Thursday, July 25, 2024

‘The Stache’ heard ’round the world: An inside look at R.H. Jensen Game Calls

Meet the fine arts craftsman that fashions one-of-a-kind turkey and duck calls

Ralph "the stache" Jensen is a fine arts craftsman based out of Wilmington, NC who specializes in turkey and duck calls. (Port City Daily photo / JOHANNA FEREBEE)
Ralph “the stache” Jensen is a fine arts craftsman based out of Wilmington, NC who specializes in turkey and duck calls. (Port City Daily photo / JOHANNA FEREBEE)

WILMINGTON—For nearly 50 years, Ralph Jensen and his stache have been working with old growth wood and historic materials to craft the finest game calls around.

From the inside out, Jensen’s game calls are custom engineered for both the caller and receiver. They’re instruments, they’re tools and mostly, works of art. Featured in museums and nationally recognized, Jensen’s game calls have found their way into the hands of hunters across the United States.

The duck call relies on a reed – similar to what’s needed in a clarinet or saxophone – to form its specific and varying sounds.

Just blowing into the calls will produce a sound, but knowing what to do with your hands will give you a leg up on birds out on the field. A little trial and error will do the trick.

“They probably could figure out pretty much on their own, I help to get them started,” Jensen said. “I kind of grunt in mine.”

In his woodworking shop, alongside rows of engraved game calls rests a flock of decoys.

“All these decoys are from people who have traded to get my duck calls,” Jensen said.

He makes the calls for all walks of life: duck calls, turkey calls, from luxury to easily attainable.

Each call is hand-carved, and the simplest models start at $80.

One of Jensen’s finest designs features a checkered, burled walnut with Siberian woolly mammoth tusk inlay. The walnut used in the piece comes from Admiral Anderson’s shotgun. The intricate and historic piece retails for $1,700.

From regal to presidential, Jensen’s inspiration is born by donation, a custom request or spirited intention. He says most people come to him requesting custom game call orders, but still gets asked to do furniture repair out of his woodworking shop, The Master’s Touch.

To learn more about R.H. Jensen Game Calls, visit Jensen’s website at http://rhjensengamecalls.com/.

Each of Ralph Jensen's game calls is hand carved and one-of-a-kind. (Port City Daily photo / JOHANNA FEREBEE)
Each of Ralph Jensen’s game calls is hand carved and one-of-a-kind. (Port City Daily photo / JOHANNA FEREBEE)

Johanna Ferebee can be reached at johanna@localvoicemedia.com or @j__ferebee on Twitter

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