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Billy Yargus, Missouri

Hometown: Ewing, Mo.
Home Chapter: Louis County Strutters
Notable Fact: 2008 Wild Turkey Bourbon/NWTF Grand National Calling Contest Champion

After 10 years of competition, Billy Yargus became the 2008 Wild Turkey Bourbon/NWTF Grand National Calling Champion at the NWTF's Convention and Sport Show held in Atlanta, Ga. Yargus is a pro staffer for NWTF sponsor Woodhaven Custom Calls.

What was it like winning the Wild Turkey Bourbon/NWTF Grand National Calling Championships?
It was a blessing that every caller dreams about. I didn't really feel that I called better than any other caller there. It was just my day to win. I went out there, did the best that I could and was blessed to win.

How hard is it competing at this level?
It's tough. Everybody is trying to do the best they can without making any mistakes. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of work. Callers these days can sound just like turkeys. It takes a lot of work and a blessing on the day of the competition.

How do you prepare for the NWTF's Grand National Calling Championships?
I begin practicing and building calls in November or December. I usually practice about two or three times a day, about 15 minutes each time. If I'm having any problems with a certain call, I'll go at it a little more. Then, in January, I start looking for calling contests to get back in the groove of calling against others.

How do calling contests differ from turkey hunting?
The only difference I see is that I'm trying to impress people instead of turkeys. I try to sound like a real hen whether I'm calling for judges or gobblers. Every time I call, I want to sound as real as possible.

What is the funniest thing you have seen happen during a calling competition?
I have to tell a story on myself for this one. I was competing at the Missouri State Championships and was on stage doing a fly down cackle with my eyes closed. As I was making the call, I took a step to my left and stepped right off the stage. I didn't fall very far, but I'm sure the judges were wondering what the crowd was laughing at. It was caught on tape, and I'm sure it's funny to watch, but I've never even seen it.

Why should hunters support the NWTF?
There are many reasons for hunters to support the NWTF beyond the restocking of turkeys. In Missouri, NWTF chapters have purchased equipment for the agency and the FFA, and helped with biological studies on Peck Ranch. There are so many ways for chapters and people to get involved nationwide.



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