Famed La. duck call maker passes away

Eli Haydel, a man who turned his passions for music and duck hunting into a successful international business, has died. Haydel, of Bossier City, La., passed in his sleep early on Nov. 25. He was 73.

Eli Haydel took up the clarinet and saxophone as a teenager, and played in numerous bands and quartets throughout his life. Coupled with an affinity for hunting, he began entering duck calling contests in 1975.

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He won several calling titles, and his success naturally led to Haydel’s Game Calls, Inc., a business Eli Haydel started in his garage in 1981. The enterprise, which is now run by two of Eli’s sons, Kelly and Rod, offers 150 hunting-related products, and still features duck and goose calls as its primary items.

“I started calling when I was 14,” Eli Haydel told Delta Waterfowl photographer Fred Greenslade during a 2008 duck hunt near Lake Charles, La. “I didn’t know what I was doing. Later on in life, I became more proficient with a call and won a few contests. I came up with some components to make my own duck calls. It was just for the fun of it. Unbeknownst to me, it was an overnight success.”

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Source: Delta Waterfowl