Now that we’ve got another deer season behind us, our focus here in the H.S. Sales Department is our upcoming 2015 trade show season. Starting the first week of January, the sales team and Hunter’s Specialties Pro Staff will be attending distributor shows, buying group shows, consumer shows, and various other trade shows all over the country. We’ll be at shows in Indianapolis, Columbia (SC), Raleigh, Las Vegas (a couple of times), Minneapolis, Reno, Phoenix, Nashville, Ft. Worth and Des Moines.
The focus of these shows is to roll out our new goods for 2015 and write orders for spring and fall. We’ll be interacting with dealers and consumers from all over the U.S. The best part of that interaction is to hear the success stories people have had while using our products. To have some kid show you pictures on his phone of the big buck he shot this fall, or to have some mom tell you about the first turkey she called in… and to see the smiles on their faces…man, it doesn’t get any better than that!
I also love showcasing our new turkey calls for the spring. We’ve got some first-rate introductions this year. We’ve got a new feeder hen decoy named “Penny” that will be added to the Snood family, and we’ve got a line of turkey calls being re-introduced to the market under the “Retro” series. These are those “back by popular demand” calls that consumers had been up in arms about after they were discontinued several years ago. Among these calls are the “Split V” diaphragm calls (both II and III), the “Big Hooter” owl call, the “Triple Glass” friction call and the “Field Champion” box call. Those of you familiar with HS Strut will immediately recognize these calls and welcome them back to the line.
One of the benefits of selling turkey calls at these shows is I get to practice my calling. There are lots of people who want to know what they sound like, so I spend a lot of time demonstrating. It’s definitely one of the better aspects of my job. How would you like to be asked, “Hey, what did you do at work today?” and be able to respond with, ‘I practiced my turkey calling’? Not bad, huh?
Now let me get one thing out there for the record…I am NOT going to win any turkey calling contests. I can make pretty good yelps, clucks and cutts with my “Infinity Latex” mouth calls, but I can’t make a contented purr to save my life. I can flutter my lips and make more of a loud “fighting” type purr (which is strangely effective, by the way), but when I try to make a soft purr, all I get are intermittent squeaks, an annoying tickling on my tongue, and a lot of disappointment. It’s okay though. I’ve reached the acceptance stage and have become fairly decent at purring with my friction calls instead.
Many people think calling turkeys is difficult. It’s really not. You need to accept that you’re going to make a few mistakes, and that’s a-o-k. Just keep calling and try to get the sound right the next time. My daughter and I have made some God-awful sounds in the turkey woods that, surprisingly, didn’t seem to bother the turkeys. Just try to follow them up with a better sound and put those big boys at ease again.
If you can take a mouth call, box call or pan call, and just make some sounds with it, you’ve won half the battle. Once you can make some sounds, all you need to do is hone those sounds with a little practice. We’ve got some great instructional DVDs out there such as “Mouth Calling 101” and “The Expert Edge.” However, my daughter and I prefer to just watch turkey hunting videos (preferable the “Cutt’n and Strutt’n” series), and practice along while we watch the filmed hunts. This allows us to not only work on the proper cadence and pitch, but it also teaches us what types of sounds to make at the various phases of the hunt. For example, if a tom is committed and is working his way towards the decoys, a contented purr (or no sound at all) is much more effective than some excited cutts and loud yelps.
I’ve been luckier than most in the fact that the last several years I’ve been able to get some instruction and advice from some of the top turkey callers in the country, including Rick White and Steve Cobb. But I’ve knocked down many a bird before I had the pleasure of meeting those guys. Like I said, I’m not going to win any calling contests…but tell that to the dozens of gobblers I’ve called in and jelly-headed over the years. All it took was a little practice.
*Note: Pictured is the author’s daughter, Amanda, along with a nice gobbler the author called in to his “Jake” and “Suzie” Snood decoys during the 2014 Spring Season.