in the world can make a father more proud than when his son starts
learning how to blow a duck call. For Jon Graham this dream has
already come true even though his son Jon Jr. is just a toddler.
It all happened when Jon was showing some of his custom calls to
a customer and Jon Jr. picked one up and blew like he had done it
before. This prompted Jon to immediately turn a special call for
his son which he proudly wears on a two-call lanyard with of course
his pacifier on the other side.
Graham was born in 1967 and lives in Palestine, Texas with his wife
and son. He has been an avid hunter since the age of 11 spending
most of his youth hunting with his stepfather. During his younger
days, duck hunting consisted mostly of jump shooting, but as time
passed he began hunting with decoys and learned just how important
the role of a duck call played. That first hunting and the sound
of a comeback call was all it took for birds to lock
up and come into the spread. From that point on Jon was hooked.
Today Jon spends most of his time hunting public land in Palestine
Texas, which is located several hours south of Dallas on the Trinity
River Flyaway. Here there is an abundance of lakes and reservoirs
and prime public hunting areas that have been developed by the State
of Texas and Ducks Unlimited. But, hunting on these public spots
is no walk in the park. Many times Jon and crew arrive hours in
advance hoping to beat the crowds of other hunters that flock to
these spots. Fortunately the payoff can be great, with limits of
mallards, teal, widgeon, pintail, redheads and an occasional canvasback
being added to the bag.
Jon started making calls it was because he wanted to learn how and
why calls worked the way they did, or in some cases didnt
work. Although he had used several of the calls you find on the
market today he never found one that suited his style of calling.
He began turning his first calls from kits available on the open
market. Soon after word spread and friends and family members began
requesting that Jon make one for them. After making several of these
kits Jon realizing that he had an eye for shaping the calls and
decided to go full force and create a call from scratch, but not
before he acquired the right tools for the trade. With the help
of his dad he built a tone board jig and even went as far as building
his own mandrels and other tools needed to complete the job. These
skills alone gave Jon a great appreciation for the craftsmanship
that goes into building a call.
a lot of trial and error and help from other callmakers Jon is now
proud to be selling his own line of calls that go by the name Marshhunter
Custom Calls. Jons Marshhunter calls have been available to
the public for two years and he averages round 150 calls a year.
Calls are available in both field grade and collector and come in
a variety of acrylic and wood with his favorites being those made
with Cocabolo and Bocote. Jon is also venturing into other types
of calls. Currently he is looking at pintail whistles and has future
plans for teal, wood duck and also goose calls.
his recent success in turning calls, Jon is frequently asked if
he will ever mass-produce his calls using CNC machines. In response
to that question Jon replies: As a callmaker it is very rare
that you find two callers that blow the same way. This in itself
makes it hard to satisfy everyone and is the main reason I like
personalizing hand made calls for the individual. True words
spoken from a dedicated Custom Callmaker.