Name: John VanderSchaaf
Address: 12585 Garden Plain Road; Morrison, IL 61270
Phone: 815-772-3624 Fax:
Personal Website:

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 Big John's Turkey Calls

Growing 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 the woods.

John 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 for.

Overtime, 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.

To 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.

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