Interview with Capital Waterfowling (2/3) - Canadian Call Makers
Check out Part One of our Three Part Interview HERE
As most of our readers know now, Ryan Reynolds, along with Eric Gryba, run Capital Waterfowling. We caught up with Ryan, along with Matthew Wilson who is one of their premier Pro Staff and was a founder of East Coast Waterfowl Mafia right here in New Brunswick.
In part two of our interview, we get into questions about the business itself. We also discuss a bit about the East Coast Waterfowl Mafia, and what Matt sees in the future for that group. We also began looking into how media expansion of shows like Duck Dynasty has affected their businesses.
Wilderness Obsession: Tell us a bit about CW calls and what sets them apart from the competition. What was it about the widely available calls at the time that drove you to design your own?
Ryan: That's a good question, and probably one of the most commonly asked questions... but it's just as hard to answer every time. It's hard to answer what sets us apart from anyone else because it's hard to answer the question of what sets any duck or goose call apart. When you come down into the fine adjusting of the sound that you're looking for and the tone that you're looking for, it comes down to a trained ear. [Gesturing] This call might have this aspect of what you're looking for, and this call might have that, but as a call-maker you can lengthen the call, or shorten the call; you can restrict the sound more, you can do different things to the inside of it that will change certain pitches at certain times. The inside bore is kind of what will separate us. I can get into the technical side and tell you that we're the only Canadian-made call at a top-notch level like that; we have the credentials. We're the only Canadian-made call that has made it to a major box store. We are sold in every province in Canada except for the territories. That would separate us I guess you would say. And what leads us to wanting to make our own calls and use our own stuff is that until we started making it, for the most part you had to get everything out of the states. And there were always companies that, because we had done what we were doing at the level we were doing it, they always wanted us to do stuff for them that would benefit them and their company. It got to the point where sometimes you follow but sometimes you take a chance and you lead. I wanted to start it and do it because I literally woke up one morning after thinking about it for years and looked at myself in the mirror and said, “you know what? If this is something that I don't do, when I get to 50 years old I will look at myself in that same mirror and you never even tried it?” If you try it and it doesn't work then at the end of the day you tried it, you got to blow your own calls, we got people to blow the calls that we made, we accomplished what we accomplished and we can say that we tried it!
Matthew: And really, at the end of the day, why couldn't it be done in Canada? Nobody's ever done this before at this level. Why shouldn't we be the first? We've got the time in the industry; we know what a call should sound like. We've been to the world stage and travelled all across the States for waterfowling competitions. We know what a call should sound like and we knew what we wanted.
Wilderness Obsession: Did the growth of waterfowling television shows in the States have an impact on sales and awareness of your company here in Canada? The “Duck Commander” was known for many years to obsessed hunters, but it seems like now you can find their branding and calls in stores you wouldn’t expect. Has the seemingly increased awareness of duck hunting helped, or has the explosion of that brand actually harmed independent sales like yours?
Ryan: Waterfowling has grown I think. Not to contradict your question but being in the industry, I almost think that the growth of the waterfowl shows (Duck commander did do a big job of introducing non-hunters into the market of hunting. There's no contesting what they've done.) but I think the waterfowl shows have come to life to moreso keep up with the demand of the waterfowl industry.
Matt: Absolutely. More people especially in this area [New Brunswick] are starting to get into it because they've realized it's a lot of fun! There's a lot more birds around now and maybe the deer population in certain areas is not that great. I think more people are trying it now and it's definitely starting to explode. All they've got to do is try it and they'll be pretty well hooked.
Ryan: A lot of people are using it to get young hunters into it, because it is action-packed. The kids don't have to sit still and be quiet, and that kind of stuff. It's a good avenue to get new hunters into the sport.
Wilderness Obsession: Let’s shift from calling waterfowl to actually hunting them. Where is your favourite place to hunt birds and why? How does New Brunswick Goose Hunting compare to Ontario or other regions you’ve been?
Matt: My favourite place to hunt them is home; there's no place like home. I don't think anybody can pull you away from that. If anybody said to me “you can only hunt one place for the rest of your life,” it would be home. Even though there's tons of other places around that have way more birds.
Ryan: I have places where I grew up that I shot my first limit at, or I hunted there when I was 16 because it was the only place I had permission. I'd go hunting there tomorrow if there were four geese in the field and I'd be happy if I killed only one because it's special. Home is definitely it.
Matt: There's no place like home. I love hunting in Ontario. Right around where Ryan lives there's a lot of birds. The terrain is pretty flat, and there's a lot of geese. There is a lot of farmed ground. Where I live there's a lot of farmed ground but there's a lot of rolling hills and there's a lot less geese. It's pretty competitive at times. That would be the big difference between the two places, but there's no place like home.
Ryan: I've hunted all across the country. I've been really lucky to be able to guide at some of the premiere destinations, in the western provinces and such. Out there is fantastic. It's the western provinces. It is what it is. Your variety of species is incredible. It's hard to pick one or the other, but home is definitely where it's at.
Matt: For us here too, we can be pretty diversified. Where we have the salt nearby, we can hunt geese in the morning, then hop in the truck and drive 2 and a half hours and be hunting eiders in the afternoon. There's not many places you can find something like that. We love it.
Wilderness Obsession: (To Matthew)Tell us a bit about the East Coast Waterfowl Mafia. We’ve noticed that in addition to Youtube, recently ECWM started airing on NTV in Newfoundland.
Matt: East Coast Waterfowl Mafia started off as grassroots just like Capital Waterfowl. It was just a few guys who had an idea, and always loved to film our hunts because we loved to be able to watch it back. The whole idea of that started off pretty simply and now we have a pretty good following. We have our clothing line and we have a really successful youtube page and people just love our videos because we're no different than any of them. We are all tradesmen who work for a living: weekend warriors. When the weekend comes we're going out. What we do, anybody can do. I think people really love it because of the grassroots part. With that growth we've had people like Newfoundland Sportsman show an interest in coming over, and they filmed with us last year. It's an ongoing thing; we're always pushing to promote ourselves. With Capital Waterfowl we've joined them and created a pretty big family. Here in Canada there's no other entity together like us.
You won't want to miss the third and final segment which will be posted on the weekend, where we get to discuss hunting with the guys, and even hear them demonstrate their Canadian Championship level calling.
Contact us and let us know!