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Sunday, May 15, 2005

The musician, the inventor and the turkey hunter

by Steve Sorensen
(Originally published in the Warren Times Observer, Warren, PA., May 14, 2005.)
... gobblers are bowing to “The Ruler”
like subjects to a king.
Lots of evidence suggests that musicians have something special when it comes to intelligence. I’m not talking about book-smarts. I’m talking about aptitude, insight, intuition -- some of that right-brain magic that leads them to those “aha” moments. Musicians have gifts that lots of us don’t have. Nathan DeGroot of Cowlesville, New York is one of those musicians.

He has combined the art of music with the craft of turkey call design. These, next to his wife and family, are his two chief loves. To understand, you must realize that to Nathan, a rock musician, the wild turkey makes sweet music. This big songbird makes a variety of calls, and all are musical notes.

Nathan has patented a turkey call that has box call aficionados and collectors taking notice. He spent several years working on the design, but had trouble getting it right. After the whole project stewed in his head and heart, a breakthrough came to him in a dream. Yes, unlikely as it seems, he literally dreamed up the solutions to the problems he had engineering this unique box call.

Nathan’s box call is the most versatile I’ve ever seen. It’s large, over a foot long, which is one reason he calls it “The Ruler.” He says it also “rules” the turkey woods, and the paddle has markings in one-inch graduations so you can use it as a ruler to measure your gobbler’s beard.

It’s also the largest box call I’ve ever seen, which at first I viewed as a disadvantage. I like to travel lightly, so I like compact equipment. But until seeing “The Ruler,” I didn’t realize how limited a compact box call is. Almost every other box call has arched sides with one small sweet spot. In contrast, “The Ruler” has straight sides over 8 inches long. The sounds it makes are different all along that edge, and different depending on how you hold the paddle. That’s why it so versatile. He calls the sides “reeds” because they function as reeds in a musical instrument.

Another unique feature of this box call is that one end is open -- there’s no end -- which gives the call the ability to project its sound directionally. That’s presumably why he named his company “There’s No End Game Calls”.

DeGroot is a virtuoso on this call. He can run it like the musical instrument it is. It takes only a modest amount of practice, and a good ear. For many hunters it works like a snake charmer on a cobra.

I’m no expert caller myself, but I’m a believer in “The Ruler”. It costs a little more than most, but it will last a lifetime. While most calls are fragile because they’re a series of pieces assembled with glue, “The Ruler” is practically indestructible because the box is handcrafted from a single piece of specially chosen straight-grained red oak, hollowed by a dado blade. Another piece of oak makes the paddle.

When it comes to hunting gear, American ingenuity has brought forth some great products. DeGroot “rocks on” in that tradition, and gobblers are bowing to “The Ruler” like subjects to a king.

So, if you want to carry a unique box call into the woods that the turkeys you hunt probably haven’t heard, “The Ruler” might be for you. If you want a call that doesn’t just talk the turkey’s language but sings it, you’ll want to get your hands on “The Ruler”. If you’re a collector, get a signed and numbered limited edition. I should add that I have no financial stake in DeGroot’s call, but if you’re interested you can check it out online at www.TheresNoEnd.com.


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