Cedar Hill has mixed business with pleasure for Downsville hunter
Somewhere in the quiet, winding backroads of Union Parish sits a modest shop with no fancy signage or facilities. The fact that you just about have to be lost to find it fits right in with the whole story.
Inside the shop is the office, headquarters and part of the manufacturing facilities of Cedar Hill Game Calls and Camo Cord, LLC. Sitting behind the modest desk is Jerry Antley, a legendary but quiet icon in the world of turkey hunting. Magazines, papers, photos, and gear are stacked all around. All of them have one thing in common: turkeys.
“I love turkey hunting and I love helping others talk about turkey hunting,” Antley said. “It’s why I got into this business.”
Among dozens of turkey related calls and equipment is his major “trophy.” It isn’t made of plastic and doesn’t have shiny figures or a plaque. It’s a small, neatly packaged Little Scratch Box, the signature product of Antley and his company. Although he has branched out into other wildlife calls and has a multitude of turkey calls, it’s the Little Scratch Box that put him on the map. And keeps him there.
That and his other accomplishments in the outdoors also put the Downsville resident in the first class of the Louisiana Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the National Legends Hall as well. And deservedly so.
Where he lives is quiet. His work location is quiet. And he’s quiet, until he starts talking turkey. Then things liven up quite a bit.
“I’m greatly honored to be a member of the Legends Hall of Fame nationally, but it’s special to be inducted in my home state of Louisiana as well,” Antley said. “Our little company accomplished so much. I’m jut glad to see it recognized and turkey hunting in general get recognized. Who would have thought.”
The Little Scratch Box is a small version of the bigger scratch boxes and calls that most turkey hunters use. But the Little Box fits in your pocket. When you are lugging arms full of gear into the turkey woods, that’s a big plus. It’s great for close distance calling and can make a beautiful purring sound that drives Big Toms crazy.
Handmade from 100% pure cedar, it requires CH13 chalk. Antley has calling down to a science. And eagerly shares with others. Spend 10 minutes in a room with him and the call and you feel like you are ready to enter the world championship.
“Use your chalk generously and hold the striker stick between your thumb and middle finger. Gently drag the beveled edge of the striker at a 45 degree angle over the thin edge of call,” he said. “Just practice a few times. You will soon make this one of your favorite calls!”
Antley has a long resume in the outdoors. Antley is the owner and founder of Cedar Hill Game Calls and Camo Cord, LLC and runs the company with his son, Randy. He has traveled extensively marketing the calls and volunteering with turkey organizations.
But he does mix his personal and business life — almost totally. He has been a National Wild Turkey Federation volunteer most of his adult life; a former Grand Champion Louisiana turkey calling champion; former Grand National Turkey Calling Championship judge and was the 2016 Union Parish Chamber of Commerce Businessman of the Year. Nobody knows for sure, but wouldn’t be surprised if, while most of us just yawn a couple of times, Antley doesn’t cluck and give a little purr every night before he goes to bed.
Lifetime turkey hunter
Antley is a lifetime turkey hunter, including registering a Grand Slam harvest of all four U.S. subspecies of wild turkeys (Eastern, Osceola, Rio Grande and Merriam’s). Those turkeys are proudly displayed on his office wall with other game trophies.
Hitting the high points, Antley has been a member of the NRA since 1968; a NWTF member since 1977 where he was on the Board of Directors for six years; has served as banquet chairman and as an officer on local and regional NWTF groups as well and has taken over 100 turkeys.
“Words can’t describe this,” he said. “This is the most humbling thing that ever happened to me outside of my faith in Jesus and my family. Antley is also grounded in his faith as a member and leader of the Mt. Ararat Baptist Church and his faith has guided him to and through all his accomplishments.
“When I started turkey hunting nearly 60 yeas ago, I loved it,” he said. “I still do. I love being involved in turkey hunting in any way. I had been doing it a long time, but knew there was more. That’s why I started up the company with the Little Scratch. And I volunteered any way I could. And now, 40 years later, I’m still doing both.”
You can learn more about the Hall of Fame, founded by Garry Mason in Tennessee and headed in Louisiana by Peyton McKinnie of Marion, on Facebook.