Elite Refuge Member
- Jan 14, 2001
- Reaction score
Haven’t read anything on the forum in quite some time, and saw this scribe.
Congratulations to Bronson, ALOTTA competition no doubt he felt from speck killers on the Gulf Coast….. which as it began decades ago when white fronts decided to move Eastward into SW Louisiana.
Specklebelly calling is unique in its’ own way as it was until the early 60’s only 2 states wintered white fronts- Texas and California. California held the most, but calling took off as the birds moved into Louisiana. Prior, Dudley Faulk’s speck call was the call of choice for the Gulf Coast hunters……California? Hear tell someone made a box call similar to a Canada box call but that was it as far as I can research such. If you know more, please let us on your thoughts as well.
As stated by Nathan Wright to myself in 2008 (owner/Red Bone) around 1970 reps from Olt Call Company showed up for a hunt in Lake Charles, Louisiana. They offered samples to the guides that were at the hotel at the time. Mr. Nathan states he started experimenting with the various calls and found the Olt Fox/ Coyote call when back pressured produced the speck yodel.
I spoke to others about this in SW Louisiana and none of them confirmed what Mr. Nathan said, but they all agreed the timeline for Olt calls being used for specks matches what he says, but here is the interesting part- Phil Olt NEVER KNEW his predator calls was being used by goose killers in SW Louisiana until Mervis Saltzmann (my goose calling mentor) went up to Illinois to talk to Phil Olt
For those who do not know of Mr. Mervis, he is a rice farmer living South of Gueydan, Louisiana. Mr. Mervis (with his Chien Caille calls- pronounced SHIN KAI) had been making cane duck calls for some
time. He had found taking the Mylar reed from the Olt calls and switching with a hard rubber reed have a more true speck sound AT THAT TIME. Phil Olt, so happy Mr. Mervis came to him to show in person a different species of goose could be called that he sold his calls to Mr. Mervis as blanks with no Olt logo stamped on it. Tim Grounds had asked the same from Phil Olt, but he refused (goes to show you how big of a deal this was IMHO).
It was Mr. Mervis’s intention to convince Olt to switch to a hard rubber reed, but Phil Olt chose not to. He came out with the Olt speck call in 1980/1981(?) and did well on sales, switching the insert from green to brown.
As California moved into hard times for ducks and geese- mid 1980’s- the other 3 flyways had only same DRAMA with ducks. 30/3 was the reality check for
Mississippi Flyway duck hunters, and as
one follows when Canada goose calling became popular, duck hunters realized hunting geese could double their time afield- 70/2 then for Mississippi Flyway. Louisiana hadn’t wintered Canadas in many years, but they did have specks and a 72/2 season to hunt them. According to Mr. Mervis, this is when his business of making speck calls took off, having as many as a dozen wanna be speck hunters learning how to call at the Chien Caille camphouse.
Mr. Mervis was a generous man in teaching others, but he was also an
anal retentive German, meaning he believed in PERFECTION. If you couldn’t take his cussing at you, you best not show up. Fragile egos had to be left at porch when you requested his help……and I saw a fair amount who left with a call and
didn’t come back.
As I started expanding my waterfowl adventures Westward from Louisiana, I
stayed in constant contact with Mr. Mervis over the years. I would tell him about killing specks in Arkansas in the mid/late 90’s, Oklahoma and Texas panhandle in 2000, then eventually in California. He came to California to hunt in January 2007, hunting on one club N of Sutter NWR and another near LDC. Then the limit was 4 per day, and he was fortunate to get on some awesome speck hunts- a special thanks goes to Pete Teglas and Gary Forrester for making such possible.
Mr. Mervis stated the hunts were similar to the ones when he started hunting specks HARD in the late 70’s, but at the time we went he could see the good days were behind him for his area in Vermillion Parish. Sadly now, Mr. Mervis doesn’t hunt anymore or make calls. Olt family now runs the business, so his connection to
Phil Olt is no longer there. I spoke to him about 5 months ago, and the cheerful boisterous voice was in no mood to talk, unusual for him as he was always happy to give an opinion on something.
Why do I bring this you may ask? Well, all one has to do is pull up on YouTube speck calling and the amount of individuals helping others is limitless. Some offer history on the call (which 99% of them is a joke!!!) and let’s hope the ones who made all this speck calling happen are not forgotten. Nathan Wright should be included in this IMHO (and he did state to me Mr. Mervis was his mentor), Eli Haydel should be noted too. “Cowboy” Fernandez from Texas with his Yenzten Calls deserves his place in this noteworthy accomplishment, and Phil Olt
and his input should not be forgotten.
Phil Olt and his calls are the base of many calls we see today- Arkansas style duck calls, Canada flute, Canada short reed, small bore speck calls- and knowing family DRAMA pushed him out of the business is not how to see one part from one’s passion. FYI, on original
Canada short reed…..Olt L-22, same barrel as the Olt T-20 fox/coyote call but with a black insert. As Canada short reed/speck calls evolved to what they are today, not surprisingly their design show similarities. Thank you Skipper Campbell for telling me this years ago.
California currently kills more specks than any other state in the other 3 flyways wintering specks, and with a 107/10 on days to hunt/ daily bag limit no one comes close to that, not even Canada. Louisiana has lost their main wintering population of specks, but the Gulf of Mexico has lost their wintering population of artic geese as well. Mexico has lost their speck wintering numbers for Pacific and Central Flyways (and take a guess where the PAC Flyway birds they lost winter now?) We all must understand our resource we treasure to hunt every fall, and as a state we can hunt specks somewhere from the first Saturday in October to March 10th, pretty amazing considering at one time it was 39/1.
That’s all I have to say- sorry if I bored you. Have a great turkey season.
Enjoyed your story! Would love to hear more if you have them.