-By Brandon Wikman
As the suspense for turkey season builds, more and more people are paging through hunting catalogs, watching turkey hunting videos and cranking out box call music.
The shotgun is dusted; turkey vest yanked out of the closet and mouth calls are pulled apart from one another because of last season’s laziness to properly store them. What else can a person do in the beginning of March? It’s about time I tell you!
There’s no better way to practice your turkey calling skills than entering a full-blown turkey calling competition. Most people are petrified to even think about attempting such an event. Stage front, all eyes on you, running the kee-kee-yelp and cackle without one slurred beat, but it isn’t as bad as you may think.
Many people attend calling competitions because they truly are fun and exciting, not to mention absolutely hilarious to a fresh bystander in the audience who has not yet witnessed such an event. You can bring your family and friends to participate or simply watch. It is a perfect opportunity to get your young son or daughter involved in something unique.
There are several events held around the country. Each state has its own circuit and by winning state, you qualify for nationals. Check out the National Wild Turkey Federation’s website to find upcoming events in your state. You can also read the rules and regulations of these sanctioned events. It’s a chance for you to strut your stuff and possibly be king of the roost!
The competition is for all ages. There are several divisions, which divide age and calling category class, such as friction, open, and state division. A youngster, known as a “Jake” to the calling age class, can participate in the event. He or she must be 15 or younger. The intermediate division, or “X-treme Jakes,” ranges from age 16-20. The open or state division caters to 21 and up. You are more than welcome to use mouth calls, friction calls or, if you are really good, your own voice! I’ve seen many use their voice, but unfortunately they never won. More than likely the competitors who take first place use mouth calls. Mouth calls sound more realistic than any other type of call and are able to produce a variety of unique sounds that a box or slate call can’t match.
I will be competing in Rogers, MN this weekend for the state championship. I have been practicing yelps, cackles, purrs, clucks, and putts, because those are the most typical turkey vocabulary used at an event. If you aren't the best at mimicking a female turkey, there are gobbling competitions and also owl hooting competitions that are very fun to participate in and better yet, watch.
With a bit of luck and a few good yelps, maybe I will get lucky and take home a prize. I will keep you posted next week on the event and my results!