Greetings Fellow Hunters!
My name is Steve Mann. I grew up as a young man in the very small, little country town of Waterloo, South Carolina. I had hunted squirrel and deer from the age of ten until Roger Mann, one of my six brothers, introduced me to the wild turkey in my early twenties. It was not until I reached my early twenties that Roger introduced me to hunting the wild turkey. I still have fond memories of the very first turkey he called up for me. This gobbler went by gobbling his head off without me even getting a glimpse of him and my brother saying why didn’t you shoot!! I was mesmerized and deer hunting immediately took a backseat to turkey hunting. One day while turkey hunting with a close friend Harrison Forrester, who owned a Neil Cost turkey call made from Mahogany and walnut, I learned firsthand how realistic Neil’s calls were. That call made turkeys gobble on days when they just were not responding to anything else very well. I knew I had to meet the man that could make such a fine call.
I searched Neil out and was very happy to find out he lived only a few miles from me. I started going to his house every chance I got and would pick his brains as much as I could to learn how to hunt the wild turkey. A very special friendship began to develop between us as we hunted together and took rides in the country looking for turkeys. Neil would show me some of his favorite hunting spots and of course would tell many jokes along the way. Neil was the best friend I ever had as well as a master call maker, having so much knowledge of types of wood and how to hunt turkeys. I was fascinated with his call making and I finally got up the nerve to ask him to teach me to make calls. About one year later, he finally told me he would. My apprenticeship with Neil lasted about 7 years beginning in the 1990’s and lasting until his passing. Neil taught me to be patient with the wood saying “you have to learn to make a call sound like a turkey first, and then worry about getting fancy”. It was two years before he taught me how to checker the calls.
I now try to carry on his tradition to the best of my ability. I will always be eternally grateful for having had the honor and privilege of being one of his protégés and friends. I make my calls in the Neil Cost style to this day and will not sell a call that I would not hunt with myself. I stand behind my calls and will always strive to make the very best call I can make with the quality and sound just the way Neil taught me.