Plenty to consider when buying custom call

I inherited my grandfather’s love for making turkey calls. Anyone who knows me knows that it’s a passion in my life deep rooted in both tradition and legacy.

So as we move forward in a society that shifts it course from buying products from large box stores such as Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and stores of their likeness that outsource their production overseas, we find a market for the local custom call market — items that are hand crafted by rural Americans with blood, sweat and even sometimes tears. Small business deep rooted in that same tradition and legacy that drives me in my call making adventures.

So if you’re looking to purchase a turkey call from this realm of productions what are some things to look for and what are some things to avoid?

There are pros and cons to almost every mention. The goods things in this industry can also be red flags, so be advised.

Hobbyists versus people who build calls for a living is a topic to watch. There are some great call builders who partake for fun and make some really good, solid-sounding calls. However I like it to a person who is able to change the oil in their car and perform basic maintenance compared to a professional who can perform advanced engine repairs and maintenance.

Those who have chosen this craft to make their living and divide countless hours to the trade know the ins and outs better than perhaps anyone else. More time in the wood shop equals more understanding of the sounds we seek from our calls.

Another thing to look for is a reputation-boosting wait list versus a backlog. Wait lists can be a very good thing and a bad thing from time I time. Those who own small businesses and can only meet so much demand, especially if they’re popular means a good product. That same wait list can be someone who simply takes a long time to build only a somewhat satisfactory product, so use caution here.

Price is another issue. There are thousands of call makers out there. Those who host the best reputations and the quality products worthy of those reputations carry the prices listed on their calls in accordance. If a custom call averages around $50 and you’ve been asked to pay only $25 or as much as $125.00, some homework needs to be done.

Calls can win awards, but do they kill turkeys? The average hunter doesn’t really get attached to how many awards a call has won, and focuses more on production in the woods. If you’re looking to add to a collection of custom calls and showpieces, you may proceed, but if you’re looking for the best call to carry into the woods, some of those showpieces and their price tag are listed above their actual value.

Another area to exercise caution in is hype. There’s a large difference between excellent product reviews and hype instituted by promotional staff members who receive money and products for doing so. There’s no doubt about it that I have been convinced in the last to buy outdoor products due to the hype, and found them to be less effective or as productive than the products that had less hype and more positive customer reviews from folks like you and me.

The fact is, to go in depth in such a topic as custom calls could take days, let alone a small feature like this one. The best thing to do is take your time, do your homework and find what works best for you.

Good luck this season, friends.