If you're venturing into elk country and want to carry only one call, hands down the call to take is a cow call. Regardless of pre-rut, post-rut, rut, or no-rut a cow call is one of the best ways to at least stop a bull in its tracks and on a good day, call one in. If you're new to calling or just want a simple call, a few manufacturers offer push button, non-electronic calls. For this review we'll take a closer look at Wayne Carlton's Estrus Squeeze Me call and the Primos Hoochie Mama series of calls.
Calling any animal can be tricky and some calls are definitely easier than others to master. Among the simplest calls are those that use a bellow to drive air through the reed system producing the cow call. A bellow based called is literally a "push button" style call and while you still have to vary how quickly and how deeply you press the bellow, on the whole they are very easy to use.
Left to Right: Primos Hoochie Mama, Wayne Carlton's Estrus Squeeze Me, and the Primos Baby Hoochie Mama
Wayne Carlton's Calls offers the "Estrus Squeeze Me Cow Call" which uses a bulb like protrusion that you press on to produce the call and sells for around $22. On the sides of the call are slots that the bellow pushes the passing air through. By rotating the tip of the call the slots can be opened up or closed down. Wide open slots produces a higher pitch call closer to a cow, while closing down the slots produces a lower pitched sound closer to a calf. The slot is marked from 1-6 so it is easy to visually inspect where the call is set. The change in pitch is fairly significant and coupling this with how quickly or deeply the bulb is pressed it is straightforward to produce a variety of long or short cow or calf calls.
The Wayne Carlton's Estrus Squeeze Me Cow Call
The Estrus Squeeze Me partially closed down
The Estrus Squeeze Me wide open
Primos Hunting makes two separate calls in their line of Hoochie Mama calls. The first is the original Hoochie Mama that has been on the market for some time and the second is the Baby Hoochie Mama that was first released last year.
The Baby Hoochie Mama produces a lower pitched sound that is similar to a calf and sells for around $25. The call is more in-line with the thumb and when pressing the rear bulb one must be sure to block the 'Silencer Hole' on the rear of the bulb in order to produce a sound. The Silencer Hole is placed such that an accidental squishing of the bulb will vent the air and not produce a sound. The tip of the call also has what Primos calls an 'Enhancer', by rotating the enhancer outward makes the call shorter in duration, while all the way in makes the call length longer. One trick with the Baby Hoochie Mama is that you must push it fairly quickly and depress it fully or it will produce no sound.
The Primos Baby Hoochie Mama
The Silencer Hole on the back of either Hoochie Mama that must be sealed with the thumb in order to produce a sound.
The original Hoochie Mama sells for around $28 and works much like the Baby Hoochie Mama with a few twists. First it produces a higher pitch call and is really only good as a cow call. The second is the 'Enhancer' is marked to distinguish a few types of cow call lengths. With the enhancer twisted all the way out makes for a longer duration call, while all the way in makes a shorter mew. Midway between the two is a lost cow length call. Like the Baby Hoochie Mama you must fully close off the hole on the back of the bulb to produce a sound. It's worth noting that the pitch can be altered on either call by blocking the vent holes on the side of call, although this makes it a two handed operation and may not be convenient when hunting.
The Primos Hoochie Mama
The enhancer all the way twisted in and then all the way twisted out.
Because of its versatility the Estrus Squeeze Me is capable of producing the best range of sounds in one call. However the 'silencer hole' on the Hoochie Mama series is a good precaution against those accidental call bumps that only seem to happen at the worst possible moment.
One down side to push button calls is their simplicity makes them very popular and it's not unusual to hear other hunters using the same call in the same area you may be hunting. If you're looking for uniqueness and total control over the cow call, you'll need to move to one or more of the various mouth calls on the market. All and all though the ease of use and good sound reproduction makes the push button cow calls a solid choice when getting started hunting elk.