Turkey call making is woven into the fabric of the NWTF; since the organization’s founding in 1973, turkey call makers — be it custom call makers or callmaking companies — provided life blood to the NWTF in those early years, purchasing advertising space in Turkey Call; donating thousands of calls for use as prizes, new-member sign-up premiums and auction items at fundraising events; presenting or assisting in giving seminars; playing major roles at conventions; and helping spread the Federation's message to eager turkey hunters. The dedication, spirit, innovativeness and craftsmanship of these call makers still rings true nearly 50 years later.
Custom call making, specifically, has gained traction and popularity over the years. Not only are the custom calls sought after by collectors and hunters looking for the purest turkey sounds, but custom turkey call making has become one of those rare occurrences where art and sport collide. The uniqueness of call making is evident through the competitions found across the country and especially at the Grand Nationals during the NWTF’s National Convention and Sport Show, where hundreds of custom turkey calls are put to the test. Recently, though, many of these custom call makers have put their craftsmanship to work for something other than for sport and aesthetics.
In response to the NWTF’s Call for All campaign, custom turkey call makers from across the country are putting their craftsmanship to work for conservation by creating custom turkey calls to be auctioned off Sept. 1-13, and one dedicated NWTF volunteer is orchestrating it all.
“When I heard about how COVID-19 affected the NWTF and about how they had to shut down all the banquets, I had an idea: I contacted a few of the call makers and asked them what they thought about doing a Custom Call Makers Auction to help the NWTF with fundraising,” said Briana Alley, NWTF volunteer and custom call maker. “Each of these Call makers jumped on board so fast at the opportunity to help. They have even shared my posts and invited others to join in and make some more calls for donating.”
The Custom Call Makers Auction Facebook group has been increasingly gaining traction and participation, as Alley does live unboxings each time the auction receives a new call, giving an up-close look at the call and its details.
Likewise, many call makers have been posting videos of their calls being put to the test, so those viewing and interested in making a bid can know the call’s performance.
So far, nearly 100 custom calls have been donated, with more still to come, and after the auction, Alley has plans to turn the Facebook group into a permanent auction platform where call makers can put their craftsmanship to work for conservation.
These one-of-a-kind gems represent more than craftsmanship, precision and volunteer spirit; they represent the important role call makers have played for the NWTF since the beginning.
To see the platform Alley and the custom call makers have created, visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/customcallmakersandhunterartworkauction2020.