Published March 05, 2009, 07:07 PM

Moeller has perfected the art of duck call making

WORTHINGTON — What does being born and raised for 75 years in the same location next to the bubbling waters of Kanaranzie get you? The answer is a true appreciation for wildlife and all things that come from Mother Nature.

By: Scott Rall, Worthington Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — What does being born and raised for 75 years in the same location next to the bubbling waters of Kanaranzie get you?

The answer is a true appreciation for wildlife and all things that come from Mother Nature.

This is Don Moeller’s world, and he took a few minutes this week to share some of those experiences with me.

Don was born and raised about four miles northwest of Ellsworth. He grew up on a farm and spent most of his working lifetime as such.

He did operate a lawn service company for several years and is now retired. Don served as a Green Beret starting in 1953, and swapped stories with my Marine son, who happened to stop in the office to see his dad while Don was here.

The fact that this home place was only a short distance from the Kanaranzie Creek provided ample opportunity to jump shoot ducks there for many years.

Don has made a name for himself in his retirement as a duck call maker. He operates a business called Kanaranzie Calls and now produces about 30 calls per year. Most of the calls that Don creates are made and purchased by collectors. Only 20 percent of these creations actually make it into a duck blind, although they function fine in that environment. He collected old duck calls for more than 20 years, and now helps others in that same effort. In addition to duck calls, he also makes goose and turkey calls.

I am by no means an accomplished duck caller and I have many more calls than I need — I guess I could be considered a call collector.

The key to good duck calling is not calling too much or too loud. These are the mistake that callers make most often. Don’s calls are designed with a mellower tone, designed to mimic the softer sounds of the mallard hen. To communicate with her ducklings and give direction the hen uses these mellower tones.

It is this sound that Don thinks has the best results.

Calls are manufactured from many materials ranging from cheap plastic, all the way to exotic woods.

All of Don’s duck calls are made from wood. These include black walnut, box elder, ash, cypress, sun burst locust and beech wood.

Don showed me a really gorgeous call made from an olive tree that a friend of his brought back from Palestine. It was truly beautiful.

These exotic woods are a duck call makers treat, but for the majority of the calls made, they are from wood that Don cuts on his own property in southwest Minnesota.

The price of the calls vary depending on the wood selected, but normally run in the $40-$125 range. The harder the wood used, the better the sound that is produced.

Most wood dries to useable form in a year or so, but wood like black walnut will have to age and dry for up to four times that long.

Don has generously agreed to donate one of his calls to the Nobles County Chapter of Pheasants Forever for their upcoming banquet on March 27 in Worthington. This type of generosity is not unusual as Don donates calls to many habitat organizations to help them with their wildlife and habitat efforts.

He has a relationship with a gentleman named Monte Albertson who operates a laser engraving business in Sioux Falls, and he dolls up the finished product with any sort of special touches.

The PF call is engraved with the chapter and the year it was given. This call will make a great live auction item and is sure to be one of a kind.

Don has a talent that few others possess, and the only way for me to have a call of this quality is to buy one.

I might just have to step up at the auction to make one of these one of a kind calls my own.

Don still enjoys a few days in the field each year hunting ducks and pheasants and looking for unusual wood. Bagging a bird or good-looking chunk of wood would both be a successful day for this local home-grown craftsman.

Come out to the PF banquet on Friday March 27 and meet Don. He will have a few calls on display and would take this opportunity to talk outdoors with you.

Ellsworth is on the map in the duck call world, and they have Don Moeller to thank for that.

You can get tickets for the Nobles County PF banquet by contacting me at rall@frontiernet.net or calling Rall Financial Services at 507-372-2971.

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