I sell handmade bookends and turkey calls at the booth when I do a book signing, and people really seem to like them. My daughter encouraged me to open an Etsy store and make my handmade items available nationwide. She asked me how I started making turkey calls, and I thought I’d share the story with the readers of the Sundown Trail as well.
To visit my Etsy store, you can click here: Sundown Trail Trading Post on Etsy.com
In 1970, my wife and I moved to Fredericktown, a small town in Southeast Missouri. I had accepted a job offer with an electric cooperative headquartered there. We found the town and area people to be friendly and sociable. We made many friends in Fredericktown and enjoyed our time there.
The Clark National Forest (now called Mark Twain National Forest), interspersed with small farms and towns, made up much of the area. The tree-covered mountains, lush green valleys, and clear streams surrounded by granite outcroppings are very scenic. It offered good deer, turkey, and waterfowl hunting.
At church I met a senior citizen named Elmer Wulfert. I was in my thirties, and an enthusiastic hunter. Elmer was retired, and having lived there all his life, knew the area well. We hunted and fished together, when I could find the time. We mostly hunted ducks on the area lakes and streams. Elmer introduced me to turkey hunting. He was a craftsman, and he made a fine turkey call for me.
The call was a well-made cedar paddle box call. I was very proud of it. A few days later Elmer and I were hunting some rough terrain on a mountain in Madison County. We finished the morning’s hunt. I had stowed the turkey call in my hunting jacket pocket. Elmer and I started the trek back to the pickup parked on an access road. We dropped into a hollow, traveled up a ridge, and walked through lots of timber before reaching the truck. As I took off my coat, I discovered that my box call was missing. We immediately returned to the woods and backtracked our route out. The call was nowhere to be found. I went back the next day and tried again to find the call. No luck!
Elmer said not to worry, he would give me another one. And he did. When I look at my old well-worn calls, I think of Elmer, my friend from long ago. I remember that a deteriorated old cedar box call lays mouldering in the leaves, and underbrush, somewhere on the west slope of Cedar Mountain in Madison County Missouri.
And I remember Elmer Wulfert as one of the best friends I have made along the Sundown Trail.