you didn't know better, you would think someone was keeping a
flock of ducks in the basement of the Mornington Tavern.
On Monday night there was a cacophony of duck quacks and
squawks coming from the Abbots Bar - some sounding pretty
Fortunately, there were no animals harmed. In reality, it was
the tavern's annual duck-calling contest.
This year, the contestants were judged by United States
duck-calling star Mario Friendy, of Oregon.
The 45-year-old has been duck calling for 35 years and has
won many contests, including the Best of the West
duck-calling competition in Utah recently.
Mr Friendy said his father and grandfather had taught him all
the family secrets of good tone/timbre and timing, which had
made him quite successful in the growing sport.
''Contests and hunting are different. Contests are about your
skill in operating a call, and hunting is about your skill to
fool the birds.
''In a hunting situation, you need to make the right sound at
the right time - timing is everything.
''Competition calls are a lot louder and cleaner, and don't
necessarily sound exactly like a duck, because they [the
judges] are going off of caller operation and how good you
''Just because you can win a competition, it doesn't mean you
can fool the birds.''
Such is his passion for duck shooting, he is a sales manager
for several American companies that manufacture duck callers,
camouflage and duck decoys.
As well as judging about 20 contestants in the duck-calling
competition, he was in Dunedin to give advice on how to make
the best use of some products that were new to the market.
''When it comes to duck-calling, you have to sound like the
real thing or nothing good happens.
''A good day down at the mai mai - if we shoot five, 10 or 20
or 50, it doesn't matter.
''As long as we get out and have a good time with the guys,
that's all that matters.''
The duck-shooting season opens on Saturday.