This Indiana call maker tells stories and captures feelings with his calls and carvings.
Commissioned portrait calls crafted with personal meaning. Artistic wood-burning projects. Detailed pots and strikers. Timothy Oldham Jr.’s award-winning work is legendary in the NWTF’s Grand National Callmaking Competition. He also makes miniature wildlife wood carvings. We recently caught up with the Indiana call maker.
Steve Hickoff: Please tell us about your start in call making.
Timothy Oldham Jr.: I made my first turkey call in 2003, a field-grade walnut slate/glass pot call. That was the start of a lifelong passion and desire to craft these calls and share them with other fellow turkey enthusiasts.
SH: Your portrait calls often include hunters with their first turkeys or memorable art of their loved ones.
TOJ: These started with some special requests to incorporate a portrait on a call, to honor a special memory. It’s very humbling and rewarding to pay tribute to a war veteran and celebrate a person’s life or hunt. These calls capture that moment in time and will become a family heirloom.
SH: In addition to making calls, you have a versatile talent for miniature carvings. How did this aspect of your work develop?
TOJ: As a creative person, I’ve had the desire to learn new art forms — to express myself and keep it exciting, as I typically have multiple projects in process. Carving is another passion, especially miniatures.
SH: Please tell us a little about your barnwood series of call and display projects.
TOJ: The barnwood series projects have been personal favorites due to their rustic, authentic look, as well as the history behind each one. I typically only do my wood burning on these.
SH: How has your NWTF affiliation enriched your callmaking experience?
TOJ: The NWTF has given me the platform needed as an artist and call maker to share my work with other turkey hunting enthusiasts. The Grand National Callmaking Competition is important to keep the tradition alive and growing for future generations.
SH: What are your future callmaking plans?
TOJ: God willing, I plan on creating my work for others to enjoy and to do this until I’m not able to any longer. Turkey calls have allowed my wife, Mindy, and me to meet so many wonderful people, as well as to travel all over the country. The desire to pull out the magic sounds of a wild turkey from a piece of wood — to telling a story or capturing the feeling in a wildlife carving — is the ultimate award for me.