Manawatū teen quacks the duck-calling big time

A Manawatū teenager has been crowned New Zealand's best duck and goose caller.

Ritson Galloway swept the New Zealand Duck and Goose Calling Championships in Taupo, winning all four categories he entered - open live duck, open team duck, open live goose and open team goose.

Contest organiser Adam Rayner said not only did Ritson win the 'Live Duck' category, he grabbed first place in all the four categories he had entered - including 'Team Duck', with his younger brother Kellan.

Ritson began duck-calling as a three year-old and entered his first competition at 10 years of age.

It was a natural spin-off from duck hunting that runs in the Galloway family.

Fifteen year-old Ritson goes hunting with his father Andy and grandfather Rusty and his younger brother,11 year-old Kellan. 

The Freyburg High School student is thrilled with his win given the amount of practice that went into it - "two and a half hours a day, when I have enough time," he said.

Champion duck caller Ritson Galloway.
Champion duck caller Ritson Galloway. Photo credit: Sika Show NZ

To other aspiring duck-callers, he advises that "practice is key  it's a really good sport to get into". 

Mr Rayner says that for all the dominance and winning skills displayed by the teenager, the champs were hotly contested.

"Ritson's wins were well-deserved," he added, saying it was clear he was "someone who has spent countless hours perfecting his craft".

The teen takes over the title from reigning three-time New Zealand champion Hunter Morrow, who has stepped down.  

One disappointment from organisers was a lack of female entries, with long-time competitor Holly Irvine from Nelson the only one who took part, coming second in the Team Duck event with Sam Harrington. 

Adam Rayner said Ms Irvine already has several national titles under her belt, and has represented New Zealand at the world champs.

"We would dearly love to see more women taking part, and will give some thought to how we encourage more female participation," he said. 

Past winners have gone on to compete overseas for a crack at the world title in Maryland, in the US.   

This year there are five Kiwis who are off to take part in the champs at the Waterfowl Festival.