The most common, and simplest of all hand calls to run for predator calling...is the enclosed reed call. These calls are very easy to use and are extremely deadly. They are sworn by, and at, by callers all over the country.
This type of call has been around for many decades in one form or another. By definition, the reed (the part that makes the noise) is...wait for it..."enclosed"..as in...inside the call. All you have to do is blow on the call and it makes noise. Pretty simple. These calls have pros and cons, as any type of call does, so lets take a look at a couple.
First a couple "pros". As mentioned above, they are very simple to use., and have a relativley short learning curve. You simply blow into the call and it makes noise. When you learn to manipulate the call, you can make great rabbit distress sounds with it. Very realistic ones at that. A guy just starting out can get a couple enclosed reeds (that sound a bit different from one another preferably) and call a lot of animals in with them. Untold amounts of coyotes, fox and cats have fallen to this type of call. These calls are also easy to maintain, and can, in most cases, be refurbished with a new reed every once in a while if need be. A good enclosed reed call can be kept in service for many years if you take care of it.
Speaking of reeds, these calls have many different reeds available for them so you can make a lot of different distress sounds, with a little experimenting.
Some "cons". Enclosed reed calls have reeds inside that can be rendered inoperable in certain circumstances. In real cold weather they can freeze up. This is the biggest complaint about these calls. Its the nature of the beast...you blow hot moist air into the call, and after your done calling, if the call sits outside your coat or whatever, the moisture on the reed freezes and it's done. It can happen while calling to, in between sequences. Also, reeds can get debris in them, clogging them up. By this I mean almost anything that can wedge in the reed somehow, or making the reed sticky, not allowing it to work. The biggest culprit is your saliva, in any weather. If your a "wet" caller, a guy that naturally spits a lot of saliva into a call while calling, your going to have more trouble than guys that arent. This is true for almost any type of call though. Sucking down sugary snacks and sodas while out calling makes it worse. Sugar makes saliva super thick. If you try to manage these things you will be a lot better off.
Reed fragilility is another con here. The reeds in these calls are made of thin shim like material, and are a bit fragile. If you constantly blow hard into the call, it can ruin the reeds. They get slightly tweaked by the pressure and the sound and ease of blowing get wrecked. The reed can also get sort of work hardened sometimes and stop working altogether. Again, just the nature of the beast with these things. Most guys really overblow these calls trying to get max volume, or they simply get excited and blow the shit out of em, thinking they are really doing something. If you learn to control your calling, you will avoid this.
And yet more cons...stigma. Two things here...These calls are commonly thought of as one trick ponies, as in, you can only make one sound on them. For the most part this is true. You have a reed that is tuned a certain way, stuck inside the call with no way to really change the sound much. The thing is, there are other ways to make the call sound at least a little different, like changing your air presentation into the call, or changing cadence etc. Sort of "advanced" techniques for lack of a better term. Things like this can "liven up" the call sometimes.
Also, the stigma of "beginners" call. Most handcallers start out with enclosed reed calls. After that they advance on to open reeds or diaprhagms or whatever. After that, they think that enclosed reeds are for beginners, and stop using them, because somehow they are some sort of pro caller now. We have all done it, and this is a mistake. I stopped using them for years, then got interested in them again because I realized just how great they sound, period. These things are killers, and at this point in time, the most under rated tool out there in my opinion.
Thats it in a nutshell. I can think of a couple more things to mention, but thats probably enough for now, and hopefully will get more guys to consider the "lowly" enclosed reed call more.