Have you ever met someone that can just do anything? From professional careers to hobbies, everything seems to come natural to them.
Mike Simmons at his shop in Jackson, MS.
I’d like to introduce you to a friend and fellow call maker who fits this description. He is one of the most talented craftsman I’ve ever met. Mike spends his days practicing law and his weekends making whatever he decides. From turkey and duck calls, lanyards, duck straps, shop aprons, bird carvings, paintings, and even carving his own turkey decoys. He doesn’t have big name sponsors and up until recently he had given away most every call he’s ever made. He gets a great deal of satisfaction out of giving a kid a call in hopes of building their excitement and curiosity into the waterfowl world. His generosity is one of his most notable traits.
Mike Simmons (Dos Patos Calls), is a present day renaissance man. I had the opportunity to meet Mike almost a year ago. We became friends as soon as we shook hands. I could tell immediately that he had a true passion for call making and the outdoors.
Mike demonstrating one of his turkey calls.
Mike’s call making venture started out as a bucket list thing about 15 years ago. One day, he decided he wanted to make everything, barring his gun, that he needed to turkey hunt. He was already loading his own shells and making various other pieces when he set out to make his first box call. After many attempts, he finally got one with the tones he liked. He, like others before him, became quickly enamored by the process of creating something with his hands. With the fire lit, he started crafting more box calls. But he wasn’t done there, Mike got the crazy idea to carve his own turkey hen decoy. This was a slow go. I can’t imagine the task of turning a block of wood into a turkey decoy! He was roughly 3/4 of the way done as opening day approached. Here’s where the story gets good—
At the time Mike’s son was 9. This was going to be his first opening day carrying a gun in high hopes of harvesting a long beard. Before he went to bed on turkey eve, he asked his dad if they could take the decoy with them in the morning. Mike, knowing he would have the daunting task of painting and finishing the decoy that night, said, “of course”. He finished “Penny” as she was so affectionally named after that hunt, around 1am that morning. After only a couple hours of sleep, they set out and harvested his son’s first turkey over “Penny”.
Mike eventually ventured on into pot/slate calls and trumpets. He says the trumpets were the most difficult he tackled until he began experimenting with duck call toneboards.
It was roughly 3 years ago when he decided to take the leap into crafting his own duck call. Much like myself, his original goal was to make a call that he could hunt with himself. He did it the hard way, using a flat jig and creating his own sound and tone. Much respect my friend!
Since that first duck call, he has amassed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medals from NWTF held in Nashville each year. Mike has never taken an “order”, but has recently decided to make his calls and other hand made products available on a limited basis (50 or so per year) to anyone that would like to have one. I personally have a duck call, pot call, lanyard, and shop apron. All center pieces in my collection and the shop apron I use everyday in my call making quest.
So you may ask, how does one go about getting in touch with Mike to order a call. He made it easy. He’s got a separate phone just to speak with you guys about calls. That number is 601-228-2323. Give him a shout to talk shop and hunting and get on the list for one of his special hand made pieces.
Thank you Mike Simmons for doing it the right way and keeping a tradition alive!