John's Turkey Calls
up in a small town and spending time hunting with your family is
one of life's greatest gifts that we often fail to pass on to the
next generation. Fortunately the small town of Morrison, Illinois
where John VanderSchaaf was born and raised won't have that failure
happen. See, John and his wife Carolyn share 6 children and 8 grandchildren.
Both having lost former spouses and having known each other previously,
decided to get married in 1999. What makes their marriage unique
is Carolyn wasn't introduced to hunting until after they were married.
Now each year when hunting season approaches, they both anxiously
count the days when they can take they're 6 grandsons hunting in
VanderSchaaf has worked as a professional bricklayer for over 42
years. Unfortunately in early 2003 John was laid off from his bricklaying
job. What made matters worse was this lay off would last for 6 long
months. Now most folks would start looking for another job or just
sit back and relax, but for John, he had other thoughts stirring
in his head. With idol time now on his hands, and turkey season
approaching fast, he decide to try his hand at making turkey calls.
Most novice callmakers first attempts resulted in a crude sounding
product. In fact many novice callmakers quickly give up on the challenge,
but not John. He continued on his quest and found himself challenged
with what kind of woods work together best. Ultimately his biggest
obstacle would be locating a source for those woods. With the help
of a friend who owned a portable saw mill his obstacle soon vanished
and shortly after he found himself experimenting with a variety
of wood combinations that would produce the sound he was looking
learning how to build quality calls becomes easy the more you practice
at it, but the real task is whether or not one's calls will produce
results in the field. This is where John found himself relying on
friends and family members to be his field testers. The plus side
to this equation is when the call fails there is no refund to worry
about, but if that call succeeds, word of mouth can quickly spread.
In the beginning, John was never very confident about his calls,
but that quickly changed as friends began to tell stories of how
they were able to call in large Toms with relative ease. This was
the feedback that let John know he was on the right track for building
custom turkey calls.
date John has now produced over 200 calls. This coupled with the
comments and enthusiasm he receives at local sport's expos has hooked
him for life. With phone calls from customers eager to buy his calls
it seems he can't find enough time to spend in his shop. In fact
John often jokes that he looks forward to being laid off because
it gives him the time need to do the thing he loves the most, which
is make turkey calls.
The name of his calls, "Big John's Turkey
Calls" originated from his nickname at work, Big John. His
calls are made from a variety of woods, which include: cherry, hickory,
mulberry, walnut, poplar, osage orange, red elm, chestnut and cedar.
His favorite call to make is one that includes inlayed wood on the
paddle that matches the side panels of the call. John's calls are
available in both field grade or custom. Each box is numbered, signed
and dated and carefully hand tuned for a double yelp, with each
side producing a slightly different sound. Satisfaction is guaranteed
on all of Big John's calls and if the customer isn't satisfied he
will gladly refund the money or let them replace it with a call
of their choice.