Duck caller quacks the big time
A return to the World Waterfowl Calling Championships has proved a happy hunting ground for two Kiwi callers including young Nelsonian Holly Irvine.
Five years and several national titles since her first calling attempt, the 13-year-old from Richmond, near Nelson, represented New Zealand in Easton, Maryland, over the weekend.
As the only female competitor and one of the youngest competitors at the world championships, she joined Otago’s Hunter Morrow in the Mid-Atlantic United States, after making her debut in 2016.
This year, Holly took out third place in the junior duck calling division with a total of 538 points, just behind the winner California’s Colby Stilwell.
As well as a trophy, she took home US$150 for her effort.
Reigning NZ champion Morrow came second in the world open duck division and third place in live goose calling - the best ever return by a Kiwi at the event.
‘‘New Zealanders should appreciate just how big an achievement this is – these two are right up there with the world’s best,’’ said organiser of the New Zealand championships, Adam Rayner.
‘‘Holly and Hunter deserve high praise for what they have done.’’
Rayner said a duck calling was ‘‘a difficult skill and certainly not one that can be learnt overnight,’’ in order to master a wind instrument requiring deft use of the tongue and specific breathing techniques to achieve the right sound.
Fish and Game communications manager Don Rood said the championships were huge in the United States and Canada in particular and competition was intense.
‘‘Winning in such a tough environment in front of a live crowd says much about their dedication and skills,’’ he said. ‘‘They have been great ambassadors for New Zealand on the world stage – perhaps we should dub them the Call Blacks, or perhaps the Black Quacks.’’
The World Championships, which have been running for more than 40 years, attracted competitors from around the world and large crowds of enthusiastic fans.
Richmond’s Holly Irvine, 13, (pictured last year) has claimed third place at the World Junior Duck Calling Championships in the USA.