Duck caller quacks the big time

Nelson Mail - - NEWS - TIM O'CONNELL

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.

MAR­ION VAN DIJK/NEL­SON MAIL

Richmond’s Holly Irvine, 13, (pic­tured last year) has claimed third place at the World Ju­nior Duck Call­ing Cham­pi­onships in the USA.

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