The New Turkey Calling Champ

Some of us may feel wild turkeys are the only judges that really matter as calling goes. Some of us never compete in contests. For others, it's a way to hone their skills before they plop down at the base of a broad-trunked oak, and try to work a gobbler.

One highlight of the National Wild Turkey Federation's annual convention includes the calling events held in Nashville this past weekend. You can bet these guys can't wait to get out there this spring like the rest of us. For now though, it's such competitions that allow them to practice their vocalizations before human judges and an audience of interested observers.

So who nailed down the title? Mitchell Johnston, a Purlear, North Carolina resident, separated himself from a preliminary field of 48 callers to win the Senior Division of the Wild Turkey Bourbon/NWTF Grand National Calling Championships. "It's very surreal. It's obviously a dream come true," said Johnston, who finished fifth in 2009.

After the win, Johnston said: "The first phone call I made was to my wife because she didn't travel here with me this year. As soon as I heard her voice, we both kind of lost it. It was a special moment. I mean this is the best feeling you can have as a turkey caller. It's hitting a grand slam or winning the Super Bowl."

The Nashville convention concluded on Sunday, February 21. Next up for all of us, spring turkey season (but not soon enough eh). Where are all of you Strut Zoners hunting first?