Duck calling competition
Hunters had a quacking good evening at Blenheim's Speight's Ale House when a duck calling competition was held on Wednesday.
In the run-up to the duck shooting season in New Zealand, 20 duck callers battled it out.
Competitors were tested on their feeding call, hail call and come back call.
It is a practised art for those who take their duck-shooting seriously. A good caller can persuade ducks flying high overhead to land on the water close to where the hunters are hiding.
The caller needs to make various sounds, some like strident quacking and others like the softer, burring noise ducks will make.
Marlborough Hunting & Fishing owner and competition organiser Don Hansen says a sign of a good call is if feathered fodder comes the duck caller's way.
"It is like listening to a piece of music," Don says. "You know immediately by the pitch and tone if it's a good duck call. Enthusiasm is what we want. It is about having a go."
Don, a duck caller for 20 years, said some hunters use a sound system to attract ducks but the more traditional hunters continued to use wooden duck callers.
"The calls are quite high-pitched. It can be a little bit upsetting. It is not something you practise at home."
Holly Irvine, 10, from Richmond is the under-10 New Zealand Duck Calling Champion and came third in the competition.
"I love being outside hunting and fishing. I am not a girly girl. I practise every night."
Holly said the best part was savouring her mother's duck pie.
"Everyone tries to get the recipe but it's a family secret."
The Marlborough Express