Michael Meredith: The Making of a Call Maker
Michael "Mr MiG" Meredith is a fast up and coming call maker who has exploded onto the scene the last few years. He builds a great call with the quality and care you hope to receive from every call maker. Mike is a great outdoorsmen and has personally given me feed back and advice along the way in my own call making career. He was kind enough to give me some of his time to tell his story.
The Making of a Call Maker-Michael Meredith
For as long as I can remember, my family has been an outdoors family. I started out running beagles for rabbits with my father at a very young age. Gradually, we progressed to deer hunting. I'm now a diehard bow hunter, but something just seemed to be something missing for me with gun hunting. At some point along the way, I heard my first turkey gobble. Now that was something I could get into. Turkeys are much more vocal and much more interactive than whitetails. Yes, I've grunted in deer, but it’s not the same. I've since called in many turkeys, and I must say, it's a thrill I've yet to top in the woods. Growing up most of my friends were all into duck hunting, which just never really interested me. The thought of standing in freezing cold water waiting on a nasty ole’ duck to fly by didn't appeal to me. Finally, I was persuaded to go for the first time my senior year of high school. Although It wasn't a very productive morning, I still remember watching three mallards respond to my best friend as he worked them away from a bay they wanted to land and persuaded them to land right into our spread. While I was impressed, I never really thought much of it for quite some time.
Fast forward a few years, and some friends once again convinced me to try again. I borrowed waders, gear and quickly found myself standing among flooded timber for the first time. Hugging a tree, I watched the gentlemen I was with pull ducks in, with ease he made them do what he wanted. I found it very similar to how I learned to work turkey and how I still work ducks to this day. Instantly I was hooked, finding I wanted to be more involved with duck hunting, and more importantly, wanted to learn to call ducks. My first call was a Haydel's DR-85. It was nothing special, but it’s where figured out the basics and even became enough to fool a few mallards in the process. Once I became a more proficient caller, I thought I had to have a high dollar call. My first “name brand call” was a RNT Timbre in hedge, which is still my favorite wood to this day. From there I went crazy with calls, you could say I had an addiction. I bought calls from as many different call makers as possible, then a light bulb went off...I can do this myself.
I received my first lathe for Christmas in 2012, and from there, what I can only describe as a maddening obsession began. I set off on a journey to build what I felt was the perfect duck call. Looking back now, it would have been cheaper to simply keep buying calls from other call makers. You must understand, I'm a bit stubborn and I was convinced I could make something just as well. Now I'll admit, I've made my share of turds in the beginning and have a drawer full of expensive firewood inserts to prove it. With every failure I learned a lot as I made shavings late nights in the garage. After six months I was able to make a call that I felt was worth trying to reproduce. Yes, six months of failures and effort, but I was proud of it. So, the next step in this madness was to send off and have a jig made from that insert. Four jigs and some serious dollars later, I think I've created as good a call as there is on the market. I've also learned that they’re hundreds of guys just like me, doing the same thing in garages across the country during midnight hours. One call, one at a time, hand turned in their garages. Truly custom pieces of art made by guys that are into carving amazing pieces, guys that laminate their own materials together into beautiful patterns, and people who simply love to turn wood into representations of themselves.
I've made some beautiful calls, if I do say so myself. I've made some calls that I shouldn't have let leave the shop when I started (those turds I mentioned earlier). Met some awesome people, made some great friends, and I feel like I've come full circle in this journey that we all enjoy of duck hunting. The thrill isn't the shooting to me anymore. It's standing next to a tree, in knee high water, working ducks. I honestly don't care if I ever shoot another duck again. Now I'm sure I will, but I've got two little duck hunters to raise and as long as they're in the woods with me, I'll be happy just working birds. My MiG Custom Call hanging around my neck, made in my new shop (yes, I've recently upgraded from the garage to a nice little shop in my back yard), watching my dog do his thing, and enjoying the looks on my boy's faces every time I sit a group of ducks in their lap. It's about more than shooting to me; it's about the memories.