Most people think about turkey for Thanksgiving, but in Stuttgart, Arkansas, the World Championship Duck Calling Contest takes place Thanksgiving week. More than 60,000 people attend the festival, which is the oldest in the state. The first duck-calling contest, held in 1936, had 17 contestants, with the first prize of a hunting coat valued at $6.60. Today the contest is held in six divisions, including junior, intermediate, and women, and the prize package is worth more than $15,000.
There are four basic types of duck calls. The "hail call" is a series of loud, pleading quacks that attract a flock's attention. Once you see ducks react to the hail, either by turning or slowing down, stop hailing them. As the ducks get closer, switch to a "greeting call," a series of five excited quacks. Then you use the "feed call" when they get close. Done properly, it mimics a group of contented ducks on the water. If the ducks are leaving, try the "come-back call." It's similar to the greeting call, but with louder, longer, pleading quacks. If your come-back call makes the ducks turn around, go back to the feed call. All of this quacking may sound easy, but it isn't. Just try it and see!