck calls, so many people watch a video or you used to watch Duck Dynasty and you see them in there cutting on reeds all the time and blowing a call. You can pull this reed out and you can cut a 32nd off of it and it ain’t going to blow.
Bill Ayer (00:58:00):
Tommy Sessions (00:58:00):
Tanner Hardy (00:58:01):
It’s such a minute.
Bill Ayer (00:58:02):
You can cut it. If you cut it 64th off of our read, it won’t blow.
Tanner Hardy (00:58:05):
Yeah. Yeah. It’s such a minute thing, amount of change that you’re going to put into one of these calls just to make it right for you. So, if you’re not comfortable with it and you don’t know how to tune a call, and you want to learn how, maybe buy one of the lower end ones that you’re not afraid of, reckon. If not, and you don’t know how to do it, send it in and we’re more than happy to help. We can tune it and shoot, we could probably get you on a phone call and tune it a little bit and try to get that pitch that you’re looking for, but you can’t be mad at… Can’t be mad at the maker when you pull it apart and start cutting on stuff.
Tommy Sessions (00:58:43):
Well, I don’t think I’ve ever tried to tune a duck call because personally I’ve never… Well, I’ve never tried. I’ve watched people do it hundreds and hundreds of times.
Tanner Hardy (00:58:54):
Probably watched us do it about-
Tommy Sessions (00:58:55):
Tanner Hardy (00:58:56):
15 or 20 times.
Tommy Sessions (00:58:57):
But I personally have never tried it, never sat down and done it. And so that’s something that I don’t even want to attempt because you use cork wedges, you use rubber wedges, you use different reeds with different cuts. You use one with the little, I don’t know, little knob on it when you use a double read. You use and it’s like… If you don’t know, you can.
Tanner Hardy (00:59:17):
You’re taking a risk of absolutely ruining the call. Yeah. Yeah. Unfortunately I can’t say the same about goose calls for me. I am not the goose caller for slayer, that’s Tommy over here. He’s incredible on a goose call. But you can pull that thing apart and put it back together and it’s going to clock every time, and you’re just looking for just the sound you want or the right pressure that you’re putting into it. And I can pull that thing apart and put it back together what I think is super close and I wanted a little different tone out of it. And you can’t even get it to break over. I’m like, “What am I doing here?” I don’t know how many times I’ve taken apart a goose call and put it back together just to get it back to where it was. And I was like, “Whew. All right, we’re leaving it. That’s somebody else’s job on that department.”
Tommy Sessions (01:00:01):
Well, that’s why I say make the lines and then it can go back to that.
Tanner Hardy (01:00:03):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean running around, going to all these shows and tuning calls now, I can tune a goose call to where you can get a good honk out of it, but I’m not making those fine adjustments to get just what I want out of my goose call. But my duck call, I can play with that thing for hours just doing the tiniest little thing and get it exactly to what I want. Maybe wiping my tone board once with a piece of sandpaper and rebuilding it, putting it back together and blowing it. Yeah.
Bill Ayer (01:00:32):
Biggest mistake people make on the duck call I think is putting the read in the wrong way.
Tanner Hardy (01:00:37):
Bill Ayer (01:00:39):
Well, that. Or every reed wants to bend a certain way and you’d be surprised, if you put it around upside down where it wants to bend down and not away from your tone board. It will… It’s a completely different call. And it’s such a simple thing and it’s not very intuitive. You think, “Oh, it’s a reed. It bends both ways.”
Tanner Hardy (01:01:00):
And it does. You can put one together that’s still going to quack, but you’re like, “Why does it sound so different?” Then maybe you try to hail on it and it sticks and squeaks and you’re like, “Oh Lord, I have messed this thing up.” But in all reality, you just need to check it, put the bin down and then it’s going to be the same call you had. If you haven’t adjusted anything else, it’s going to be the same.
Bill Ayer (01:01:21):
And I’ve had people help me put reeds together and I stopped that. The only person I trust to put duck calls together is Tanner and my nephew Garrett. That’s the only people I trust because, and I test every single board that comes through and I’ll be like… And I know right when I blew it that the reed’s upside down. And I’ll take it apart, I’ll flip it back. And I’m like, and it takes me more time to do that than just do it myself or have Tanner do it.
Tanner Hardy (01:01:45):
We’ve done that at shows. Maybe you’ve probably just had only me and you and Garrett doing it for the last year because a year and a half, two years ago we’ve been at shows. You’re pulling your calls out, you’re building them, you’re putting them on your display rack and stuff and-
Bill Ayer (01:02:02):
You blow everything out.
Tanner Hardy (01:02:03):
I blow every call that I’m going to set on the display rack because I’m not going to put something out there that isn’t right and you’ll put something together and it’s just not right. And within the first two quacks you’re like-
Bill Ayer (01:02:15):
It’s upside down.
Tanner Hardy (01:02:16):
That was not put together correctly. Pull it apart, upside down, put it back together, runs flawlessly and it’s little things you get ahead of yourself, you know might be having your niece or your wife or something helping you build calls. You’re ready for a show. You got to get everything together and one little thing like that can make the entire call ruined at that time.
Tanner Hardy (01:02:41):
Until you fix it.
For me, I’m always eating while I’m out hunting so that I’ve got to pull that call apart, pull the reeds out, pull food off that thing and then shove it back in quick.
Tanner Hardy (01:02:50):
If you’re not paying attention you might put your reed in upside down, and then it squeaks.
Pull it back apart. Those ducks, you missed them because the calls messed up.
Tommy Sessions (01:02:58):
I’ll tinker in. Got to mess with that call. He’s a tinker?
Tanner Hardy (01:03:00):
And an eater.
Tommy Sessions (01:03:01):
Tanner Hardy (01:03:02):
This guy’s got snacks, food, burritos. I felt like the king today. I had burritos delivered to me in the blind.
Bill Ayer (01:03:10):
And Cody came out late and he sent us a text like, “Hey, you guys want anything to eat?” Tanner, he may have or may not had a couple beers last night.
Tanner Hardy (01:03:17):
I’m not going to confirm nor deny this, but a burrito sounded extremely good. Yeah,
Tommy Sessions (01:03:23):
Tanner Hardy (01:03:24):
Yeah. Little bit of something to fill your stomach too.
Bill Ayer (01:03:26):
Poor burritos. He was a happy kid.
Tanner Hardy (01:03:27):
Yeah. Very happy. And we killed some ducks. Couldn’t have asked for a better morning. And then we promptly went and ate and chicken fried steaks.
Bill Ayer (01:03:35):
I can’t believe you guys ordered two orders of-
Two old chicken fried steaks.
Tanner Hardy (01:03:39):
We were hungry man. It was cold out there this morning.
And we finished our meals.
Bill Ayer (01:03:42):
I was so jealous because I had to get back and set up for this and they were like, “Okay, we’re going to go.” And I was like, all I can think and we were talking about chicken fried steak the whole time. I’m like, oh, I literally wanted to cry on my way home. I wanted-
Tommy Sessions (01:03:53):
That was the first thing he said.
Tanner Hardy (01:03:54):
We brought you one.
Tommy Sessions (01:03:55):
As they went to Cattleman’s for chicken fried steak this morning.
Tanner Hardy (01:03:59):
Tommy Sessions (01:04:00):
That was one of my favorite places to eat when I lived over there. Oh yeah.
Bill Ayer (01:04:04):
Tommy Sessions (01:04:05):
Collin. What not to do?
What not to do. While hunting in the blind?
Tommy Sessions (01:04:09):
Anything? Well, not anything. Not anything.
Tanner Hardy (01:04:12):
Solar stone. Duck. [inaudible 01:04:14].
Munching answers [inaudible 01:04:15].
Tommy Sessions (01:04:15):
So, it took me a while when I first started to learn how to keep my face down when the sun’s beating on you. And so, I’d always be turning up at the birds, sun’s right here. Ducks are right here. They can see everything. So, keep your face down and just try to be patient and not stare at the sun. That’s a good one to always avoid. Try not to shoot. Set your gun down and let birds come in before reloading.
Bill Ayer (01:04:52):
Tanner had a problem with that yesterday.
Tanner Hardy (01:04:54):
No, that was today.
Bill Ayer (01:04:55):
Tanner Hardy (01:04:55):
That was today.
Bill Ayer (01:04:57):
Oh dude, I didn’t have any ammo on my gun. Oh. I only had one in my gun.
Tanner Hardy (01:05:00):
It was only once, Bill. Don’t be acting like that now. Come on. Yeah. There was one time I shoot an over and under, I just switched. That’s my waterfowl gun now is your over and under. Two shells is good for me. I shoot that gun really good. I typically kill two birds with it and with my other ones I could miss three times pretty darn fast. So, I figure if I got two shells in there, make two shots count and do good. But for some reason, even though I’ve been shooting it for a full season and now a quarter of this season, I still struggle with breaking the barrel open every once in a while. I only shoot one shell. Sometimes I don’t remember to break it open and load that bottom barrel. So, I did get caught sleeping today that one time. We had a pretty good flock in, pulled up, smoked my first bird and then about snapped my trigger in half on the second bird as I watched it fly away. So, that’s a good call. Load your gun if you want to kill birds.
Another lesson we’ve learned time and time and again is to just go ahead and shoot what’s in the spread instead of-
Tanner Hardy (01:06:07):
You have three ducks in the spread. [inaudible 01:06:09] 75.
20 behind them. We’re going to finish because so many times these last two days, and almost every hunt you’re going to experience. The beginning of the flock comes in, they dip out and everything behind them decides to follow and never gives you a shot. And so then you’ve just missed plenty of opportunities by the end of the day that you’re kicking yourself.
Bill Ayer (01:06:29):
That’s a great point. Take what you have in your spread.
Tommy Sessions (01:06:32):
Yeah. But it doesn’t matter. It’s going to happen to you again tomorrow.
Tanner Hardy (01:06:35):
Tommy Sessions (01:06:35):
It’s going to happen to-
Tanner Hardy (01:06:36):
You’ll do it anyways. You’ll always-
Tommy Sessions (01:06:37):
Wait for the next one. You’ll always flock.
Worth than two in the bush.
Tanner Hardy (01:06:41):
Let those three land [inaudible 01:06:43].
Tommy Sessions (01:06:43):
Tanner Hardy (01:06:44):
Tommy Sessions (01:06:44):
That’s that’s said every single time. Let those ones land, the other ones will come in.
Tanner Hardy (01:06:49):
That goes back to your good times of hunting. It’s like, you only remember the good times. You remember that time when five ducks landed and then you had 75 do it perfect. One guy popped up and killed three green heads that jump off the ground and everybody rained birds out and you’re like, “That was sweet. We killed 12-“
Tommy Sessions (01:07:06):
It’ll happen every time.
Tanner Hardy (01:07:07):
That’s perfect. You only remember the good times. And then, so you’re like, “Okay, we’ll land these three and then we’ll kill those 15 that come in behind them.” And-
Tanner Hardy (01:07:16):
75% of the time you are probably not going to get any of them.
Tommy Sessions (01:07:20):
Usually it’s let those lands, look for bands. You got any bands under those feet? All right. Now you can shoot the ones coming in.
Tanner Hardy (01:07:26):
Tommy Sessions (01:07:27):
That’s how it usually-
Tanner Hardy (01:07:27):
Tommy Sessions (01:07:29):
They never worked. I never shot a band that way. I don’t know why we do it, but-
Tanner Hardy (01:07:33):
Sounds… It’s a good theory. But you don’t see, you’re in a cornfield or wheat field. You don’t see their legs hardly anyway. You’re like, “I caught a glimpse. Didn’t see any silver.”
Well, and always those shots you think, “Oh, that’s just a little bit too far. Take it. Take it anyways.” That’s the only band I shot last season.
Tommy Sessions (01:07:52):
I don’t know if I’d tell anybody that. That’s 100, 110. Oh, we’re good.
The only band I shot last year, this duck comes around on the left side. My buddy, Chad’s to the left, Tanner is on my right and Chad goes, “Oh, it’s too far.” I swing over said, “Smoked it.” And it was a band.
Tanner Hardy (01:08:09):
I have been known to take a few far shots.
It’s worth it.
Tanner Hardy (01:08:12):
In that situation I wanted to shoot, but it was on my far left and I would have to be right over Chad’s head. I pull up on it and I’m like, that’s probably not the best move. It might have a lasting effect on his hearing. And so I watched it leave and I’m like, “Chad, why didn’t you shoot that?” And we probably had a ten second… Nah, I mean five second conversation. And then we hear boom and the bird falls 70 yards out there. And I’m like, “Wow, Collin, that was a great shot.” “Oh, thanks.” Dilly dolly around. Dog goes and gets it, brings it back. I grab it and I’m like, “Hey. Banded bro.” He is like, “Nah. Yeah. What?” Rest of the day, 80 yards out there, Collin’s like, boom, boom, boom. Never shoots another far shot. But-
Hey, I made the one that counted.
Tommy Sessions (01:08:59):
Bill Ayer (01:08:59):
How many times have you said, “Okay, it’s time to wrap it up.” And you put your guns away.
PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [01:09:04]
Bill Ayer (01:09:03):
… Many times have you said, “Okay, it’s time to wrap it up.” And you put your guns away, you start walking out to-
Tanner Hardy (01:09:06):
Today, that happened twice.
Bill Ayer (01:09:07):
And all of a sudden like birds are, just getting skinny coming in. And so I’m putting my gun into my bag, getting everything put to put away and all of a sudden I hear boom. And I see a big old Drake just fallen. And for…
Tanner Hardy (01:09:21):
I was the only one in the blind spot…
Bill Ayer (01:09:22):
Colton, Colon’s, like waiting for all this to come, which is knowing that this is going to happen.
Tanner Hardy (01:09:26):
Bill Ayer (01:09:26):
And he’s like sitting there and takes his…
Tanner Hardy (01:09:29):
That was our 28th bird. Cause we shot a four man. Yeah, we were one shy and we’re like,
Tommy Sessions (01:09:34):
It was taking too long.
Tanner Hardy (01:09:35):
We guys, who’s counting one bird? It was a fun hunt. We’re all hungry. We got to get back here to set this up. We’re doing a podcast and a bunch of other stuff today. And me and Colton are really looking forward to our chicken fried steaks. We’re like, all right, let’s pack. Yeah, let’s pack it up. And everybody’s out of the blind. And here comes a juvenile Drake mallard right into the spread, 10 yards off the water. Colton smashes it finishes the limit off and then we go home. But it is funny that we had birds not working on us in the blind.
Bill Ayer (01:10:10):
And everybody’s standing now to the blind and inevitably the one comes in, you can go back to that, to North Dakota.
Oh yeah. Sorry to, not to cut you off, but…
Tanner Hardy (01:10:19):
Bill one, our first hunt there, we shoot our limits of specs, which in North Dakota is not a very liberal limit. It’s four specs and.
Tommy Sessions (01:10:30):
Tanner Hardy (01:10:30):
They have hundreds of thousands of specs laying around. Idaho, we might see a hundred thousand specs in the entire season if you’re looking for them. And we get to kill like 10 or 15,
Tommy Sessions (01:10:42):
Tanner Hardy (01:10:43):
And there you get to kill four and they are everywhere. But we shoot our limited specs and kill a few snow geese. And we were set up for honkers too. We’ve seen some honkers in that field, but they just had not come yet. And Bill’s like, well, I’m going to go walk back and get the van. All right, I’m laying our specs out to get a little picture. I hear a honk over my left shoulder and I turn and look,
Bill Ayer (01:11:08):
I heard the honk too as I’m like 200 yards from the blind. I’m like, oh, here we go. Four. Yeah,
Tanner Hardy (01:11:13):
Four geese perfectly locked up. I mean skating about as high as this bar top is off the corn, coming right to us. And I’m like, holy cow. I break opened my barrel slip two shells in. By the time I turn around, they’re 15 yards on me. I’m like, oh lord, clip my barrel shut. Turn. Boom, boom, shoot two, open it up, try to load more in. Because they were going so slow in the wind and I never got anymore. But we were all out of the blind setting up pictures
Bill Ayer (01:11:42):
Stuff laying around. Oh yeah,
Tanner Hardy (01:11:44):
Only two Canadians we shot that day were me with an unloaded gun. Stacking birds in front of a blind. Yep.
Tommy Sessions (01:11:51):
That’s how we were picking up one day. And I had the truck in the middle of the field and at this time we had an open bed trailer that we’d put all of our honker decoys in. We have all of our blinds stacked on top and we’re just BSing. We were a hundred percent picked up, not a single decoy in the field. And I hear a sole, a single honker and I’m like, I wonder if we could pull him in. And I took one decoy and I put it about five feet from the trailer on the back of it and I started calling and this thing locked up and dropped fast so fast. And it was like he had one little glimpse of the decoy dropped in and we were all just scrambling. We’re like, this will never work. I just, I’m wondering, nobody has a shotgun, nobody has anything.
We’re out in the trying to scramble to the back of the pickup. By the time you finally get a shotgun out, we’re running to the back of the trailer and you take one shot of this goose, done. And we’re like holy crap. We could have just…
Tanner Hardy (01:12:42):
Probably just came off a golf course.
Tommy Sessions (01:12:43):
Probably. They thought I was out there for golfing or something. We are the groundskeepers.
Tanner Hardy (01:12:48):
Tommy Sessions (01:12:48):
Oh it always happens. I don’t understand it. But we talked about the mechanics of a reed. What else is there on a reed, you talked about how you can put it in upside down, what the dog ears is. What does the dog ears the cuts make
Tanner Hardy (01:13:10):
In theory? It’s a pretty simple thing, the mechanics of a reed, I would say in theory. It’s until you get into it and start tweaking tiny things that you realize like
Bill Ayer (01:13:20):
The dog ears, right? That’s like how much air it’s going to take because that air is coming up on that soundboard and then doing this on that reed. So if you got deeper dog ears, it has less resistance. So realistic or it’s taking less air to raise that reed that.
Tommy Sessions (01:13:39):
So smaller dog ears. So if you have a square reed in there it’s going to take more air.
Bill Ayer (01:13:46):
And then the deeper you go, it’s going to take more air,
Tanner Hardy (01:13:47):
Right? It’s going to take less air. If you have a square reed.
you have a whole lot more coverage to catch air, to…
Tommy Sessions (01:13:52):
So that’s why that cutdown with that really sharp like bullet takes a lot of air…
Bill Ayer (01:13:59):
Lot more air. It’s a thicker reed. It’s a lot more rise on that board. So it’s going to take a lot more to get that thing to go. But yeah, I mean there’s so many mechanics to the tone board and for the person who just wants a call, if you start messing with the tone board, you’re going to get in trouble. I mean that’s how I learned how to build duck calls, to be honest with you. Because from the time I was a little kid, I took everything apart and put it back together. I had a remote controlled car. I took everything that I can take apart and I’d put it back together. Same thing with a duck call. I probably ruined a thousand duck calls, taking it apart, messing with it, sounding it, doing this, doing that.
Tanner Hardy (01:14:45):
One swipe can be too much.
Bill Ayer (01:14:47):
Yeah, too much garbage. You have to go buy another one in a garbage, garbage, garbage, garbage. Cut it. But then by doing that you learn what makes it work, right? And so I deconstruct everything. I deconstruct everything. I will take anything apart and put it back together. I don’t know, it’s kind of a weird thing about me, but that’s what I do.
Tommy Sessions (01:15:07):
I know somebody in society that does that and they’re usually on meth. Well, when I was a cop, they did that a lot. You would see deconstructed cars in trailer parks and no, I’m just kidding.
Cut it twice and it’s still too short.
Bill Ayer (01:15:22):
But then that’s how I learned how to mess with duck calls. I just deconstructed then ruin it, ruin it, ruin it. And then finally you’re like, oh, okay, now I know how that works. And then you ruin something else and you’re like, okay, now I know how that works. You take, make two big dog ears. You keep taking more and more and more and more off until, and you hear the differences in sounds and then all of a sudden it stops working. You’re like, okay, I get that.
Tommy Sessions (01:15:45):
But no, that’s how it was with Goose calls. And when I was talking to Matt about goose calls, when I worked Sportsmans, I’d tune Goose calls for people. And that’s how I learned in, I mean, on my personal grease calls, I’d probably, I don’t know, I had probably a bag of 50 reeds that I scrape too much or yeah, I’d either try to do it with a razor knife or sometimes I’d try to do a sandpaper and I liked the razor knife better. And it was just like, yeah, same thing. It’s trial and error, but at the same time it’s trial and error. When I had one that was working correctly and I kept that and I would, that way I could still hunt or I was in the off season. But Cole what kind of tips you got for us with waterfowl season?
Scouting? There was a place the other day that I wanted to hunt and I went there, no birds. So then I, that’s when I went and checked the lake just to see and not expecting much. And they’re a pile of ducks. So that’s how we ended up killing all these ducks these last two days. But everybody knows that scouting is important,
Bill Ayer (01:16:56):
But everybody knows it’s important. But not
Bill Ayer (01:16:59):
Everybody’s willing to do it. My nephew’s in my shop right now, polishing calls and putting together bugle tubes right now. But that guy, every day after school, 2:30, he scouts from 2:30 to about 6:30, 7:30 every single day he’s got four properties locked down. And he’s… Probably shouldn’t say how many ducks they’ve killed, but he’s got a big group of guys that are out hunting and they’ve got 193 ducks already killed this year. But he’s been putting the time in. And it’s funny because Tanner was up deer hunting for the last week and a half. I sent him a text, I’m like, dude, I’m ready to kill some ducks. And finally he gets home, he’s like, hi, I am too. And then he calls me and he’s like, oh, Colon’s found some ducks on the lake. I’m like, I don’t want to go to the lake. He’s like, dude, they’re like everywhere. And I’m like, all right, I’ll go to the lake. And it paid off because we went there and we crushed them. The last two days.
Tanner Hardy (01:17:55):
Tips, huh? If I could give any tip, it would be what we’ve already touched on. Don’t be afraid to change things for the better. If you see something’s not quite right, but you’re still killing a few birds, it’s worth making the change. Everything’s going to be a lot better in the end. You know, might just have them on a side pass where you can still scrape a few birds out. But if you can make a change where you can get birds centered up on you or just anything, however you want to kill them that way. But make the change. Don’t be afraid to do it. Make the move. If you need to move even 30 yards, take the time. Get your decoys move. That’s probably one of the biggest tips to me. If you’re hunting where birds are, you can find a way to kill them.
Bill Ayer (01:18:42):
Always maintain gear.
Tommy Sessions (01:18:44):
I hear a backstory here.
Tanner Hardy (01:18:52):
These two guys should not be talking about maintaining gear. Always. I watch the stuff that you throw on your sled, they throw their guns. No they’re, they’re not putting them in their bags or anything like that.
I shoot a fairly nice over and under and it was half underwater in the sled today.
Bill Ayer (01:19:04):
Yeah. And I’m watching…
Tanner Hardy (01:19:05):
We’re sitting in four inches of water. They got their stock in the water. I got mine on my boots. So it’s out of the water. They’re like, they’re in the water.
Bill Ayer (01:19:12):
You shoot a plastic gun. It’s such what it’s made for. Put it in the water. I’ve used my guns for boat paddles. I’ve… Shoot, I use them for whatever I need at the time. Whether that be an actual firearm or a walking stick.
Pushing the boat off of the river.
Bill Ayer (01:19:29):
Pushing the boat. Yeah. Shove that dude in the mud and push your boat off the side. I buy stuff to use. I’m going to use it. That’s why if I say something’s good, it’s been put through the ringer. I have used it.
Put a waders, get your waders inside. Dry them out. Tanner put them on the boot.
Bill Ayer (01:19:47):
The tanner left is in the back of the truck last night. Oh. Oh man. And it got down to 19 degrees though. He had a frosty little.
Tanner Hardy (01:19:54):
You only need to put your waders inside if you’re going to complain about having wet waders. If you’re just going to wear wet waders and not care then leave them outside. I don’t care. I’ll wear wet waders. Whatever you, you’re still going duck hunting.
Tommy Sessions (01:20:06):
Tanner Hardy (01:20:07):
Ain’t going to change my day at all. Other than be cold. Might be a little colder than these guys. But good morning, mish shot the same amount ducks as they did.
Bill Ayer (01:20:16):
You complained today. You complained yesterday when you had warm waders.
Tanner Hardy (01:20:18):
Bill Ayer (01:20:18):
Yeah. You said your feet were a little cold today. You didn’t complain at all.
Tanner Hardy (01:20:21):
Oh man. See cold waders probably helped, my legs, I couldn’t tell. My feet…
Tommy Sessions (01:20:26):
Couldn’t feel it.
Started out cold and you didn’t know what warm was.
Tanner Hardy (01:20:28):
Bill Ayer (01:20:29):
My tip would be like, if you’re questioning going somewhere, we have spots two hours east of here in eastern Idaho and sometimes you can’t scout that.
Tanner Hardy (01:20:39):
Bill Ayer (01:20:40):
And you don’t know if the birds are there unless you go. And so I’ll go, nothing, I’ll go, nothing. I’ll go, nothing. But when they’re there I’ll go for two weeks straight and I’ll push them and then they’re gone and it’s like, shit, I drove two hours, I spent four hours out there. You know, get up at three in the morning, you burn a bunch of gas, but
Tanner Hardy (01:21:01):
You burn diesel. But lately you’ve been burning gas
Bill Ayer (01:21:05):
But you know what I mean. You don’t know unless you go. And you could speculate all you want and listen to people and their reports and all that stuff. But for me, it’s like you got to get out there and check it out.
Tommy Sessions (01:21:17):
Yeah, no, I agree with you. I have hunted that same area and it’s same thing, but it will shut off. Just like you say, don’t turn off smash them for two days. Oh yeah. But it’s really weird because it’ll turn on one day and then the next day it’ll shut off and then two days later it’s just hammering again and you’re like, what happened?
Bill Ayer (01:21:34):
And so like if you don’t have anything else going on, go check it out. Yeah. You know what I mean? Don’t be afraid to have a wasted day. If you don’t have anything going on. If you got something going on.
And also with yesterday, I didn’t know for sure if we ought to try the lake after, even though I saw a bunch of birds there. It wasn’t really good, ideal weather for hunting ducks and decoying and zero wind and for trafficking them in with the wind or anything. So I didn’t know if they’d work. And we tried it anyways and it was perfect. They still did everything we needed them to.
Bill Ayer (01:22:06):
And today we had wind and it was colder.
And things didn’t work, didn’t
Bill Ayer (01:22:10):
Work out the same.
We had to work so much harder to kill birds today.
Tanner Hardy (01:22:13):
No doubt. What else we got on there Tom?
Tommy Sessions (01:22:17):
I think my tip is for people, this kind of goes back to Call of the Wild, but is to go watch birds. And I know this, people say this all the time, but you can learn so much from watching geese or watching ducks and even in the parks.
Tanner Hardy (01:22:35):
Tommy Sessions (01:22:36):
And it’s funny because we were outside…
Bill Ayer (01:22:38):
We talked about that today.
Tommy Sessions (01:22:39):
And I was making my… In a goose call, you kind of make that screeching noise that I make sometimes just screwing around. But I’ve heard geese do that and that’s why I do it sometimes just to mess with it. And they, it’s like they get corn or something caught in their throat and they’ll do that. They’ll do. And it’s like, what is that? But just trying to mimic things on a goose call.
Tanner Hardy (01:23:01):
It’ll be like equivalent to occasion squeal. Yeah,
Tommy Sessions (01:23:04):
Tanner Hardy (01:23:05):
On a duck call, a hen’s got a lot of corn in and it can’t quite close off its airway. It can’t do a complete close. So it’s slurring
River trying to wash the corn down.
Tanner Hardy (01:23:14):
Yeah, it’s a tone.
Bill Ayer (01:23:17):
It’s such a good point. I have a pond in front of my house and I’ll sit on my porch and have a beer and sit there and just listen to them. And I’ll watch when two birds will come over and I’ll listen to what they do. And it’s very specific what they do. And it’s very pointed as what they do. They want more birds in there for protection right? Numbers. You’re one in 10 chance or one in 20 chance of dying. And they flock for that reason. And so birds will come by and they will do a greeting call. If the birds are coming in, they’ll do a greeting call. And they just come on in. If they’re leaving, they’ll do a comeback call. And dude, you could sit there and listen to it and you see exactly how they’re communicating. And then when you’re seeing the birds and what they’re doing, they’re coming in, you greet them, they turn, you got wing tips, you come back, call. Right,
Tanner Hardy (01:24:06):
Bill Ayer (01:24:06):
And it’s like, it’s very specific what they’re doing. And you can learn so much by doing that.
Tanner Hardy (01:24:11):
That’s how I learned to call. I’m pretty much self-taught on a duck call. My dad does… He duck hunts when I ask him to come with me because he is like, well if you got birds, we’ll go shoot him. But, he does not blow a duck call. Nobody that I hung out with did other than Colton when I was young and really back then, no offense to Colton, but he couldn’t blow a duck call either. And we both made sounds on it, but neither of us blew a duck call. But we live on the river and out in the Marsing area and I’ll just go sit there in the evenings and listen to birds and you hear them flying up and down the river. They’re talking in between each other. You hear the birds sitting on the water trying to get something else to come in.
They’re talking to each other. I’d sit there with my call and I’d hear them and I would try to mimic it. And it took a while to figure out how to mimic what these birds were doing. And even at that time I wasn’t quite sure what they were trying to do, but I knew it was a really ducky sound and I was going to make that sound. And now listening to ducks, I’m to the point where I’m blessed enough to be sitting here with you guys talking about duck hunting and trying to help everybody else have a successful hunt.
Tommy Sessions (01:25:22):
Yeah. It’s all language. And Matt talks about it in Call of the Wild is you can quack and be the best at calling, but if you just go out there and hammer on ducks the entire time and can’t read them, like you were talking about, you’re basically reading a book out there. The ducks are your book, they’re the vocabulary inside the book or the geese or whatever you’re hunting. If you can’t read those animals, you could be the greatest caller in the world. But if you’re sitting there hammering on them in main street routine, the whole time you’re going to flare ducks, you’re not going to kill anything and you’re going to come home unsuccessful.
Another thing about, well another tip is how humans are creatures of habit and we want to set up or blow call the same way all season long. But eventually you figure out how drastically the duck’s behavior and how they talk to each other changes throughout the season. And you’ve got to change every single year and adapt throughout the season.
Tanner Hardy (01:26:19):
Hunting November birds versus January birds are not the same.
Bill Ayer (01:26:24):
It’s much different.
Bill Ayer (01:26:25):
I had somebody explain elk calling to me, oh about a month ago, and it made a lot of sense to me. I think I’ve done this. But they were like, it’s like fishing. You’re fishing a lake that you’re unfamiliar with, you’re fishing points, you’re drop shotting, nothing. Then you go into cove, you’re throwing some top water, whatever, right. You’re changing your baits, you’re changing the areas that you’re hunting and you’re constantly changing. And then all of a sudden you start hitting them on maybe a crank bait at 12 feet of water on straight rock banks.
And that’s where you focus. And so calling ducks or geese, you might throw out a bunch of different types of calls. You might throw out different volumes of calls. But once you start getting a reaction, that’s what you focus on. That’s what that you’re like, okay, that’s what they want.
Tanner Hardy (01:27:17):
The one wing beat change.
Bill Ayer (01:27:18):
Yeah. Then you see that one hand just kind of slow her wing beat down and kind of veer off. You’re like, that’s what they want. And so that’s what you throw at them. You throw out them, you throw out them, you throw out them. Right. And then you kind of let them alone. You throw at them, throw at them, and that’s how you suck them in. And
Well, the next day it could be completely different,
Bill Ayer (01:27:32):
It could be. So you go fishing again, right?
Bill Ayer (01:27:35):
You do a bunch of different stuff.
The weather’s changed…
Bill Ayer (01:27:37):
Like foam. Okay, this is what they want. And then you stick with that.
Barometric pressure changed the water a whole bunch of fish moved. Ducks move. Yep.
Bill Ayer (01:27:46):
Yeah. And I thought that was a great analogy. I was like, yeah, that’s kind of what you’re doing. You’re fishing with your calls until you find what changes that wing beat.
Tommy Sessions (01:27:53):
Tanner Hardy (01:27:54):
I would agree with that fully.
Tommy Sessions (01:27:57):
Well there’s a ton of knowledge that was shared today. There’s a lot of knowledge sitting around this bar top right now in years of hunting and…
Tanner Hardy (01:28:06):
A little bit of BS. But yeah,
Tommy Sessions (01:28:08):
There’s a lot of BS, but there’s a lot of knowledge. It may not have all come out, but you guys got anything else to lay on them?
Tanner Hardy (01:28:17):
I think that kind of touches a lot of things that I was planning on talking about today and some of the things that I’ve brought to mind. But I’m sure we’ll be coming back and having a few more waterfowl podcasts. So be got to save some.
Bill Ayer (01:28:29):
Probably should do it at the end of the season. Cause archery just kicking off.
Tanner Hardy (01:28:33):
Bill Ayer (01:28:33):
And I mean I just kind of kicked in. You just finished deer hunting?
Tanner Hardy (01:28:37):
I just finished big game hunting.
Bill Ayer (01:28:39):
I think we’re all just kicking in and I’m looking forward to this season.
Lots of big game.
Bill Ayer (01:28:43):
My dad’s up with a buddy right now, archery hunting elk and they’re, he just texted me, they’re putting a sneak on a bull right now.
Bill Ayer (01:28:49):
Tommy Sessions (01:28:50):
Did that hurry? Cause Yeah. Better get her done. Getting low light.
Bill Ayer (01:28:53):
Looking outside. You got about another 15, 20 minutes.
Tommy Sessions (01:28:56):
I know what tag he’s hunting and that’s a hard archery tag to hunt. Hey, right now that snow’s good for them. That’s good.
Bill Ayer (01:29:01):
Tommy Sessions (01:29:01):
They got lucky this year. But yeah. You got anything else, bill?
Bill Ayer (01:29:06):
No that’s it Tanner.
Tommy Sessions (01:29:08):
Good talk. Colden. Right on. Check us out guys. Slayercalls.com. We did a ton of videoing today. Go over to Instagram, watch some of the shenanigans. We were live…
Bill Ayer (01:29:19):
There was some shenanigans.
So that pond, we were talking about, out in front of my house, we called in a hen mallard. She came right in and landed and then laid on the house. Tommy pulled some geese over us. It was pretty awesome.
Tommy Sessions (01:29:31):
Yeah, it was a pretty fun day. So yeah, share your hunting stories with us. Let’s see then, let’s see what you guys are doing out there with Slayer calls. Let’s hear your guys’ sound files too. Send them over and we’re super interested to hear that. We got shows coming up. It’s going to be man…
Tanner Hardy (01:29:48):
Going to be a busy year.
Tommy Sessions (01:29:49):
Oh my gosh. Yeah. The two months away now.
Tanner Hardy (01:29:51):
Are you ready for it, Tommy?
Tommy Sessions (01:29:52):
No, I’m not. Two months away.
Tanner Hardy (01:29:54):
It looks like just quick traveling.
Tommy Sessions (01:29:55):
I know. Yeah. Yep. So look forward to it. But it’s going to be a fun year and we’re going to just hammer it.
Bill Ayer (01:30:02):
Yeah. So it’s going to be cool.
Tommy Sessions (01:30:05):
All right guys,
Bill Ayer (01:30:05):
We’ll see you guys out there at all the shows.
Tommy Sessions (01:30:05):