Arkansas Tech University’s Director of Strength and Conditioning Michael Golden has a hobby he clings to. Not only does Golden build strength in members of the athletic teams on the Tech’s campus, he also builds his own turkey hunting calls. Every chance he gets, he’s working on making the best sounding turkey hunting call that he can.
Golden has been hooked on turkey hunting for a long time.
“I remember the first time I went; I was instantly spoiled. I got the chance to hunt on a friend’s farm in North Carolina. I was called at 11:30 that night, and I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity. I said let’s go. We found the turkeys, called them down, put out the decoys, called the turkey up and boom. I made an awesome shot,” Golden said.
“Once I was hooked, I was hooked. When that turkey came down off the tree and started gobbling, I thought it was a dinosaur because it was so loud. I’ll never forget it,” Golden said.
The name of Golden’s turkey call company is Golden’s Gunners. Golden manufactures all the calls by himself. The company makes slate turkey calls as well as turkey box calls. Golden has been making calls for three years.
Golden’s love of making turkey calls start when his father was diagnosed with cancer three years ago. Golden moved to Florida to be closer to his father. At this point, his father had reached the part in his illness where he couldn’t get out much, and there wasn’t much he could do. His father had a workshop in his basement where he used to build furniture.
“My father was a very talented man when it came to building that kind of stuff,” Golden said.
Making the turkey hunting calls turned out to be something that Golden and his father got to do together. With his father being seriously ill, making the calls became a challenge, and they got to put their heads together and figure out.
“After a bonfire of trials and tribulations, we finally made a great looking turkey call. It took time after time to get the perfect sounding call, but we finally figured it out and got it sounding good,” Golden said.
There are certain things a manufacturer of turkey hunting calls has to perfect.
“It’s where the holes go and the depth of the holes. The wood doesn’t matter. It’s the design of the call. That’s what separates one person’s call from another,” according to Golden.
The only help Golden receives while making the calls is from his children. Golden has five children: four girls and one boy.
“They have become master sanders. Anytime they need money or have free time, they’ll come out and sand calls and help me prepare new calls. It’s a good part time job for them,” Golden said.
Golden said his favorite type of call to make is the heirloom call. For this call, anyone can bring him a piece of wood that is special to them.
“For example, a grandfathers’ barn that’s over a 100 years old. I can make a call out of a piece of that barn wood, if the piece is big enough. I have made some really nice calls from beautiful pieces of wood,” Golden said. “It’s my favorite because it means so much and its special to others. My kids and I love doing heirloom calls.”
Golden wants to keep his business on the smaller side for now.
“I would love to be a big business, but for now, I don’t want my company to lose what it is,” said Golden.
He hasn’t had one person tell him his turkey call isn’t a good call. Right now the calls are publicized from word of mouth. He has students buy calls from him out of his office. Soon there will be a Golden’s Gunners website.
“Every person that has bought a call says it’s the best sounding turkey call they’ve ever had. I don’t want to get to the point where I have to optimize the manufacturing side of the company,” said Golden.