Call of the wild

Darrell Cole
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Ducks Unlimited hosts fowl event in Amherst

Call of the wild

AMHERST  Its music to every hunters ears, and for those whove perfected it using a duck or goose call, its like playing a musical instrument.

You wont hear it at Carnegie Hall but the sound of the call brings people together to celebrate their passion for hunting. Ducks Unlimited Canada hosted the first duck and goose calling championships in Amherst with participants coming from across the Maritimes to compete for a chance to attend the world championships in Arkansas in November.

Its a celebration for the grassroots level. The calling circuit is just starting to get big here and we wanted to hold this event to see if we could bring people together and raise some money for Ducks Unlimited, participant and organizing committee member Darren Hassan of Aboujagagne, N.B., said. This is big for us because this is the only sanctioned competition in Canada.

Twenty-two-year-old Matthew Wilson of Scott Siding, N.B. won the senior competition and will be attending the world event as the Maritime champion duck caller.

I started hunting when I was really young. In Grade 1 or 2 my father started bringing me along and he always had an old goose call and I used to play around with it, Wilson said. About a year ago I got interested in competition calling so I started to practise. I went to my first competition in Halifax and didnt even place. I enjoyed that first competition and it gave me the desire to get into it and I jumped all over the opportunity to do it again.

The top prize includes airfare to Stuttgart, Ark., hotel and $350 spending money while Sundays goose calling championship saw $1,000 awarded to John Vaca from Liberty, Mo.

Vaca has been in competition for more than a decade and was thrilled to get the chance to come to the Maritimes to help grow the sport.

The duck and goose calling competition takes the sport you like and takes it to another level, said Vaca, who was also a judge in part of the duck calling competition.

It gives people something to do 12 months of the year instead of just picking your call up during the hunting season.

Vaca said participants have many different styles and spend hours preparing for competition. He said its much more than blowing through what hunters call a death whistle.

Jeff Foiles of Pittsfield, Ill., who has a world goose championship to his credit, operates a duck and goose call company and has hosted and attended calling events all over North America. He is pleased the sport is gaining a foothold in Canada and, while it has a long way to catch up to the United States, he was pleased with the enthusiasm at the Amherst event.

Organizations: Ducks Unlimited, Carnegie Hall

Geographic location: Amherst, Canada, Arkansas Aboujagagne Halifax Stuttgart, Ark. Liberty, Mo. Pittsfield, Ill. North America United States

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