If you are an avid, well informed turkey hunter, then you need no further introduction to the name DD Adams.
If not, and if you are using several manufactured devices that imitate the true sound of Pennsylvania wild turkeys, you may be surprised to learn that what you are using is "old hat."
Along the banks of the Juniata River, in the foothills of the Tuscarora Mountain Range, south of the tiny village of Thompsontown, in Juniata County, a gentle, innovated outdoorsman named DD Adams began a long career in the pursuit of outwitting the native Pennsylvania wild turkey.
PHOTO COURTESY OF DON DAUGHENBAUGH
DD Adams advanced his turkey call-making techniques, eventually developing slate calls such as this one.
Born in the early years of the 20th century, when speaking the turkey language with manmade devices was a personal endeavor, Adams was about to make history and leave his mark on the art of turkey talk. The long journey began when he began using the wing bones of turkeys bagged in the Tuscarora mountains.
What started as an obsession to outwit smart gobblers by sucking air back through the large humerus bone in the wing soon turned to improved bone structures attached to the smaller bone. That allowed the caller to get more distance and pitch that only native turkeys know how to do.
Not being satisfied with his basic bone calls, Adams moved to other types of devices and soon developed a scratch technique. To accomplish this, his first devices were developed by placing common thin slate over the small base of clay-baked flower pots.
That led to placing slate over hollowed-out wood diaphragms. Each device produced a different tone or pitch created by wooden round pegs or glass, which we call a striker.
Along the path of development came the use of a double slate call where one thin section of slate was placed over another. It soon became apparent that faithful turkey hunters throughout the U.S. realized that the outdoorsman knew what he was talking about.
Hunting turkeys was quite different during the early 1920s and '30s. It was a time when hunters used firearms to get the job accomplished quickly and bring meat home for the table.
I knew when visiting DD's rustic home along the Juniata River that he did not fool around when it came to bagging a gobbler. A wall exhibiting dozens of long beards proved that.
His favorite turkey shotgun was an early Winchester Model 59, backed up with No. 2 shot, which was legal in those days. He knew full well that one pellet meant "dead bird."
The tradition of bird hunting and values that DD possessed was passed on to his nephew, Earl Ritzman.
You can talk to and see Earl at all the large sport shows on the East Coast. By his side, you can get to know Earl and his wife, Cindy, who fine tunes all the calls that they produce in a company called Mountain Side Game Calls.