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CALL OF THE WILD

Local boy gears up for world elk calling contest.

ElkCalling02

WRITTEN BY ERIN MEYERING
PHOTO BY CHRIS HOLLOMAN

The sport of hunting and the appreciation of wildlife are widely celebrated and shared at the annual Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's Elk Camp. A major component is the World Elk Calling Championships, in which 14-year-old William Card of Fallon, Nev., was named World Champion in the voice division last year.

"Being at Elk Camp has exposed William to a lot of different people and opportunities," says his father, Bill.

William's win came as a huge surprise considering he hadn't seen an elk in person until just this past year. In fact, he taught himself to call after receiving unexpected inspiration from a cousin's friend who has been visiting from Montana. Frequent viewing of YouTube videos and constant practice are what William says contributed to his steady progression in learning to call — much to his mother, Donna's, dismay in the beginning.

"I didn't know what he was doing," Donna says. "He would drive us crazy [with his calling] at first."

Although many competitors in other divisions use a diaphragm with a latex reed, a common hunting tool, to create the elk call, William uses only his voice to emulate the large mammal's vast bellow.

Although originally skeptical, the Card family made it a priority to prepare and support William's voice. Before calling, William drinks water containing a few drops of lemon essential oil.

This will be William's fourth year of competing. Although he is excited and confident about his calling, he also is somewhat nervous about the effect his new orthodontic braces will have on his performance.

The 2014 Elk Camp will be held Dec. 4 – 7 at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. In addition to the World Elk Calling Championships, the event will include auctions, booths showcasing hunting equipment, a Youth Wildlife Experience, and more.

For details about this year's Elk Camp, visit http://www.Rmef.org

While researching this story, Erin Meyering, like William Card, became fascinated with elk-calling videos on the Internet. She still is amazed that someone could mimic an elk's distinguished call with just their voice.

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