'Use your diaphragm': Hunt for the best duck callers in the land

Contestants who managed a single hen quack, a feeding call and a bit of a comeback were on the mark last week when the Lincoln University Hunting Club held its annual duck calling competition.

Organiser Tom Whiting said the club wanted to create a bit of a buzz to get everyone excited prior to the start of the duck hunting season on Saturday.

"We’ve done it on and off for the past seven years and it’s a great fundraiser for the club as everyone has a lot of fun trying to pitch the perfect duck call,” he said.

"It gives everyone a bit of the taste of what’s need for opening weekend.

"After all, they’ve been waiting since the season finished last year to get back out to the lakes and rivers.”

He said the large crowd offered loud and annoying noises as they tried their hand at winning the bevy of prizes on hand for the best paradise, hen and goose calls.

Whiting, an agricultural commerce student at Lincoln University, said he has enjoyed being a duck hunter since his grandfather took him on his first hunt as a 13-year-old on the banks of the Waimakariri River.

“It's being able to trick a wild animal that you're the real thing - to get them thinking that they're going to a safe place,

Lincoln student Hunter Lowe tries his hand at calling a paradise duck for the judges. PHOTO: JOHN...
Lincoln student Hunter Lowe tries his hand at calling a paradise duck for the judges. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE
“It is also pretty cool to be able to communicate with wildlife using the vocal skills that you're built up over the years,” he said.

Reigning champion mallard and goose caller, Braedyn McKenzie, of Rolleston, said the secret of a good duck call was practice.

"Use your diaphragm, don't use your mouth, just use your diaphragm and breathe deep.

"A good caller should always practice, practice and practice some more, go anywhere and just practise,” he said.

Hunter Peacock,14, of Okuku, works on his goose call. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE
Hunter Peacock,14, of Okuku, works on his goose call. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE
He loves shooting and says duck hunting is all about planning your hunt.

“Go out in the days and weeks before the season opens and look at what the ducks are doing, what times of the day are they moving away or coming back. They have a rhythm, and a good hunter needs to know that," McKenzie said.

“Time behind the glass pays off. Last year's season started three weeks later due to Covid, so there will be a lot more birds out there this season, but sadly there is also a lot more water out there compared to the last couple of years so the birds will be much more spread out, making the hunting a wee bit harder," he said.

On the night, McKenzie picked up the mallard and goose calling categories, while Hunter Rowbotham snared the paradise duck section.

Whiting said the judges were impressed with the competitiveness and quality of the callers.

Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter