Best Turkey Call Maker in the Midwest

In mid-January I was asked to serve as a judge at the Midwest Call Making competition, held each year in Wisconsin. The contest, the country's second-largest (the annual NWTF show is bigger), attracts some of America's top competitive call makers. Contestants enter turkey and waterfowl calls in two divisions; working calls (judged entirely on sound quality and performance), and decorative calls (which mainly look pretty, but they're also required to make sound). I was one of five judges in the decorative division.

The Best of Show winner in the decorative category was the call pictured above, a box created by Wisconsin artist Dave Constantine. Dave is an outstanding wood carver, and his entries have captured so many titles at NWTF call-making contests that he's been named "Call Maker of the Year" six times, more than any other artist. Dave can turn a chunk of basswood into a turkey feather so accurate you'd swear he plucked it from a bird. Constantine calls are auctioned regularly at the NWTF convention and have raised thousands of dollars for their cause.

What does this have to do with deer hunting? Not much (except for that skillfully-carved shed antler at the base of the call). But I know a lot of you are also turkey nuts like me, and I thought you'd appreciate something to help us through the long months until deer season.