I’m always yelping about buying local if possible, so when I found out about Mountain Hollow Game Calls, I knew I had to meet these guys.
During my walk through the Yankee Sportsman’s Show, I chatted with a fellow that had a display table set up. As a hunter, I am always interested in turkey calls, and the Mountain Hollow Game Calls booth was a bit of gobbler heaven. After buying three of my favorite mouth calls, one being an Orange Raspy Hen, I got talking to some of the staff.
In short time they introduced me to Ken Hammel, the owner and head of the family owned, local business out of Potsdam New York.
Originally, the business venture was located in Altoona, Pennsylvania, by Ken and a friend. However, after Ken’s friend passed away, it was time for a change. Ken was offered a pastors position in Saint Lawrence County, so Ken, his family, and the business moved to Potsdam. This was a rare happening; a company moving into NY. It seems; most move out. (Things haven’t changed. Now we have to wonder about the Remington Arms Company in Ilion moving to Alabama).
Now after 32 years, the Mountain Hollow boys still produce many handmade calls. The company is small compared to nationally known companies like Primos. But Ken says they are big enough, sometimes too big. The pro staff assembles many of the calls themselves, and the big seller is the Double Talk Extreme; glass over slate friction call. The glass gives a crisp sound and the slate, a mouthy raspy boss hen turkey talk. (Reminds me of a few old big mouth co-workers of mine, all talk)!
I’m a big fan of the raspy sound. I have killed a few gobblers when they came strutting in to what they thought was gonna be a little romantic interlude, only to find an old Remington Model 11 pointed their way.
The company also produces deer calls, scents, doe urine and turkey box calls. If you google them at Mountain Hollow Game Calls, you will be amazed at what is being produced in our neck of the woods.
Spring is coming our way, believe it or not and every once in a while my mind wanders towards opening day turkey season. Keep your ears open this turkey season; you may even hear the “Gobbler Gospel” as Pastor Ken, starts preaching to the birds, with one of his game calls!
Cutting hair and cutting for Tom’s!
Back in the late 70’s getting a haircut wasn’t on my agenda growing up in Western NY. I had other things on my mind. I was just a “Simple Kinda Man”, going to Rich Stadium to see Lynyrd Skynyrd and hearing ” Free Bird”.
Just down the road from Rich Stadium was the budding infancy business of another kind of free bird. Orchard Park is not only home to the Buffalo Bills, but Quaker Boy Game Calls was hatched there as well.
Originally they were the Quaker Boy Barber Shop and Quaker Girl Beauty Shop, owned and operated by Dick Kirby, the barber and his wife Beverly, who ran the beauty shop. The Quaker Boy Company name originated from the Quakers, who first settled in the Orchard Park area.
As an avid turkey hunter and Wild Turkey Federation member, Dick created his own calls for personal use. His first mouth call was made with a balloon, a piece of aluminum siding cut to size with tin snips and held together with duct tape. Now, that’s cool! True blue MacGyver!
Cutting hair and talking turkey with customers, led to making calls for customers, and eventually it became more profitable than haircuts. The transition was made, and now after 30 years the family owned and operated business continues. Quaker Boy Calls are one of the top turkey call business’s in the nation. The Quaker Boy Company, not only make turkey calls; they also sell predator, deer, elk, moose and waterfowl calls and hunting equipment. Google, Quaker Boy Game Calls, and you will see how a family hobby and business grew to national proportions.
Dirk Kirby passed away a few years back, but his heritage of creating some of the top turkey calls and his dedication to Wild Turkey habitat lives on.
New York is a great place to hunt and fish. We have a bounty of turkeys, (especially in Albany) deer, bear, grouse, trout, walleyes, salmon and other fish and wildlife, due to the conservation efforts of concerned citizens and dedicated conservation employees, despite the politics and bureaucracy. We can do more though!
If you want access to lands, the management of property to restore and provide quality habitats, the ability to hike, camp, hunt and fish and you want to keep it that way, please get involved in one of your local fish and wildlife groups such as Trout Unlimited, the Wild Turkey Federation, Whitetails Unlimited, the Ruffed Grouse Society, the National Rifle Association, Farm Bureau and the NYS Conservation Council. They say the world is run by those who attend the meetings. So I ask: “who do you want, or don’t you want to take your place, if you don’t go”? Get involved!
The battle to KEEP our RIGHTS is never ending. Reminds me of another Skynyrd song, “Gimme Back My Bullets”!
Rich Redman is a retired District Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and an avid outdoorsman. His column will appear regularly. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.