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(PHOTOS) Elk, waterfowl impressions fill the room during Wyoming Game Call Contest at Laramie County Sportsman’s Expo

Contestants used "grunt tubes," mouthpieces and other devices to mimick the chirps and bellows of bull elk and geese.

From top left, Thomas Diesing, Tom Diesing and Jamin Florell stand for a photo with contestants in the Pee-Wee Elk division of the Wyoming Game Call Contest on Saturday at the Event Center at Archer. Sister-and-brother game callers Addilyn and Ashton Nichols, bottom right, placed in the two spots of the age division. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — What do elk vocal calls sound like? Tom Diesing has an answer. Diesing has been practicing elk calls since the 1990s and is a world champion elk caller. To Diesing, an elk cow’s vocals can be characterized as a “rumbling mew.” And anyone trying to imitate the mating call of a male elk should growl before bugling.

Diesing was one of the judges for Laramie County Event’s inaugural Wyoming Game Call Contest on Saturday. The competition, part of the county’s three-day Sportsman’s Expo at the Event Center at Archer, brought together game callers of all ages to put on display their elk and waterfowl mimicry skills.

Companies Mile High Note Game Calls, which Diesing owns, and Colorado Custom Game Calls sponsored Saturday’s competition. Both companies manufacture mouthpiece devices, not dissimilar from a wind instrument, that game callers can blow into to emulate chirps, grunts and bellows of various wildlife. Diesing creates products called “grunt tubes” to mimic the low, brash vocals of an elk. He also sells mouthpieces, which resemble a guitar pick, that callers use to sound like a screeching turkey, coyote or elk or an animal sounding off a distress call.

Call mouthpieces manufactured by Mile High Note Game Calls hang on a rack Saturday at the Event Center at Archer. The pieces are versatile at mimicking various species of wildlife, Tom Diesing said. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
Waterfowl calls from Colorado Custom Calls are on sale Saturday at the Event Center at Archer. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)

Austin Danley, co-owner of Colorado Custom Game Calls, specializes in making acrylic and wood blowing devices — similar in look to a kazoo — that produce noises resembling the chatter of a duck, turkey or goose. Danley was one of the judges for the duck and goose portions of the Game Call Contest. Diesing adjudicated for the competition’s elk section.

Overall, the call contest garnered 50 entrants across the elk and waterfowl sections, according to Katherine Rhoades, event manager with Laramie County Events. The contest was split into separate age divisions, and each contestant had 30 seconds per call. Judges graded contestants on a scale from one to 20, Diesing said, and graded calls based on speed, realism and clarity.

“When you’re out there hunting, you want to mimic what they see everyday,” Danley said about the sounds game callers attempt to create.

The top three contestants in each category received a gift card to either Mile High Note Game Calls or Colorado Custom Game Calls. Those who won second and third place received ribbons, while first-place callers earned custom-made plaques.

Here are the top three winners for each of the contest’s divisions:

Youth Duck (ages 0–17)

  1. Forrest R. Carpenter
  2. Hayden Hunt

Youth Goose (ages 0–17)

  1. Wyatt Donaldson
  2. Forrest R. Carpenter

Adult Duck

  1. Forrest Carpenter
  2. Kyle Heckman
  3. Jalon

Adult Goose

  1. Jeremiah Donaldson
  2. Luke Stadelmaier
  3. Sawyer Fye

Pee-Wee Elk (ages 0–10)

  1. Ashton Nichols
  2. Addilyn Nichols
  3. Wyatt Donaldson

Youth Elk (ages 11–17)

  1. Tucker Craig
  2. Kenton Eveleth
  3. Cayden Nichols

Adult Elk

  1. Cory Morgan
  2. Jake Schneider
  3. Alex Nichols
A contestant in the Youth Elk division imitates a bull elk during the Wyoming Game Call Contest on Saturday at the Event Center at Archer. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
A contestant imitates a goose during the Adult Goose division of the Wyoming Game Call Contest on Saturday at the Event Center at Archer. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
Audience members watch the Wyoming Game Call Contest on Saturday at the Event Center at Archer. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
Forrest Carpenter performs a duck call on stage next to Laramie County Fair employee Larry Milbourn during the Wyoming Game Call Contest on Saturday at the Event Center at Archer. Carpenter recieved first place in the adult division for his performance. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
A young contestant in the Pee-Wee Elk division uses a grunt tube onstage during the Wyoming Game Call Contest on Saturday at the Event Center at Archer. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
Forrest R. Carpenter performs a duck call next to Laramie County Fair employee Larry Milbourn during the Wyoming Game Call Contest on Saturday at the Event Center at Archer. Forrest placed first in the Youth Duck division. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
Austin Danley, left, shakes hands with Jeremiah Donaldson, winner of the Adult Goose division of the Wyoming Game Call Contest on Saturday at the Event Center at Archer. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
Tom Diesing, left, presents a prize basket to Tucker Craig for placing first-place in the Youth Elk division in the Wyoming Game Call Contest on Saturday at the Event Center at Archer. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
From top left: Judges Austin Danley, Caleb Knowles and Chase Legg stand with Youth Goose contestants Wyatt Donaldson, bottom left, and
Forrest R. Carpenter on Saturday at the Event Center at Archer. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)

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