Shelling out big bucks for vintage, homemade duck calls

If you’ve ever thrown away an old wooden duck call or sold one for a buck at a garage sale, you might have made a big mistake.

Some of the most sought after vintage calls sell for more than $10,000. And a really special one might be worth enough to pay off your mortgage.

Last weekend, I attended the Fin and Feather Expo at Blue Bank Resort on Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee. This event replaced the old Reelfoot Waterfowl Festival, which had gone defunct a few years back. There was a great mix of new and old, with all the latest and greatest products and a ton of vintage calls. It was the old stuff that drew my attention.

I had no idea there was such an interest in old custom-made duck calls, but it is serious business. There were hundreds of folks in attendance hoping to find a special piece of history to add to their collection. Many of them were carrying around briefcases full of goods, like they were in a James Bond movie.

I learned there are certain types of collections. Some people collect Reelfoot Lake calls. Others collect Arkansas calls or Missouri calls or Louisiana calls. There are Big Lake calls, metal reed calls, double reed calls and many other types of collectibles. The whole culture is extremely interesting.

Rob Hurt is a serious collector from the Reelfoot Lake area. So naturally, he specializes in Reelfoot Lake calls. He was glad to see so much activity taking place at the expo.

“Moving to Blue Bank has made this a very successful event. The number of vendors doubled from 18 to 36. The crowd more than doubled. And we had call makers and collectors from 21 states,” Hurt said.

Hurt had numerous tables lined with calls for sale or trade. Most of these tables were outside, but he had a special table set up in his room where the big deals took place. He is so into collecting he actually has a business focused on it called Feathered Finds.

“The most I know of any call selling for was $18,000. I personally sold seven calls for over $5,000 each,” Hurt said.

See you down the trail.

Brandon Butler’s outdoors

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