The small trade show was bustling with activity, with vendors talking about their products with prospective buyers and visiting with friends they knew from pounding the asphalt going from dealer show to dealer show.
Will Primos had a small table with an array of turkey calls and gear. Mostly turkey calls. The low-ceiling in the room held every bit of noise, chatter and duck-elk-turkey-critter call being demonstrated. But for a few moments, the only thing that mattered to Primos at that specific time was me trying to make a double-stack diaphragm call work.
He demonstrated with a few quick “yeeeeookkkk yeeeeookkkk yeeeeooookkkk” calls, expertly so, of course. Mine sounded like Val Kilmer’s character in Tombstone trying to hack up a lung. Primos was patient and, finally, I got out a squeak. Keep practicing, he said.
That was 20 years ago and while my turkey calling still sounds scary, I’ve never forgotten his assistance. He could have just shoved a call and press release in my hand, but didn’t. Folks like Primos make an impact.
He and five other Mississippi outdoorsmen are among the inductees in the Mississippi Outdoor Hall of Fame this year. Toxey Haas is a fellow HoF inductee, and here’s a little tale on him. We were down at the old, gorgeous Portland Landing spread for a turkey hunt one spring thanks to Mossy Oak and a few other sponsors. This was back 15 or so years ago, I think. Time fades some memories.
After supper, Haas walked into the camphouse. “Just wanted to drive down to say hello and see if y’all needed anything,” he said. He sat around for 20-30 minutes, chatting, and then drove back to his home in West Point, Miss., for a family event the next day he didn’t want to miss. That’s probably 2.5 hours one way, maybe a little more. That’s a lot of unnecessary drive time just to say hello to a few stinky outdoor writers.
But examples like those, and others of the MHoF inductees, are what make their legacies great and why they’re in the hall. Congratulations to them, and thank you.
Here’s a press release from Primos Hunting about the induction:
Will Primos Inducted into Mississippi Outdoor Hall of Fame
Primos Hunting Founder Will Primos was among six outdoor leaders inducted into the Mississippi Outdoor Hall of Fame at a celebration inaugurating the Mississippi Outdoor Hall of Fame exhibit at the Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Museum, which opened June 2 in Leland.
Mossy Oak’s Toxey Haas and Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, game manager Ronnie Foy, fishing guide John Harrison, and conservation officer and guide Wayne Self were also inducted.
“We’re honored to have this outstanding group of Mississippi outdoorsmen in the Hall of Fame,” said Billy Johnson, executive director of the Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Foundation. “They have all contributed a lot to the heritage of the great outdoors in our state and have been willing mentors to younger generations coming up trying to learn how to hunt and fish.”
Primos, from Madison, was recognized for his help in shaping the outdoor industry and his dedication to education, especially teaching young and beginning hunters.
“He is one of the most humble, modest, generous ambassadors that the state of Mississippi has ever produced,” Johnson said. “Long after all of us are gone, Will Primos’ footprint will be here.”
Primos started Primos Hunting in 1976, selling turkey mouth calls. Before long, he started getting requests from all over to buy his calls, and by 1979, Primos had to hire additional help to make calls in order to keep up with the demand. He also expanded the line to include other products. In 1983, Primos took his first step into marketing his product with an instructional audiotape. To this day, Primos still checks the quality of the calls coming out of the factory. He is also relentless in his dedication to teaching hunting and calling techniques.
Today, the primary venue for his lessons is television. He is the featured host on Primos TRUTH About Hunting, an Outdoor Channel fan favorite. Viewers can join Will Primos, Jimmy Primos, Brad Farris and friends as they chase turkey, elk, deer, waterfowl and predators from hunting camps in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, to points all over North America. The show airs Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. EST on the Outdoor Channel.
Primos, a Vista Outdoor brand, is one of the most recognizable and trusted names in hunting calls, attractants, trail cameras and accessories. For more information, visit www.primos.com.