DURAND, Wis. (WEAU) -- A local man is literally the master of animal calls.
Dave Constantine, who lives near Durand, has competed in the largest wild animal custom call championship in the United States year after year, and he continues to win.
The National Wild Turkey Federation holds a national championship each year in Nashville: a competition that Dave knows very well and dominates almost every year he enters. He has 10 wins as the Grand National Custom Call Champion. The second closest competitor has 3 wins.
“Dave, we should go turkey hunting,” one of Dave’s friends said to him about thirty years ago. “I thought, I don't know nothing about it.”
Now, Constantine’s occupation deals closely with hunting, and he competes year after year against 200 or more of the best call makers in the nation.
“I love the competition,” Constantine said. “I’m a fierce competitor. I don’t have to always win. At this point in my life, I don’t really care about the accolades and the ribbons and the trophies. They’re nice, but it’s just the pure essence of the competition that I really enjoy.”
His custom made calls are eccentric and finely detailed. He says some of them take over 400 hours to hand make.
“The appeal is that it's custom,” Constantine said. “It's handmade.”
The ones that he takes to competition are contemporary decorative and get auctioned off, but he also makes ones to use while hunting.
“The other side of that is the hunting field grade calls, which I do lots of: turkey calls, deer calls, water fowl calls, all handmade," Constantine said.
A volunteer with the National Wild Turkey Federation says Dave’s craft goes well beyond his competition.
“He’s one of the top call makers in the country as far as decorative calls go,” Earl Duckett said. “He comes to the table every year with unique designs. He sets the standards.”
Dave takes off over a month at a time during different times of the year to go hunting. He says he will continue to make calls until he can’t do it anymore.