Game calls have a long history of attracting wild game and fowl, and since the mid-1800s,
thousands of calls have come and gone in the marketplace. Now considered important pieces of
Americana, game calls are becoming prized additions to many collections, especially those made
before the modern era of manufacturing.
Native Americans used auditory calls long before the settlers of North America, and natural
materials such as grass blades, bone, antlers, and sticks were often used to draw in game animals.
By the 1800s, inventors made the first woodwind instrument-style calls and friction calls, setting
a baseline for future developments in design and style. Although traditional calls are widely
popular in game hunting today, the presence of the digital age is apparent, with electronic calls
and smart phone apps available to the tech-savvy hunter.
In regards to overall value, it’s important that a game call retain its original finish and that it
has a clean appearance. If a call originally came with a box and instructions, having all three will
typically hold better value than the call alone.
Phillip Olt made two calls considered to be the most popular models of all time: the
D-2 duck call and the A-50 goose call. He is considered the father of the manufactured call
Herter’s of Waseca, Minnesota, was well known in the 20th century for its game calls and
slightly offbeat mail-order catalogs. Models like the Herter’s 903 Deer Master deer call and the
Plantation turkey call are easy-to-find collection additions
A rare 1905 duck call made by James Tillman Beckhart set an auction record in 2012 for the
most valuable duck call ever sold, reaching $103,500