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Legends of the Call

They were developers, innovators, experimenters and, above all, waterfowl hunters seeking to create the most efficient tools possible.
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Story at a Glance
  • Learn how the biggest call makers got their start
  • The history of duck call making
  • A treasure trove of duck-calling literature

Call collecting spurs book production

For years, those interested in waterfowling collectibles were without a source of information relative to duck and goose calls. There simply were not any printed guidelines available.

These days, however, with the number of game-call collectors growing every year, industrious sorts interested in preserving this portion of waterfowling history have been banging away at the typewriter and computer. Fresh books keep popping up.

The newest volume is by author Doug Lodermeier, who recently introduced Duck Call Makers of Minnesota. This is state-specific, which appears to be the researchers' current focus. More information is available from Lodermeier by phoning him at 612-922-9674 or visiting his website at www.dougandpaul.com. Similar works by other authors about call makers from at least two additional states are currently on the drawing board.

The short list of required reading for those interested in historic duck and goose calls includes:

  • Duck Calls—an Enduring American Folk Art, by Howard Harlan
  • Duck Calls of Illinois, by Bob Christensen
  • Duck Calls and Other Game Calls, by Brian McGrath (OP)—out of print
  • Reelfoot Lake, by Russell H. Caldwell (OP)
  • Call Makers Past and Present, by Mickle (OP)

Ingenious Illini  How big a part did Illinois call makers play in the call-making industry? One historian reports that of known advertisements for duck and goose calls prior to 1900, all but a scant few originated in the Prairie State.

Birds of a feather  Interested in game call history? Check out the Call Makers and Collectors Association of America by writing membership director William Bailey, 137 Kingswood Drive, Clarksville, TN 37043.

Ouch!  The earliest known duck calls were of the tongue-pincher style. And, yes they did pinch one's tongue while calling. In case you were wondering, the sounds created by these calls sounded more like diving ducks than mallards.

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