WILD BLUE YONDER: A hobby of making duck calls quickly turned into a business for Deer Creek High School students
Move over Duck Commander.
A hobby quickly turned into a business for some enterprising Deer Creek High School students who are making and selling their own duck and goose calls.
Yonder Waterfowl has only been in business for a few months, but they have already received dozens of orders from waterfowl hunters across the country for their custom-made duck calls. All of them are handmade in a Deer Creek garage.
Matthew Loftis and his brother, Carter, and their friend, Carter Noble, are Deer Creek High School soccer teammates, duck hunting buddies and now also business partners in Yonder Waterfowl LLC.
Matthew Loftis and Carter Noble have been avid duck hunters the past four years, going once or twice a week during the hunting season.
Last summer, Loftis became interested in making duck calls after reading an article in a woodworking magazine. He asked his friend, Noble, to join him, and they invested around $2,000 in a lathe, woodworking tools and materials and went to work.
Through trial and error, they learned pretty quickly they had a product they would sell. They sent a duck call to Bryan “Bam Bam” Marshall, founder of Wishes for Warriors, an organization that provides outdoor adventures for wounded veterans.
When Marshall posted a video on Instagram endorsing Yonder Waterfowl and urged others to support "these good ole' boys from Oklahoma," the orders quickly started arriving.
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They were on their way to Kansas City to watch Energy FC in a playoff game when they learned of Marshall's video.
“When he shouted us out, we got so many orders coming in, it was crazy,” Carter said. “We probably immediately got 500 Instagram followers and 30 orders.”
Now, the boys spend as much time in the garage as they do their homes, pulling some all-nighters to fill orders.
“We had a Christmas rush,” Carter said. “We would wake up and go duck hunting and come back and just make calls.”
Carter's brother, Nick, and cousin Parker Noble are students at the University of Oklahoma and help on the marketing side of the business. The boys have created a logo, plan to sell Yonder Waterfowl merchandise and are building a website.
“They took it upon themselves to do this,” said Carter's father, Tom Noble. “I kind of laughed when they said they were going to do it, but they figured out how to do it. I am behind them 100 percent.
“I love what they are doing. Not only are they selling a great duck call, it's also a piece of art. It's one of a kind, made by hand.”
They make a special call in Purpleheart wood for Purple Heart recipients. They are also creating a pink-colored call they are donating to the March fundraiser at Deer Creek High School for Project 31, an organization that provides help and support for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Yonder Waterfowl sells its wood calls for $55 each and acrylic calls for $65 each. They plan to start showcasing their product at some of the local outdoor shows, but they can be reached through the Yonder Waterfowl Facebook page, on Instagram (@YonderWaterfowl) or via email at YonderWaterfowl@gmail.com.
The most common request they get from hunters is to make calls using the colors of an alma mater.
They haven't made a duck call yet specifically with Deer Creek colors in mind, but when they do, perhaps they will call it “Wild Blue Yonder.”
Just a suggestion.