Mossy Oak National ProStaff member Pat Strawser of Millersburg, Pennsylvania, has been hunting and calling turkeys for 35 years. He started entering turkey calling contests in the 1980s. “I grew up in the revival of turkey hunting and turkey calling and the restocking of the wild turkey nationally,” Strawser explained. He has worn Mossy Oak Bottomland since Toxey Haas first introduced it in 1986 and says, “I am a die-hard Bottomland fan.”
Pat Strawser | Mossy Oak ProStaff
I was born and raised in central Pennsylvania, the hub of the turkey-calling world at that time. The Rohm brothers, Rob Keck, Carl Brown and many of the early leaders in the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) came from central Pennsylvania. As the NWTF grew, more and more state chapters were formed, and many of these state chapters began to hold turkey-calling contests. The U.S. Open Championship Contest was once here in Blaine, Pennsylvania. So, I like to say that the real revival of turkey hunting more or less started right here in central Pennsylvania.
I became fascinated with building friction calls, both box calls and pot calls. One of the main reasons I started building calls was because D.D. Adams was one of the pioneers of building friction calls, at least here in our area, and D.D. was my neighbor. I learned a great deal about what I know about building calls from D.D. During those early days of the NWTF contests, I not only competed in turkey calling, but the organization also had a competition for call building. For the pot calls and other friction-type calls, the highest award that a call maker can get is the D.D. Adams Award. The NWTF also gives the Neil Cost award. The D.D. Adams Award was always special to me, because I knew D.D., and I was fortunate to win that award twice. The D.D. Adams Award is not only given for having a pretty call, but it’s also given to the call maker who produces the most authentic calls on the friction call he’s built.
When I got involved in turkey hunting and turkey calling back in the early days, I never dreamed that my interest in the calls of the wild turkey and trying to reproduce those sounds would become my main business. But today, about all I do is build custom turkey calls. Our company produces lots of custom box calls and custom pot calls under the name, Pat Strawser Custom Calls.
Back in the 1980s, I went to a hardware store one time and D.D. Adams was there having some glass cut into circles. That piqued my curiosity. I wanted to know why D.D. was having glass cut in circles, because they wouldn’t fit any window pane I had seen. Later, I’d go over to D.D.’s house, sit on the front porch and watch him build calls. I got bit by the call-building bug and was successful in the call-building business. I thought building calls was a really fun thing to do. So, I started building them and never looked back.
I also became very attracted to and emotionally tied to old wood that we could work with and make calls from, because I knew from where the wood had come. When D.D. passed away, we were able to get some old wood that D.D. had. The calls we made from that wood were really special since I knew D.D.