Name: Larry Hickerson (DECEASED MARCH 07, 2006)
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 Johnny Marsh Calls

If you ever strike up a conversation about duck calls with someone in Reelfoot Lake, the name Johnny Marsh will certainly be mentioned. Although Johnny was not a native from Reelfoot, he frequently visited the area to participate in the rich heritage of duck hunting Reelfoot Lake was known for. It wouldn't be until the early 1940's that Johnny would begin his call making quest and compete against several of the well know call makers like Tom Turpin and Sarpie Shaw who were already known within the duck hunting community. The rest is history as most would say and Johnny Marsh became known as one of the Legendary call makers in the Reelfoot Lake area.

Although Johnny Marsh passed away in 1983 his legacy and call making would continue with the help of Larry Hickerson who apprenticed under Johnny prior to his death. What started out as a student with the desire to learn all aspects of call making, over time evolved into a bond that made Johnny and Larry the closest of friends? Over the last remaining years prior to Johnny's death, Larry would devoted much of his time learning from the master and what was involved in building Reelfoot duck calls or as some reference it the old metal reed calls.

Larry Hickerson was born and raised in Hohenwald TN and currently resides in Nashville TN. Born in 1935 he has spent a majority (60+ years) of his life hunting. He has traveled across much of the country hunting a variety of game, but now spends most of his time hunting ducks and geese in Reelfoot and Kentucky Lake and deer and turkey in the surrounding counties. Prior to his call making apprenticeship he spent 30 years working at Gun City USA Inc. and 15 years at the Metro Water Services in Nashville, TN. Now retired Larry spends his time fulfilling two of his favorite hobbies and passions, call making and hunting.

After the death of Johnny Marsh, Larry took over the company and continued with the daily workload of building duck calls and selling to the public. To ensure operations within the company would continue under the name “Johnny Marsh” he retained the registered trademark "Johnny Marsh Calls" which now belongs to him and his family. Still today, each call that leaves the shop bears the name "Johnny Marsh" just as they did back in 1940.

The ability to follow in the footsteps of a legend like Johnny Marsh is always a challenge and Larry will be the first to admit he occasionally encounters "snags" from time to time. But what call maker doesn’t in today’s call making profession. Simply put, Larry states there is only one thing to remember when making calls. "Take a block of wood and turn off everything that is not a duck call".

Larry continues to build duck calls just like Johnny did when he began. Although tempted by the advancements in technology, which would allow him to outsource production or CNC lathe, he remains steadfast in his decision to hand build each call one at a time. His favorite wood to use is cocobolo. Cocobolo is known for the excellent sound and finish qualities it provides and it is also easy to work with. Other woods used to make Johnny Marsh calls include: Walnut, cherry, maple, hedge apple, persimmon and a variety of imported woods.

Today, Larry makes about 100 Reelfoot calls each year and about the same amount in the Arkansas style. In addition he also provides goose and occasional turkey calls. Customers looking for something more along the lines of collector series can request options such as checkering or carved and even laminated. Ultimately whatever the customer desires whether it be field/hunting grade or collectors grade Johnny Marsh calls are guaranteed to do one thing. Work a duck just as they have since 1940.

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