Category Archives: goose calling

Ducks Unlimited 2011 Canadian Duck & Goose Calling Championship

Here’s a chance for any readers in Ontario or parts nearby to get out and test your calling skills, and maybe win a prize or two.  The event is going down on August 20, 2011 at the Bass Pro Shops in Vaughan (1 Bass Pro Mills Drive for those of you who may need directions), and having been to a couple of DU calling contests (one in my youth many years ago at Wye Marsh, and one more recently in Grimsby…both with limited results) I can say with some certainty that they are a good time. 
The associated forms and rules can be found here and here, but to give a brief synopsis of the event, it looks like they’ll be running seven (yes, seven!) categories.  Three will be in the duck calling stream: senior, youth, and two-man, with a further four in the goose calling milieu: senior, youth, two-man, and a unique sounding senior’s category called Old Man Flute (where it looks as though only flute-style calls, as opposed to the ever-popular short reed-style, can be used). 
For those of you unfamiliar with the format, here’s a Cole’s Notes version for this event.  Youth callers (under 15 years of age and never having placed in a senior-level contest) will call from a blind for 60 seconds, and senior callers will call for 90 seconds.  Five judges are concealed so that they are judging on sound quality alone, and they score you on a points standard. 
Otherwise, it is just a good time.  I’ve found that most of the people that are competing and observing at these events are eager to talk about hunting and swap strategies and stories.  Who knows, you may even make some new hunting buddies.  Aside from that Bass Pro Shops is just a fun place to hang out and covet various pieces of equipment and gear.  I hardly even fish at all and I still like to go check out the bass boats.
I’ve been asked if I am attending/competing and my answer is that I hope to be able to at least come watch.  My goose call is currently in transit to Illinois (I took the extra cheap postage option so it may get there next week) so unless I can get it repaired, shipped back and get some practice in before August 20th, I won’t be competing.  Then again, I am not really a threat to win in the goose-calling arena, ditto for my work on a duck call.  I’m proficient and confident, but hardly competition-class.
Registration closes August 12, 2011.  For more info review the links above for the rules and registration info or call the Ducks Unlimited office in Barrie, ON at (705) 721-4444 or email for more additional details.

Return of the Gearhead

Saturday past saw me driving at a very early hour from Cambridge to Barrie so that I could go hang out with my in-laws and pick up my son (they had taken him off my hands for a few days.
Now no drive along Highway 400 North is complete with a stop at BassPro Shops.  So that’s what I did.  See, last week I was sitting in my basement blaring away on my Tim Grounds Super Mag (as is my habit) and it made a couple of funny, squeaky notes.  Since this call has been money for me (and plenty forgiving too) I chalked it down to operator inadequacy, which is usually the case so early in the pre-season.  After a half-hour or so, my wife came down to inform me that I ought to consider making practice time over, or she’d make it over by force.  The call was full of all sorts of condensation, so I took it apart to rinse it out when I noticed a couple of cracks starting to form at the tip of the reed.  This call has seen me through almost five years of hard-hunting, constant practice, and even a couple of contests, so for the reed to make it that far was great, frankly.
I would be remiss if I don’t also mention that in my haste I once accidentally slammed it in my car door in the morning darkness…since then it has had a mean chip and crack in the end piece, but it still sounds great.  Still, the small cracks in the reed and the slightly out of tune squeal were flimsy enough pretenses for me to stop in at BassPro and peruse their waterfowl calls, decoys, and gear.
I tested out some layout blinds, priced out some dekes, and attempted to try some goose calls.  I’ll be posting later this week on my findings in the blind and decoy fields, but this post is really about customer service.
I won’t be slagging BassPro; all I will say is that I can’t believe they weren’t able to find “the guy” who had the keys to the acrylic and exotic wood goose calls.  Also, they didn’t have any replacement reeds or parts for my Super Mag, so I decided to look into repairing it through the dealer instead.
In this case, the dealer was Tim Grounds himself.  I went to his website, and gave him a call that Saturday.  I got his shop voicemail, so I flipped him an email with the details on what I need.  Not only did I get an email back from Juda Grounds first thing on the next business day (i.e. today) but I also got a personal voicemail from the man himself.
Not to gush, but I’ve read a lot about Tim, watched him on TV and in hunting videos, and used his instructional tape that came with my Super Mag to nail down some pretty good sounds.  All the testimonials on his site indicate that he’s just a humble, nice guy who is passionate about hunting and hunting calls.  In that vein, the goose call he made that hangs on a lanyard around my neck has lead to the demise and preparation into delicious food of many, many Canada Geese in the last five years, and it has also been hanging around my neck during the creation of some lifelong memories; some of which I’ll be sharing with you the reader in the next weeks and months.  This phone message is about as close as I’ve come to being associated in any way with a real hunting icon, so forgive me my rock star adulation.  My wife doesn’t understand it either.
The outcome?  I’m getting a true craftsman that will personally repair and tune my call, a good story, and I don’t have to break the bank.  That’s a triple-win for those of you who are counting.

Jack Miner Calling Classic in Kingsville, ON–April 10, 2011

As the title of this post says, the Jack Miner Calling Classic is taking place this April in Kingsville, Ontario as the kick-off event for National Wildlife Week.

I am strongly considering going down (in the novice category so it is not like my presence would constitue any kind of special attraction) and seeing how I stack up against some far superior goose and duck callers.

Perhaps you’ve never been to a calling contest and are curious to know what the fuss is about; I can say with some certainty that I’ve never been to a duck and goose calling contest yet that was anything other than fun.  If you are a vendor thinking of trading your wares, the link above has vendor details as well.

There will also be some retriever demos and other assorted waterfowl-related fun going on.