Hesss introduction to the wild turkey started at the early
age of 12 when he went on his first PA Spring gobbler hunt with
his father. That one hunt would impact his life forever. Now, thirty
years later Rick finds himself spending time watching, photographing
and hunting wild turkeys. He credits this love and respect of the
outdoors to none other than his parents who instilled in him hunting
traditions, values and respect for wildlife.
Rick was born and raised in Boiling Springs,
PA, which is located in the South Central part of the state. He
still lives there today and has no intentions of moving. He is a
member of several organizations, which include NWTF, NRA, R.M.E.F.
and Ducks Unlimited. He is particularly active in his local Michaux-Yellow
Breeches NWTF chapter and annual donates calls to help in their
Rick began making his own turkey calls, he began collecting them.
Over the past several years he has collected an array of these fine
instruments from a variety of custom call makers. With each new
call he acquired, it allowed him to gather the crucial information
of what makes a quality call and what doesnt. Through his
years of hunting he often thought it would be great to call in a
bird with a call of his own and the hobby of collecting lead him
in that direction. Finally in June of 2001 Rick found himself in
the shop building his own brand of turkey calls.
Call making was a new venture for Rick, especially
since he had no prior woodworking experience. But with each session
in his shop he continued to gain knowledge and experience of how
to overcome the common pitfalls that all call makers face. Rick
considers his call making to be strictly a hobby, but a hobby that
he takes very seriously and this is evident in the calls he produces
today. Ricks calls go by the name Longbeard and he produces
approximately 50 of these field grade calls a year. 50 calls a year
doesnt seem like many but Rick stands by the philosophy that
quality should always take precedence of quantity even if it means
a decrease in the number produced.
of Ricks favorite calls to make is the longbox. Rick feels
this call has the ability to make loud aggressive clucks and yelps
to fire a gobbler up at the start of a hunt, but is also capable
of making soft calls that help finish it. His preference of woods
includes butternut and poplar for the bases, which produce a quality
sound, but he is also fond of mahogany, cherry, wormy chestnut and
a variety of others. He uses cedar in many of his box lids and finds
it consistently produces the best sounds when matched up with other
woods. Other styles of calls produced include Sawn-and-glued and
hewn-out-double-sided-boxes. Both collectors and hunters will be
pleased with the craftsmanship and detail that goes into each call
Rick makes. Each call is hand made my Rick and no call ever leaves
his shop unless he would personally take it to the field for himself.