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Maine guide's book on turkey calls is a must for hunters

. Expert advice: Stu Bristol has been building game calls for more than 30 years.

WE DON'T do a lot of product reports for this column, as it can be looked at as promoting something for some kind of a gain for this old fool, but in writing about a book that my fellow outdoor writer and turkey hunter extraordinaire has produced and is self-publishing, we feel that we're doing a service for all those wild turkey enthusiasts who eventually want to become the end product of the evolution and build their own wild turkey calls.

After reviewing Stu Bristol's "Building Turkey Calls and Owl Hooters," we don't feel at all negative about promoting this book. If you can't put together and be proud of your own call after going by Stu's instructions, your next best move would be to give up all handy projects and order one from him. But if you can read and follow his instructions, you're a lot better off than having bought an inferior one at a sporting goods counter!

The book covers simple step-by-step instructions with photos of each step in building and tuning standard box calls, custom box calls, simple pot calls as well as custom ones, wing bone calls, scratch box calls, owl hooters, and complete instructions on how and when to use each.

An introduction to Stu should verify that he's pretty qualified as an expert on call making and wild turkey biology, and how to call and hunt them. He's a Maine Master Hunting, Fishing and Tidewater Guide, a freelance outdoor writer, Life Member in the National Wild Turkey Federation and director emeritus (and former president) of the New England Outdoor Writers Association.

His outdoor features have been published nationwide for more than 45 years and he's still at it, with monthly features in the "Northwoods Sporting Journal."

Stu operates Orion Guide Service & Outdoor Schools in Lyman, Maine, teaching wild turkey hunting, fly fishing and land navigation, and has been building game calls for more than 30 years!

Owner of Deadly Imposter Game Calls, his most popular call is the "New Englander Model" slate-over-glass turkey call.

As a former Vermont game warden in the 1960s, Stu helped introduce the initial flocks of wild turkeys into New England.

We've fished with Stu on many occasions. He has this wonderful knack of being able to pull a rabbit out of a top hat. There are just too many instances when he'd done something that my fishing partner Brad Conner and the Dickster would have to call "unorthodox", but he seems to be able to accomplish this with both grace and guile. And he's the master of "rubbing it in" every time he's been able to do something very contradictory to our theories and practices and, like we said, pull the bunny out of the top hat.

I'm not much of a turkey hunter or caller, but we recall very clearly the first time we field tested one of Stu's calls, sitting on my grandson's porch just fooling around with the call one morning and getting a very loud and quick gobble response from the field in the back yard. More than one bird lit up the air with desperate answers to my amateur calling.On my first outing, during the special youth wild turkey hunt with my great-grandson Kyle Griffin, we worked a gobbler most of the morning that wouldn't cross a stream. So we crossed the stream and worked into a good looking place to set up and soon Kyle put the finishing touch to the day, when a nice tom picked his head up out of the brush at about 25 yards at my last little scratch on Stu's call and the day was made!

Drop us an email at and get out there and get you some!

Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol


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