Derby City Game Calls
7006 Trade Port Drive
Louisville, KY 40258
Striker with “Old Growth” dowel and Bubinga handle
From the Derby City site: “Quality Hardwoods lead to quality game calls. Here at Derby City Game Calls, we have instrument grade hardwood that allows us to make exceptional calls. Derby City has the advantage of sharing facilities with a world renowned instrument supply company, First Quality Music. Our Pro Staff has teamed up with these professional instrument makers to design custom calls that look great and sound even better. Extensive research has been done to come up with a call you will feel confident using each time you go afield. Each call is custom built and hand tuned to perfection. Derby City uses CNC technology to produce precision game calls. We take pride in the quality and craftsmanship of our calls. Try one of our calls today, you will be glad that you chose Derby City Game Calls.”
There are times when it seems that everything just seems to come together. When I spoke to Brent Stoner at Derby City Game Calls to inquire about his turkey calls, it was one of those times.
Brent is one of those folks that I felt like I'd known all my life, even though I'd just spoken to him for the first time. He has a manner about him that puts you at ease and in just a few minutes of conversation, I knew that I was speaking with someone who really knew his subject. No pretension, just down to earth information from a man with experience.
The conversation was good but what I was most interested in was his calls. Was what I’d heard about them true? Did they not only look good (I’d only seen them on television and on the site) but did they sound as good “in person” as they did in the television studio?
I know a lot can be done to sounds and after all, these folks also make some very high end musical instruments. Would I be able to get the same sounds as I’d heard these call professionals make? Only one way to find out. I ordered a couple of calls and an “Old Growth” striker. (You can read more about this “Old Growth” subject on their web site.) It took just a few days and my calls and striker arrived for my field tests.
They arrived just before the Fall turkey season was to begin in Illinois and it gave me just enough time to play them a bit before thinking about heading to the turkey woods.
I will have to admit that I had some second thoughts when my calls arrived. These are beautiful calls! I was not sure that I wanted to take them to the woods, take a chance on losing them or damaging them in some way. They look that good.
I was tempted to just put them in a display case…but frankly, I don’t want anything anymore that I can’t use. If I lose one, that’s just part of life and after reading just a bit about how these calls are made and what to do if I got one wet, I was ready to take on the elements, no matter what.
You can look at these calls on the Derby City site and my pictures would not add anything to what you see there but I can tell you, no picture can do these calls justice. Likewise, the striker is also a thing of beauty. More important than how they look however is how they sound.
I am in no way a championship caller. I’ve been using various turkey calls for 30+ years and have heard some of the best callers in the United States do their thing, so I do know how calls are supposed to sound.
I’ve always been able to call in birds with various calls, but would never want to go on stage and demonstrate my abilities before an audience. I will have to say that with both of these calls, I sounded more like a turkey than ever before, at least to my ear. Then I thought about singing in the shower and how good we all sound and had some doubt.
Doris, my wife, is a professional musician and not one to give compliments on “musical sounds” lightly. She’s also heard some of the best callers in the world and then she’s heard me. What would she think? I asked for an audition.
At first I tried the slate/slate and she liked it. Then I tried the slate/glass and she was quiet for a while, causing me some concern, before she said, “That’s the best I’ve ever heard you call.” Wow, coming from Doris that’s quite a compliment.
Just when I thought everything was coming together, we entered the monsoon season in Southern Illinois. It had already rained more than normal for the first 2 weeks of October but now with the turkey season about to begin, the sky opened up and dumped several more inches of rain on an already wet part of the world.
It poured down rain for three of the first 4 days of the season. I was out there but did not locate turkeys in any of their usual hangouts. I’d find shelter and call with both the Spur and Magnum calls with the Old Growth striker but nothing came to my calls. I didn’t see a bird or hear a bird anywhere. I wasn't alone in that but it didn't make me feel any better.
Fast forward a few days. I was driving down a country road when I spotted 8 very large black birds in a field of cut soybeans. Gobblers! I’ve never had much success calling gobblers in the fall. I was looking for a flock of younger birds that I could "bust up" and call back but I’d take what I was offered at this point.
I was able to drive about a quarter mile up the road and park my vehicle out of sight of that field. There was a narrow strip of woods, a power line cut and then another strip of woods between the field, the gobblers and me, if they were still there.
I took a chance and crossed through the first wooded strip and the power line cut and went into the second woods. May as well go right up to the front on this one.
I found a decent tree, caught my breath, got out the Spur slate/glass call, the Old Growth striker and began a pretty quiet calling routine, my version of a purr with some very light clucks. I thought it sounded pretty good but what would the gobblers think?
I’ve never had a gobbler respond to any call in the fall like the one that came to the Spur. He came in looking for the source of that call. He almost caught me off guard due to his speed in responding. I’d like to make it more exciting but it was just a matter of getting my gun in the right position and pulling the trigger when he was at 35 yards. He was down, I was up and it was over!
If this sounds more like a “turkey hunting story” than a “product review”, it probably is but I don’t know any better way to field test a turkey call, than to call a turkey! Everything else is secondary, at least to me, to the ability of a turkey call to call turkeys. These calls call turkeys!
Derby City Game Calls is a new company. I’ve spoken with Brent Stoner and Jim Dawson there and they want to make the best calls that can be made from quality musical instrument grade wood.
Their calls are very reasonably priced, especially for premium quality products and the Old Growth striker is a very unique addition to their product line.
I like these calls and would recommend them to anyone looking for a high quality turkey call. I think you’ll hear much more about these calls as time passes.
You can read more about Derby City Game Calls at their web site and read more product tests at http://www.allaboutshooting.com