NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — What started as a hobby four years ago is turning into a business for Brent Hoover of North Platte.
Hoover is an avid outdoorsman who loves to hunt and fish. He also loves to work with his hands and create artwork from wood. His hobbies have expanded into a vocation making duck, deer, predator, turkey and even squirrel calls.
“Actually, this was just another something else I wanted to try,” Hoover told the North Platte Telegraph (http://bit.ly/2cnlINj). “I bow-hunted, so I made my own arrows and have gone through that whole process. Matt Green and I got into the idea that anything we hunted or fished with, if we could make it rather than buy it, we were going to try to do that, and it just kept progressing.”
Hoover was laid off from his job at Union Pacific Railroad and since then has expanded his craft. He and his wife, Sherri, are in the process of forming an LLC and will soon have a website up and running for the business.
Hoover found a forum online where he could get advice on growing his craft.
“For a year, I started writing down stuff, and in the process, I thought I’d make my grandson — he was 2 years old at the time — a duck call that would be kind of cool for Christmas. I thought it would be an afternoon project, but it took me two years before I had the sound that I liked.”
From that project, Hoover progressed from making duck calls to the various calls he now makes.
“It was a long process in trying to figure those things out,” Hoover said. “I just like problem solving.”
Each call maker has a signature design and Hoover is no exception.
“Call makers have their own distinct shape,” Hoover said. “So, when I started designing it, I came up with about 50 different shapes, different designs. The shape of my duck calls has a hidden duck in them; the goose has a goose; the deer call has a buck shape in it.”
There is the outline of a duck inside the profile of the barrel. Hoover said as far as he knows, his design is the only one of its kind.
The work begins with a blank piece of wood that is 1.5 by 1.5 by 2.5 inches in size.
“You start by drilling out a five-eighths-inch hole,” Hoover said. “Then you bore out what is called the tone channel, which lies underneath the reed. Most guys will drill that tone channel one-quarter of an inch; some guys will use metric and go smaller or larger. That will change the sound, volume, how much air it takes to operate the call.”
Many small details in the construction affect the sound.
“The phrase that is used a lot is ‘everything affects everything,'” he said.
Once the call has been shaped, it is dipped in oil to protect the wood from moisture.
“I use Brazilian rosewood oil,” Hoover said. “The old wooden boats, sailboats — this is the same stuff they use on them. I figured if this was good enough for boats that were submerged for a long time, then it would work for duck calls.”
The real test of the quality of a call comes during hunting season, Hoover said.
“I have to wait until hunting season to find out if the judges really like it,” Hoover said. “The judges are who I’m trying to get — they would be the ducks.”
Hoover said he is excited about the prospects of his new business, but more important, says his faith is at the top of the equation.
“Every call, on the back of the tone board, my artwork, my carvings, I put my signature as BH or BHoover,” Hoover said. “But also Colossians 3:23 goes on every one: ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord.’ It kind of explains why I do what I do.”
When he first started this, people told him he could do this or he could do that, and Hoover was not certain any of it was possible.
“I thought, ‘Well, I don’t know,'” Hoover said. “But the more I thought about it, it was like, am I putting God in a shoebox — because God can do anything. In my weakness He is strong. It’s just kind of like ‘let God lead the way and see where it takes you.'”
Information from: The North Platte Telegraph, http://www.nptelegraph.com
This AP Member Exchange was shared by the North Platte Telegraph.