Fath has calling for calling ducks

Published 7:32 am Thursday, November 25, 2010

Contributing Editor

John Fath’s Thanksgiving weekend is going to be a little different this year.
Fath, a Bath native, is headed to Stuttgart, Ark., to compete in the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest. The contest takes place Friday and Saturday. He qualified for the contest by winning the North Carolina duck-calling contest during the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships held in Washington in February.
The state duck-calling contest was part of the Southern Classic Duck, Goose and Swan Calling Championships, which are held annually in Washington.
In 2002, Fath entered the North Carolina duck-calling championship, part of the 2002 Southern Classic Duck, Goose and Swan Calling Championships, taking first place in the junior division and fifth place overall.
“I’m leaving Thanksgiving Day,” said Fath, 23, in a brief interview. “I’m real excited about it”
Fath, who lives in Greenville and works for the Albritton Co. in Hookerton, graduated from East Carolina University in 2009 with a degree in construction management.
“There’s come pretty steep competition ahead of me. … I’ve done that best I can do preparing for it,” Fath said.
What has that preparation included?
“I practice ever day for at least an hour in a buddy’s barn,” he said.
Fath’s also spent time on the Internet listening to former world champions calling.
“I’ve been studying their routines. There’s a reason each of them won,” Fath said. “I’m ready to see how my practice pays off. I’ve really improve a lot since February.”
Fath said Mark Ackerman, a maker of duck calls, influenced him in his decision to enter duck-calling contests. Ackerman has been advising Fath as he prepared for the competition in Stuttgart this weekend.
As far as his wildlife-related talents go, Fath is more than a champion duck-caller.
Fath’s entry in South Carolina’s component of the 2003 federal Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition won the state’s contest, making his entry eligible for the national contest. Two years earlier, Fath, 14, took first place in his age group, sixth through ninth grade.