2006 Midwest Waterfowl Festival

March 24, 2009 by  

By PJ Maguire

Tyler goosebuster3 Ellenson blowing in previous years at the contest.

Tyler "goosebuster3" Ellenson blowing in previous years at the contest.

Right now it is August, and I can feel the fall creeping in. The nights are cooler and the days are shorter. It is time for me to organize decoys, check gear and count the shotgun shells I have remaining from last season. It is also time to check out new gear and sharpen up retrievers. Outdoor magazines can help us with informational articles and there are outdoor festivals as well.

On the last weekend of August the Scheels in Fargo, North Dakota hosted the 3rd Annual Midwest Waterfowl Fest. The Fest had contests for dog handlers and duck and goose callers. There were also vendors willing to give advice on products, and free hotdogs and pop for the family. I attended the Midwest Waterfowl Fest for the second year in a row and loved every minute of it.

The number of vendors at the Midwest Waterfowl Fest increased significantly from 2005 to 2006. This is a good sign for the event and showed that the people who sell products wanted to support it. Non-profit groups like Delta Waterfowl had a booth that showed different duck wings to help educate hunters. Duck and goose call manufacturing kingpins Primos and Foiles Migrators had booths with duck and goose calls to try, and industry newcomer Califf Calls shared a booth with the Bigfoot Decoy Company.

In the couple last years jump contests for dogs have become very popular. These were the most popular contests held at the Midwest Waterfowl Fest. Every time I ventured past the K-9 “super launch” challenge, K-9 “super air” challenge or K-9 vertical leap stations there was different dog competing. The most popular dog breed in the United States is the Labrador retriever, and it showed at the Expo. Labs probably out numbered all other breeds five to one.
The Midwest Waterfowl Fest added a Hunter’s Division to their calling contests for 2006. This gave the less experienced callers another opportunity to compete. The Hunter’s Division was just for callers who have not placed in any other contest. There was both a duck and goose calling contests in the Hunter’s Division.

The other calling contests at the Midwest Waterfowl Fest were: Open Duck, Open Goose and State Duck. The most exciting contest for me to watch was the Open Goose. Goose callers do not have to follow the contest guidelines as closely as duck callers. This leaves more opportunity for creativity. The goose callers in the Open contest all sounded very well, I would not want to be a judge and have to pick a winner.

The final contest at the Midwest Waterfowl Fest was the North Dakota State Duck Calling Championship. The winner of the State contest gets a chance to compete in the World Duck Calling Championship. The World contest has been held for many years in Stuttgart, Arkansas on Thanksgiving weekend.

The winner of the 2006 North Dakota State Duck Calling Championship was a repeat. John Lee also won the 2004 State contest, which was the first ever, North Dakota State Duck Calling Championship. John Lee is an excellent duck caller and I know he will make North Dakota proud this year at the World’s contest.

The Fargo Parks District ran all of the duck and goose calling contests. They did an excellent job handling all of the challenges that come with conducting contests.

The sun was shining and the company at the Fest was pleasant. I had the opportunity to chat with several friends and acquaintances about the upcoming hunting seasons. With the Early Seasons Goose opener just days away I began to wonder where the summer had gone.

You can bet that I will be present at the Midwest Waterfowl Fest next year and I hope you are too. I thank Scheels, the Fargo Parks District, and all the sponsors for giving me the opportunity to spend a day thinking about the outdoors.

Editors Note: Congratulations PJ on a second place finish in both the Novice Duck Division and the State Competition.


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