Clucking and honking for a title

Raissa Tetanish
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AMHERST - Duck calling is something anyone of any age can learn and Robbie Rolfe is a testament of that.
At the age of 16, Rolfe learned the art of duck and goose calling and has been working on the sounds of it since.
"When I was 16, my father took me duck hunting and ever since then I've been a caller," he said from his home in Amherst.
"I'm a self-taught caller. I learned by listening to ducks and geese, by watching videos and by being around others and imitating them."
At least twice per week, Rolfe is out duck and geese hunting during the season (Oct. 1 to Jan. 1), although he says he would go out seven days a week if he could.
"For me, it's just being in the outdoors. I'm not upset when I don't get anything. Every time is an adventure."
On Sept. 26, the Ducks Unlimited Canada Amherst Waterfowlers Committee will host the Canadian Duck and Goose Calling Championships at the Amherst Curling Club. They hosted the event two years ago, which Rolfe participated in.
He's unsure if he'll participate this year - one of his duck calls has been squeaking lately, and the maker of his other call doesn't want him to use it in the competition.
"To prepare for competitions, I'll blow the call whenever I have some free time. Around this time of the year, I'll start to put together a routine and start practicing it steady," he said.
In the past, Rolfe has participated in the Eastern Canadian Championships, but didn't make it to the final round.
"Duck calling is something I don't think is ever perfect," Rolfe said. "It's sort of like golf.
"Some days you might not feeling you're sounding right, and for competitions, you can even squeak the hail call."
When hunting, Rolfe usually goes out with his father, uncle and a friend or two.
"I like the stories and the camaraderie that goes along with it," he said.
"How long it takes for geese or ducks to come to the call all depends on them. Some mornings when they don't want to cooperate, you can call for an hour straight. It's just one of those things."
The Canadian Championship will see participants in a number of categories in both the duck and goose calling portions - the one-man senior, intermediate and youth levels, or the two-man level. Plus, there's an old man flute portion in the goose calling contest.
Whoever wins the senior duck calling competition here at the end of the month will advance to the world calling championships in Arkansas this fall, airfare and accommodations provided. First prize for the senior competition for goose calling is $1,000 cash.
This year's contest will see a world champion caller as a guest judge.
Buck Gardner, of Tennessee, won the 1994 World Championship, followed by the ultimate duck calling trophy - the Champion of Champions - in 1995.
For more information on or to register for the event, visit ducks.ca/callingchampionship or call 1-888-557-5554.
For tickets to the evening's dinner, call Rolfe at 667-4503.
rtetanish@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Ducks Unlimited, Canada Amherst Waterfowlers Committee

Geographic location: AMHERST, Arkansas, Tennessee

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