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.
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