Westmoreland County man develops new deer calling system
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On the best fall mornings, when the chill in the air and frosty crispness of the woods foretold of whitetails on the move, Valentine Wtorkiewicz always would try to walk to his tree stand silently.
He never succeeded.
The leaves were always too crunchy underfoot. They gave him away with each step.
That prompted a change in strategy. He started walking the last 150 yards to his stand with a toe-to-heel step, snapping the back of his foot down to imitate the sound of a deer walking through the woods. That not only didn't scare deer away, it often seemed to attract them, he noticed.
“The more and more that happened, I thought, there's got to be something to this. It's not just coincidence,” said the Acme, Westmoreland County, man.
That prompted the creation of his Talk the Walk deer call.
It looks like little more than a small camouflaged pillow. Crunch it with a “snap, release, snap, release” sequence, though, and it mimics the sound of a deer walking through fall leaves.
It's meant to be used in several ways.
Early in the season, using the call alone can prompt one deer to investigate what he thinks is another moving in on his territory or food, Wtorkeiwicz said. Later, as the rut approaches, the call can be used in combination with grunt tubes and/or rattle bags to sight call to a buck you've spotted or to blind call to unseen deer by sounding like a buck chasing a doe.
In all cases, the extra realism created by the Talk the Walk can mean the difference between drawing in a buck or not, he said.
“Absolutely, environmental sounds are a huge part of an animal's world,” Wtorkiewicz said. “Deer don't float past your stand. They don't float through the woods. From the time they're born, as soon as they hear that sound, they associate it with another deer on the ground.
“That's what makes this very effective. It's the signature that convinces one deer he's really hearing another.”
Chris Ungvarsky of Turtle Creek is a believer. He came across Wtorkiewicz's website by chance last year and bought a call. Ninety minutes into using it, he called in and killed an 8-point.
“He just came in on a rope. He walked right in,” Ungvarsky said.
He used rattling horns and a grunt tube with the Talk the Walk. But he's convinced it “was definitely a part” of his success.
“In today's deer woods where every Outdoor Channel-watching Elmer Fudd out there is rattling and grunting like mad, this call adds a depth of reality that could just be the deciding factor for a wary deer investigating the source of the calls he's hearing,” Ungvarsky said. “It's another tool in your arsenal.”
Wtorkeiwicz has spent eight seasons perfecting his now-patented call. Now he's trying to figure out how to sell it.
That figures to be a challenge all its own.
“It's a fierce industry. There are all kinds of calls out there. And there's seemingly something new coming out every day,” said Bob Stover, managing partner of the Thomasville, Ga.-based Lynch Traditions, which has been making turkey calls for 75 years.
Stover is supplying Wtorkiewicz with the SuperFlague camo material for his calls and plans to market it in the retail store he's opening later this month. It's an “innovative” product with a lot of potential, he believes.
It's one shortcoming is its packaging, he said. It comes with a label that tells customers to visit the company's website to learn the “how, where or when” of using the call.
It needs directions right on it, Stover said.
“If it's in a store with 1,500 other retail products, people have to be able to tell what it is right away. They don't want to have to buy it and take it home and look up a website to see how it works,” he said.
That said, the call has gotten a good reception from most people he's shown it to, he said.
Rich Stoner of S&S Sport Shop in Rockwood said he was impressed by it, as well. He's bought a few to try to sell in his store.
It's tough for any new product to crack the market and even harder for it to stand the test of time, Stoner said. During a recent redesign of his shop, he threw away a half dozen peacock screamers, which were all the rage as turkey locator calls at one time but haven't sold in years, for example.
But the Talk the Walk has a chance, he said.
“It might not be the magical cure that always works. But it might be something that convinces a deer to come in. Or it might even have a calming effect on a deer you're trying to bring close. That's pretty critical in archery hunting,” Stoner said.
“I think he's on to something.”
Wtorkiewicz is making his calls himself in between working a full-time job and raising a family, while also doing his own promotion and marketing.
But he's hoping if he gets enough calls in the hands of hunters and they have success with it this year, his idea will grow into a full-time operation.
If so, those noisy early morning walks into the woods may pay off.
“This is a product that works. That's what I've got going for me,” he said.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.
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