I grew up on the shores of the lower Chesapeake Bay and waterfowl heritage was a large part of my upbringing. The shed was always full of decoys, carving ducks was a typical winter past time and there may have even been a duck skiff built in the back yard. Duck calling came natural to me at a young age and I spent many days calling ducks in the creek behind my parents house. I was encouraged by my parents to enter duck calling competitions and did well in them. My family always duck hunted and I started trying to make duck calls in 1987 at the age of 12. My father taught me how to use the tools and equipment, but we had no history of call making in my family. Turning blocks of wood into a useable duck hunting tool seemed like something fun to do. This was long before the internet and easy access to information. Learning how to make calls was largely a trial and error process. My first duck call reeds were cut from plastic milk jugs and cork was salvaged from auto gasket material. I was always supported and encouraged by my parents which made anything I wanted to do possible despite the lack of resources. I was also fortunate to be mentored and encouraged by accomplished craftsmen I had met in my competition calling travels. Sam Cox, Billy House, Sean Mann, Jack Wilson, Mike McLemore, Ron Weineke, and others all helped to mold me into the call maker that I am today. I still continue to learn the art of call making; it is a continuous process.
Waterfowl heritage is still a large part of my family. There are still decoys in the shed, ducks in the creek behind the house, blinds being brushed, calls being made, and our faithful Chesapeake Bay Retriever Rudder making the rounds. If I am not in the shop, most days find me on a boat in the Chesapeake Bay fishing or hunting. Like many of my ancestors, I am most comfortable on the water.
Faith, Family, Heritage, Tradition
Brian Watkins 2021