Callers set to have a quack at it

Duck-shooter Quinny tries out a duck-caller in the lead-up to a national duck-calling competition. Photo by Sally Brooker
Duck-shooter Quinny tries out a duck-caller in the lead-up to a national duck-calling competition. Photo by Sally Brooker
If North Otago's duck callers are any good, feathered fodder will be waddling along to an Oamaru inn.

A duck-calling competition is being held at the Sports Central Brewhouse on May 1, two days before the duck-shooting season's opening day.

It is part of a New Zealand-wide quest to find who is best at enticing ducks to come within the shooters' range.

While it might sound comical to outsiders, it is a practised art for those who take their duck-shooting seriously. A good duck caller can persuade ducks flying high overhead to land on the water close to where the hunters are hiding.

A special device is used to make noises like duck sounds, convincing birds in the air there are already others safely on the water. The caller needs to make various sounds, some like strident quacking and others like the softer, burring noise ducks will make.

Entry is free to the Oamaru competition, which starts at 6pm. Oamaru Licensing Trust marketing manager Jessie Waite said she hoped a huge crowd would take part, as there was more than $1000 of prizes to be given out thanks to the trust and North Otago Hunting and Fishing.

The winner goes on to the national final in Queenstown in June. The New Zealand champion gets a trip to the United States for an international duck-calling contest.

- by Sally Brooker