I’m a turkey call fanatic. I’m ridiculously new and terrible at the practice, but I’ve never seen a call I didn’t want to purchase and horde in my “call bin” in the basement. And if I had one call to choose from, it would have to be a pot. There is just something about a finely crafted pot and striker that makes my heart beat faster, and there are few callmakers on the market that make them as well as Ed Jenkins at Ghostmaker Custom Calls.
Ed has spent years perfecting his craft and his pots are truly special. I’ll never forget the day I saw mine online. I’d just met Ed on Twitter and began talking to him on a weekly basis. He was always turning calls to keep stocked for shows and every specimen was impressive. At the time I didn’t have the cash nor a reason to pick another call up, but your mouth can only water for so long with prime rib in front of you. Finally, when Ed started posting burnt osage calls, I had to bite.
There is something about osage that grabs hold of my heart strings and won’t let go and I’d yet to see anything akin to what Ed was doing. I messaged him that day and told him I’d finally found what I wanted and to keep an eye out for a particularly beautiful piece of osage. I would have to wait, but that gave me time to gather the money. A month later I had a call in the mailbox and a smile on my face.
It was absolutely perfect and sounded great. Ed’s calls are quite thin for a double-sided call. I had glass mounted on one side and slate on the other and can perform any sound within my capabilities from the combination. At first glance you wouldn’t think a call so thin would be so resonate, but your ears will make you a believer. This call is the most enabling call I have in my collection. I managed to call my first turkey with it last Spring, which was my most memorable turkey hunting experience to date. With a little more practice and patience, I’m sure I’ll have more success in the future.
I’m a big fan of the Ipe striker too. There’s something about the Ipe and Osage combination that works, especially with glass.
To go along with the pot, Ed informed me he’d just started making mouth calls and I ordered one of each to test them. I’d been practicing on some kind of generic double-reed model in my car for several months and wanted a few other options. I received that and a whole lot more. My diligent to-and-from work practice began paying off shortly before the season and my “dying crow” sounds began resembling something a turkey might make.
Ed doesn’t name his calls, so I decided to nickname my favorites, starting with “Vader”: his double reed, split V. I had this particular call in my pocket all season for its ability to produce the perfect amount of rasp for yelps and cuts. My second favorite is Ed’s three-read split V, or “Luke”. Its white with green latex (hence the other Star Wars reference) and was the only call my noobish mouth could actually make a decent cutting sound with. Luke was my go-to call last season and was in my mouth the entire time I was in the woods (as unsanitary as it may seem). Ed’s red 2-reed double cut is also fantastic. It has a nice, sweet sound I use for soft yelping. It is also the call I’m learning to do “Ki Ki” trots on.
I haven’t spent enough time in the woods with the others, but I’m sure they are all equally good for different applications. I’m just not at that level. I found what worked for me and went with it, which should be the process for any novice learning to call. Field experience is the best experience. Use whatever gets you out there.
Working with Ed was fantastic. I’ve never met a stranger who was so interested in making me a better turkey hunter. At one point I called him on the phone to tell him how much I liked my calls and we talked turkeys and decoys for at least an hour. He has checked in with me every turkey season since. The man has a wealth of turkey hunting knowledge and is genuinely interested in his customer’s success. I highly recommend him and his work.