Sure-Shot Game Calls co-founder and world champion caller James “Cowboy” Fernandez passed away last week in Beaumont, Texas at the age of 86.

Fernandez worked with Donaldsonville native George Yentzen to design and patent the first double-reed duck call in 1950, as well as the triple-reed in 1968. He was the first Texan and first double-reed contestant to win the World Duck Calling Championship in Stuttgart, Arkansas in 1959 using the double reed Yentzen call. 

He was well known for his calling prowess and won numerous regional and international competitions, and was inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame in 2014.

The Yentzen duck call has deep roots in Louisiana. George Yentzen grew up with the influences of South Louisiana’s great waterfowl hunting legacy before moving to Texas. The Yentzen was the first call to use a unique double-reed design — so unique, Yentzen obtained a patent and had the only such call for the 17-year life of the patent.  

Unfortunately, Yentzen did not live long enough to realize what a revolutionary mark his invention would make in waterfowl hunting history, and passed away in 1958 before he got to see the call take over and dominate duck hunting and calling contests in the 1960s and beyond. 

Following Yentzen’s death, Fernandez assumed the company, tweaked the design and became a one-man sales force. Fernandez took the call and made history on the calling contest scene, racking up local, state, regional and national championships.