Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Going quackers at the New Zealand Duck Calling Championships

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More than 20 duck callers from around New Zealand competed to charm the judges, not ducks, at the national duck-calling competition in Tauranga.

On Saturday duck callers descended on Tauranga to pit their quacks against each other for the chance to head to the world championships in the USA.

They had 60 seconds to blow a greeting, pleading and feed call plus a lonesome hen call.

Competitors change pitch and tone with their hands cupped around the callers, every blow mimicking a different duck call.

The youngest competitor, local 10-year-old Luke Spargo, got involved with duck calling through the championship organiser Adam Rayner.

The Greenpark School pupil loved duck calling and seeing ducks come to him because of the noise made through his caller.

"They come straight to you and then you shoot them," he said.

The first time he tried calling two years ago he sounded nothing like a duck, he said, but after practicing at least once a week he was confident enough to enter into a competition.

"It's pretty cool."

Luke's favourite part of it all?

"Seeing the ducks fall out of the sky and make a crying noise and hit the water. Oh and eating them."

Another youngster was 14-year-old Holly Irvine of Nelson, who was getting in some practice before heading to the USA for the junior world duck calling championships.

For her the passion started when she was 7, when she was too young to shoot but wanted to "be like dad".

When she started it was hard but after working at it, it became easier. She has competed in multiple competitions since.

"The best part is seeing the reaction of ducks in the sky come towards you when they hear you calling," Holly said.

Defending champion Hunter Morrow, from Wanaka, said duck calling had been his "weird obsession" since he was a little boy.

He won the national championships last year and travelled to Maryland, USA, where he placed 5th in duck calling.

"It was a dream come true, to compete and compete against my duck-calling idols," he said.

"It was bloody good."

He said it was great seeing such young competitors getting into it.

"To me that's awesome, it shows the sport is carrying on, that people are still keen on it."

The competition drew a crowd at the Loaded NZ shooting range outside Tauranga city.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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