Archive for the ‘Youth Goose Calling Contest’ Tag


On the third Saturday of September for the past 13 years I have sponsored the youth goose calling contest at the Southern Celebration of National Hunting & Fishing Day on the campus of John A Logan College, Carterville, Illinois.

I do not sponsor it for any personal gain other than a chance to see youngsters have fun carrying on the calling traditions of their parents. The judges for the contest donate their time and pay their own travel expenses.  The judges are sequestered behind a curtain on the stage.  They cannot see the participants and the callers must not talk while competing.  This year’s judges were Michael Ritter, David Renfro, Zach McCurdy, Gabe Evrard and Cory Niccum.  All are national known winners of calling contest around the country.

Contestants are divided into two age categories named juniors and Intermediates. They participate under the same rules as adults in similar calling contest nationwide.  Each judge scores the participants presentation.  The highest and lowest scores are thrown-out and the three in the middle become the callers score.  The youngsters draw numbers from a hat to select the order in which they participate.  The drawing is held again for the second round.  The contestants call twice as a minimum.  If there are any ties a call off it presented.

This year’s winners in the Junior category are Payton Wottowa (1st), Hunter Chapman (2nd) and Audrey Ham (3rd.) The winners in the Intermediate category were Ty Draper (1st), Caleb Ham (2nd) and Alex Webb 3rd.)  They all received a huge amount of waterfowl related merchandise and the first place in each category also received a shotgun.


7 Year Old 2For the past 26 years, families have traveled to the campus of John A. Logan College on the fourth Friday of September.  They attend the Southern Illinois National Hunting and Fishing Days, an event designed to teach hunting and fishing skills as well as the ethics, safety and conservation issues associated with them.

The event is arguably the largest of its kind in the nation.  Upwards of 40,000 people attend the event in the southern Illinois community of Carterville.  This year the event takes place on September 28-29.  The hours will be Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Admission and parking is free as are the activities.  Vendors will be present supplying food and outdoor products.

Children’s activities will include a youth goose calling contest at 8:30 am on Saturday as well as archery, shooting sports and fishing.  Free bait and tackle is available for the later.  There is adult supervision and instruction for all activities.

Dogs and waterfowl activities figure prominently in the celebration.  Handlers provide demonstrations by dock dogs, agility dogs, retrievers, search and rescue dogs, police dogs as well as coon and fox hounds.

The waterfowl calling series will begin with the Don Gasaway Youth Goose Calling Contest on Saturday at 8:30 am.  Both male and female youth callers are welcome.  There will be two divisions, 12 years and under as well as those 13 to 16 years of age.  There is no entry fee.

The youth contest is followed at 11:00 am by the Fun “Team” Goose Pit Calling Contest.  Here 3-man teams will compete for all of the $20 entry fee purse.  At 1:00 pm the Illinois State Open Duck Meat Calling Contest will begin.  First place will receive $1,000, Second $500 and Third $250.  Entry fee is $40.

On Sunday at 1:00 pm the Tim Grounds Southern Illinois World Open Goose Calling Championship.  Entry fee is $40.  First Place will receive $1,250, Second $750 and Third place gets $250.

Other activities planned will include wildlife and nature art show, seminars on fishing, game preparation and outdoor cooking as well as a buck skinner’s village with tomahawk throwing area.  Displays will include Taxidermy, ATV, RV, boats, deer antler measuring, trapshooting, archery, and a special fishing display.

This year the activity is sponsored by, John A. Logan College, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Crab Orchard Refuge, AISIN, Marion Toyota and Toyota Tundra, Williamson County Tourism Bureau, and McDonalds. Others sponsors include:  Southern Illinois Bowhunters, Sams Club, Winchester Ammunition, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bank of Marion, Southern Illinois Bank, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, McKinneys Western Store Natural Gear, Tim Grounds Calls, Drake Waterfowl Systems, Higdon Decoys, Marion Chamber of Commerce, Budweiser Golden Eagle, and Farmers State Bank.

Further information is available on line at: or by calling Dwight Hoffard at 618-985-3741, ext 8208.  Vendors seeking information can contact Ron Allen at 217-725-7602.



The annual Don Gasaway Youth Goose Calling Contest was held this morning at the southern Celebration of National Hunting & Fishing Days in Carterville, Illinois.  Some 18 youngsters competed in two divisions (12 and under and 12 and over).  There were 9 entries in each divisions.

The event is held on the campus of John A. Logan College which supplies not only the grounds but significant financial and man power including security with their campus police force.

The contest is judged by 5 volunteer judges who are experts in contest calling for waterfowl.  Most are from out-of-town but one exception was made this year.  Mike Ritter, a college student and employee of the college judged.  Mike began competing in the contest himself at the age of 8.  He went on to win it 4 times before he became too old to enter.  He has gone on to win several national championships.

The winners received a large amount of merchandise donated from some community and waterfowl industry companies.  The first place winner in each division received an engraved shotgun.  The over 12 winner received a 12 Gauge and the under 12 was awarded a 20 Gauge.  Every contestant received a prize just for competing.

The winners in the Junior (Under 12) division were Clay Schultz, Dongola, IL in first place.  Second place went to AJ Carey of Grafton, IL.  Third place went to AAron Duke of Pulaski, IL.

The winners in the Intermediate (12 to 16) division Gabe Evard, Marion, IL in first place.  Second place went to Robert Dick of Holland, MI.  Third place went to Alex Ciraulo of Buford, GA.

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