Turkey Time: P.S. Olt Co. has long history of producing calls
In this case, turkey time means start of the annual spring wild turkey hunting season in Minnesota. Due to efforts by the National Wild Turkey Federation and Department of Natural Resources, the wild turkey has taken a strong hold in many parts of Minnesota. This increased population has meant an early season opportunity for the hunting enthusiast. Seems fitting we discuss a nationally recognized company with a long history of producing wooden turkey box calls -- P.S. Olt of Pekin, Ill.
According to text in, "The Art of American Game Calls," by Russell E. Lewis, by 1947 the P.S. Olt company had been manufacturing its famous D-2 duck calls for 40 years. By the latter date this company was making seven different types of game calls. They included duck, crow, goose, adjustable bird call, mallard, hawk and a cedar box turkey call. It's the box turkey call we want to focus on for this week's dialogue.
The early model F-6 turkey cedar box call was priced at $1.50. Meager compared to today's prices, but not so in the late 1940's. One of the unique aspects of this companies' line was the use of hard rubber. We will talk about that in a later article. For now, let's continue with a description, what to look for and price value of a vintage P.S. Olt company wooden turkey gobbler call.
As noted, the earliest records of cedar box Olt turkey calls are from the late 40"s. The 1966 Edition of the "Shooter's Bible" listed 17 different game calls produced by Olt. As expected, the wooden box turkey call was one of those listed. Cabela's 1970 and the 1981 Point wholesale catalogs both identified the wooden box call as still in production by Olt. The tenure of this call is admirable and illustrates its' effectiveness in hunting situations.
A well-known and respected box call is the Olt gobbler/hen "yelp" model GB-110. It was in production prior to the use of the zip code. This particular box call is made of two different types of wood. Most wooden turkey box calls have a moveable top, which is gently "scratched" over the side tops. Chalk is a must to get the proper sound as well as a string or rubber band, which added variable pressure to fluctuate the intensity of the "yelp."
Most hunters left their chalk inside the call so it was always handy. An advantage of this call was minimum movement to avoid detection by the keen eyes of the turkey.
A simple screw and spring holds the two wooden pieces together. The box call is easy to use due to its' simple design. The model GB-110 top piece is 9 3/4" long, the bottom 7 3/4" in length. It came in a two-piece hard cardboard box with decent graphics and the customary Olt Logo on each side. Look for that logo, model number and the phrase, "famous line...hard rubber and wood" on the box. The call top should have a decal stating Olt. Company, address, model number GB-110 and words turkey gobbler call.
Lastly, each call came with paper written instructions. Put all those pieces together and you have a very desirable package for display. The call pictured is from private collection and was purchased in Sept. 2006 for $51, which included shipping. The Russell Lewis text states most Olt calls with original packaging should be worth about $50. A quick check on eBay showed an asking price of $85 for the same GB-110 Olt wooden turkey box call. That may be a bit over-zealous, as I believe the lower figure is more accurate. Even though this is a very nice collectible, never hesitate to use it in the field. This wooden turkey has stood the test of time. Until next time, may all your searches be successful.