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Cost, Neil

Cost in his shop, Greenwood, SC
Cost in his shop, Greenwood, SC


Greenwood native Neil Douglas Cost was regarded by many as the premiere turkey-call maker in the United States. According to Donna Branch of the National Wild Turkey Federation, “No call maker has had more influence on the craft then Neil D. Cost.” Mr. Cost, a retired U.S. Army Sergeant who served in both World War II and the Korean Conflict, practiced the art of call making for over seventy years. As a young man, Cost learned the craft by observing other makers and perfected it through his many years of dedicated work. He made an estimated five thousand double-sided calls in his career. Through a great deal of experimentation with design, Mr. Cost perfected the boat paddle turkey caller, a “work of deceit” that make all the sounds and calls of the wild turkey.

In addition to his work as a craftsman, Mr. Cost was an author and conservationist. He exemplified devotion to his craft and was committed to educational issues surrounding the sport. As Earl Mickel, a leading authority on the subject of turkey calls states, “Simply put, Neil Cost was the finest custom call maker the country has ever seen.” Cost received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 2002.

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bullet icon Neil Cost on turkey calls... (02:33)

Cost discusses the importance of wood in crafting a call and the different sounds a turkey call should make. Courtesy of the National Wild Turkey Federation.