The Rest of the Best
Article taken from: Turkey Callmakers Past and Present
Earl Mickel with Howard Pomtier
Joe said, "I'm a very fortunate man to be able to make a living pursuing what I like to do." He guides for $1300.00 for a three-day turkey hunt in Florida, Oklahoma, Colorado and Pennsylvania including food and lodging. His three-day hunt in New York is $995.00 including food and lodging. He also does fall guiding in Colorado for elk.
Joe worked for Purity Ice Cream for three years, installed lightning protection equipment for two years, and worked eight years for Therm, Inc. as a machinist before starting his own business. He enjoys fishing for salmon, trout, and bass, photography, woodworking, archery, black powder and firearms hunting, and he plays guitar. Joe is a member of the N.W.T.F and the West Danby Baptist Church.
He hunts many states each season and has killed many long beards himself and called in many for others. Joe said he has averaged over thirty long beards brought to the gun the last eleven seasons. His best bird weighed 22 pounds, had an 11-inch beard and 1-¾ spurs. He uses a 3-½ inch Benelli or Ithaca Mag 10 and shoots Nitro Rays (Nitro Company) No. 6 loads. He uses a tube call or crow call as a locator and prefers the diaphragm call. Joe said, "Don't call gobblers before the season. That only ruins someone else's chance. Your setup is very important, and you must dictate the pace. I call according to tom's mood and more aggressively if he has hens. I'm not one to move much and will often sit two hours in one location. I had one bird we called 'Old Bigfoot.' I hunted him for a week but never did get him. The best part of that story is that my wife shot her first gobbler in that location. It was in a plowed field and his track didn't compare to 'Big Foot.' New York is one of the states that allows fall hunting with dogs. I have a Boykin Spaniel that works well. She takes the track and yips when she breaks the flock. I put her in a camouflaged bag and wait about one-half hour, then call in the turkeys. It's a great way to fall hunt."
In 1997 Joe entertained many of the original members of the Steel Curtain (Pittsburgh Steelers) and some of the current players together with four outdoor writers. In three days, the eleven hunters harvested seventeen long beards.
Adventure Game CallsJoe began making his own calls and some for friends in 1981. He has been full time since 1988, and his line is becoming more popular each year. Joe offered, "Jack Sincebaugh is my mentor-he is one of the best turkey hunters in the state. Jim Miller visited when I was new at the game and offered some advice on stretching diaphragm calls." Joe has come a long way and now offers a full line of outdoor products in addition to turkey calls. He sells crow calls, deer grunt tubes, head nets, and instructional videos. He offers a double-sided sawn and glued box call made of poplar and walnut with a walnut paddle, cedar pushbutton, injection molded tube, slate over glass and glass over glass with an acrylic striker, and thirteen different diaphragms from one to four reeds. H