As for bringing in big bucks through the call auction, the matched set of turkey calls made by Don Bald, of Lebanon, Ill., brought in a whopping $4 Gs. That’s right baby, $4,000. Pretty fat. Bald, a frequent winner of this contest, custom-carved the display box that included among the many detailed calls a trumpet yelper made of ivory, a wood scratch box, a wingbone yelper and a tube call among others.
For that kind of scratch, it’s unlikely any of these calls will ever see the light of any turkey woods. But then when this level of artistry is put into making calls of this type, that’s not exactly their purpose.
Interestingly, turkey calls aren’t the only type of callers included in the Grand Nationals. Interestingly, the NWTF’s convention also boasts the largest duck and goose calling contest in the U.S. Even larger than DU from what I’m told.
Kent Freeman’s wood barrel duck call won Best of Show in the contest and fetched an impressive $3,100 in the subsequent auction. The carved scene on the barrel of the call is a self-portrait of the artist working in his decoy shop and would put any relief on a Grecian urn to shame.
My old friend, Matt Lindler, at the NWTF shot these pics in his makeshift studio at the Opryland Hotel this weekend and promised to send me more to share with all of you in the coming days. I’ll also be profiling some of these fantastic artists and will tell you how you can get involved in the growing-and increasingly lucrative-hobby of custom call collecting.