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Carney handcrafts turkey, deer, duck calls at his local shop

Natchez native Chris Carney, owner of Full Choke Calls, displays one of the slate turkey calls he made Thursday. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)
Natchez native Chris Carney, owner of Full Choke Calls, displays one of the slate turkey calls he made Thursday. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Chris Carney knew he wanted to make hunting a part of his every day life growing up as an avid hunter in Natchez, but it wasn’t until January of this year that he set out to chase his dreams.

Carney said he has been raised around hunting since he was a toddler.

“In the South, we’re pretty much raised to hunt and fish,” he said. “I’ve been hunting with my dad since I was old enough to walk.”

Full Choke Calls offers turkey, duck and grunt calls, among other items. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)
Full Choke Calls offers turkey, duck and grunt calls, among other items. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)

Carney said he had hunted everything the South has had to offer by time he became a teenager, but he found a new challenge to conquer.

“I got into turkey hunting when I was about 14, so I have a little over 20 years of turkey hunting experience,” Carney said.

Hunting was always just a hobby growing up, but when Carney knew he wanted to start his own business, it didn’t click to make a career in the hunting industry until late 2012.

“Last December, a friend and I were offshore (for Professional Directional) and we were thinking about what we can do to get on TV for an outdoors show, and that’s where the thought came in that I’ve been turkey hunting for 20 years,” he said.

That’s when Carney got the idea to invest in making his own custom turkey calls. Carney said he started off slow to see how the public would respond to his business endeavor.

“I said, ‘Let me buy a few turkey calls and see how it goes,’ and the first 15 calls came in January and were sold before we even ordered the materials.”

Deciding to sell turkey calls just a few months before turkey season in the South proved for a quick start, Carney said part of the reason for his success is because he is known around the area as somewhat of a hunting expert.

“People know me as a big turkey hunter and outdoorsman,” Carney said. “If I put my name on it, then they pretty much know it’s the real deal.”

Carney demonstrates how he makes a mouth diaphragm turkey call in his shop on Liberty Road. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)
Carney demonstrates how he makes a mouth diaphragm turkey call in his shop on Liberty Road. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)

Carney starts by hand sanding and hand crafted the wooden exterior of the turkey call, then he adds a wooden soundboard before adding a glass or crystal casing on top.

Carney said the different casing makes a different sound.

“The turkey calls make sounds of a hen to attract turkeys,” Carney said. “You use a variety of calls and techniques because it’s not natural for a turkey to go to the hen, usually the hen goes to the turkey.”

Another type of turkey call Carney makes is called a mouth call. A mouth call is a hand-free device used to imitate hen sounds, just without the hassle of needing both hands while also holding a gun.

“When turkeys get closer, you might not want to use your hands because a turkey’s sight is unbelievable,” he said.

After a successful spring selling turkey calls part time, Carney saw his business start to fluctuate once the turkey-hunting season ended. He then knew he had to expand his products.

“Turkey hunting is so seasonal, so after turkey season, everything fell off,” he said. “So I hunt a little bit of everything, and started making calls for deer and duck calls as well.”

As his business really started to take off, Carney named his self-made company Fullchoke Calls. Carney said the name came from the calls ability to get a hunter close to their game.

“Fullchoke is a reference to a shotgun choke,” he said. “A fullchoke makes the pattern real tight and close. That’s what my game calls do. My slogan is ‘Get ‘em close’ because you will get the game close to you.”

Carney’s calls all have custom engraved designs on them, ranging from personal logos, pictures of himself to the name of his company.

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