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Lebanon’s Dies calls in turkey trophy
Feb 28, 2013 3:45 pm
The only way Lebanon’s Clarence Dies could get more in touch with his inner-turkey would be to roost in a tree and eat bugs out of the garden.
Over the years Clarence has earned a national reputation as a turkey expert. He studies their behavior and the sounds they make, and uses that expertise to craft calls that mimic the birds’ yelps, clucks and purrs.
One of his Three Tracks calls won an award during at the recent National Wild Turkey Federation convention at Opryland Resort.
“To place in a national competition was pretty special,” says Clarence, whose calls had garnered state-level awards in the past. “I take a lot of pride in my calls, and it was gratifying to have one do well against the best in the country.”
Clarence, who started making turkey calls in 1999, crafts each one by hand in his shop behind his house. Photos of him at work, along with a video and a gallery of big toms he’s harvested over the years, are available on his website, www.3trxturkeycalls.com
Clarence builds his calls from a variety of wood he collects in the area: cedar, walnut, poplar, cherry, butternut and sassafras. Friends who come across special lumber often bring it to him – such as a rare chestnut slab from an old pioneer cabin that had been demolished.
Clarence makes five different kinds of calls, each which makes a slightly different sound. Some are deep and raspy, others high-pitched and sharp.
“No single call can cover all the sounds wild turkeys make,” Clarence explains. “Even an individual turkey makes a wide variety of calls. Sometimes one type of calls gets a gobbler’s attention, and another time he may ignore it and respond to another sound. That’s what makes turkey hunting so challenging – every experience is different.”
It’s hard to say exactly how long it takes to make a call because Clarence keeps dozens in various stages of production, but safe to say that several hours of work are invested in each one.
Clarence is a three-time holder of the “World Slam of Turkey Hunting” which means that he has bagged all five known species of gobbler, including the rare Ocellated or “Jungle Turkey” of the Yucatan.
Interestingly, the Ocellated turkey is not hunted by calling it in, as are other species, but rather by stalking it through the jungle.
“I’ve always wondered if I could get one to respond to a call,” says Clarence, who has made two hunts in the Yucatan. “But my guide told me to keep quite and slip around, so that’s what I did.”
Even though Clarence has hunted turkeys throughout the Western Hemisphere, his favorite place to chase gobblers is on and around his Wilson County farm.
“This is where I learned to turkey hunt and there are lots of great memories here,” he says. “Just about every spot I go, I can recall a time when I called in a big gobbler there. Those memories make it special.”
Clarence says the greatest thrill for him is not shooting a turkey, but in getting a wily long-beard to respond to the seductive rasp of a call and come strutting in, looking for the hen – only to discover that the hot hen is named “Clarence.”