Return of the Gearhead

Saturday past saw me driving at a very early hour from Cambridge to Barrie so that I could go hang out with my in-laws and pick up my son (they had taken him off my hands for a few days.
Now no drive along Highway 400 North is complete with a stop at BassPro Shops.  So that’s what I did.  See, last week I was sitting in my basement blaring away on my Tim Grounds Super Mag (as is my habit) and it made a couple of funny, squeaky notes.  Since this call has been money for me (and plenty forgiving too) I chalked it down to operator inadequacy, which is usually the case so early in the pre-season.  After a half-hour or so, my wife came down to inform me that I ought to consider making practice time over, or she’d make it over by force.  The call was full of all sorts of condensation, so I took it apart to rinse it out when I noticed a couple of cracks starting to form at the tip of the reed.  This call has seen me through almost five years of hard-hunting, constant practice, and even a couple of contests, so for the reed to make it that far was great, frankly.
I would be remiss if I don’t also mention that in my haste I once accidentally slammed it in my car door in the morning darkness…since then it has had a mean chip and crack in the end piece, but it still sounds great.  Still, the small cracks in the reed and the slightly out of tune squeal were flimsy enough pretenses for me to stop in at BassPro and peruse their waterfowl calls, decoys, and gear.
I tested out some layout blinds, priced out some dekes, and attempted to try some goose calls.  I’ll be posting later this week on my findings in the blind and decoy fields, but this post is really about customer service.
I won’t be slagging BassPro; all I will say is that I can’t believe they weren’t able to find “the guy” who had the keys to the acrylic and exotic wood goose calls.  Also, they didn’t have any replacement reeds or parts for my Super Mag, so I decided to look into repairing it through the dealer instead.
In this case, the dealer was Tim Grounds himself.  I went to his website, and gave him a call that Saturday.  I got his shop voicemail, so I flipped him an email with the details on what I need.  Not only did I get an email back from Juda Grounds first thing on the next business day (i.e. today) but I also got a personal voicemail from the man himself.
Not to gush, but I’ve read a lot about Tim, watched him on TV and in hunting videos, and used his instructional tape that came with my Super Mag to nail down some pretty good sounds.  All the testimonials on his site indicate that he’s just a humble, nice guy who is passionate about hunting and hunting calls.  In that vein, the goose call he made that hangs on a lanyard around my neck has lead to the demise and preparation into delicious food of many, many Canada Geese in the last five years, and it has also been hanging around my neck during the creation of some lifelong memories; some of which I’ll be sharing with you the reader in the next weeks and months.  This phone message is about as close as I’ve come to being associated in any way with a real hunting icon, so forgive me my rock star adulation.  My wife doesn’t understand it either.
The outcome?  I’m getting a true craftsman that will personally repair and tune my call, a good story, and I don’t have to break the bank.  That’s a triple-win for those of you who are counting.

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