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World Elk Calling Championships Friday and Saturday in Reno

February 28, 2011 | 12:30 pm

Elk callers from across the U.S. will be converging on Reno next weekend, hoping to bugle, grunt, bark, mew and whine their way to victory in the World Elk Calling Championships, Friday and Saturday at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center.

The championships are a centerpiece of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s annual Elk Camp & Expo, held Thursday through Sunday. The four-day convention helps raise awareness of elk, their habitat and RMEF conservation initiatives.

The elk-calling competition will be held in six divisions: professional, men, women, natural voice, youth and pee-wee. Amateur-level callers have 30 seconds to mimic cow elk sounds, followed by bull sounds. Professionals are required to make specific calls such as barks, whistles and screaming bugles. Most callers blow across a latex reed placed inside the mouth. In the natural voice division, however, no reeds are allowed. A variety of plastic tubes are used like megaphones, giving the sounds realistic resonance. Judges score each competitor anonymously.

Preliminary rounds begin Friday at 9 a.m., and championship rounds begin Saturday at 9 a.m. Winners receive prizes and cash ranging from $500 to $2,500.

Elk Camp also includes seminars led by authorities on bowhunting and other hunting skills, horse packing, marksmanship, wild game cooking, game calling strategies and more. There will also be displays of record elk, plus a 450-booth expo hall filled with outfitted hunting and fishing opportunities, art, gear, firearms and everything elk.

Show hours are Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Daily admission is $12 per person or $25 per family, and free for children 5 and younger.

-- Kelly Burgess

Video credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation via YouTube