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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Legends of the Call

They were developers, innovators, experimenters and, above all, waterfowl hunters seeking to create the most efficient tools possible.
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Story at a Glance
  • Learn how the biggest call makers got their start
  • The history of duck call making
  • A treasure trove of duck-calling literature

David Fuller – Chicago, Illinois

There are mystery men among call makers, and David Fuller, a native New Yorker, may qualify for that group. A salesman by trade, Fuller secured his place in waterfowling history when, in 1885, he was granted the first patent on a goose call. He said the call could also be used to lure cranes to within shooting range. These hunting tools were marketed for more than 40 years.

Fuller's goose calls were made of brass and were nickel plated. The mouthpiece was made of boxwood. One of his most interesting products was a combination duck and goose call, which was patented in 1903. The critical component was a screw, which retracted from inside of the barrel and changed the way sounds were produced.

What call historians have never figured out about Fuller is his relationship with Watts DeGoyler, another Chicagoan, with whom he shared his patents. A silent partner, perhaps. Many of Fuller's calls were sold through mail-order catalogs, including, for a brief time, Montgomery Ward.

George Herter – Waseca, Minnesota

Some may regard him as the P.T. Barnum of the game call industry, but George Herter was a heavy hitter. While he did not personally build each and every call offered in his voluminous sporting goods catalogs, his company emerged as a call-manufacturing leader, due to its commitment to innovation.

Herter recognized early on that new call designs—usually accompanied by glowing advertising text—helped ensure a hefty bottom line. He was a sportsman as well as a businessman, and his interests melded into a booming success.

Among Herter's extensive duck call line was his version of the Glodo call, which he later renamed the Vit Glodo. OK, so he used a bit of poetic license. None of the Glodo family members actually made these Herter's calls, but Herter utilized a similar design and then, in his words, "improved it."

Herter, or Herter's call makers, were constantly tinkering, or making subtle changes to their game calls. Perhaps the most controversial, because some felt it infringed on Tom Turpin's Glodo-style design, was the development of a one-piece reed and wedge block device.

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