Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation



First Advisor

Peter Chametzky


This thesis explores the history of the wild turkey call and the role of decorative callmakers in the world of art and craft. Is a turkey callmaker an artist or a craftsman? Are their decorative turkey calls works of art or works of craft? This debate is explored via the decorative turkey calls that have won the Decorative Turkey Call Best of Show portion of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Grand National Callmaking Competition. These winning turkey calls are currently on display at the NWTF’s Winchester Museum in Edgefield, South Carolina.

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1973. The organization is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of the hunting tradition. The headquarters for the NWTF is located in Edgefield, South Carolina. The headquarters has a 7,200 sq.ft. museum that supports the mission of the National Wild Turkey Federation with the exhibition of hunting- and preservation-related items, including a large collection of over 500 turkey calls. In 1994, the NWTF hosted the first national competition for decorated turkey calls. The competition continues to this day and has become the epicenter for turkey call making excellence.