On July 29, the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, played host to the World Cutdown Duck Calling Championship, in conjunction with the Delta Waterfowl Duck Hunters Expo. The event, sponsored by Mack’s Prairie Wings and Drake Waterfowl, ultimately crowned Forrest Carvajal of Greenbrier, Arkansas, as “King of the Cutdown.”
The placings were determined by a panel of five hand-selected judges with prizes and payouts awarded to the top five cutdown callers:
First – Forrest Carvajal, Greenbrier, Arkansas
Second – Dallas Odom, Little Rock, Arkansas
Third – Seth Fields, Ramer, Tennessee
Fourth – Ethan McPeak, El Dorado Springs, Missouri
Fifth – Mason Norman, Donaldson, Arkansas
Carvajal resides north of Little Rock with his wife, two sons, and British Lab. He is also the founder of Pond Creek Duck Calls, a custom call-making company whose name was inspired by Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge—the very place where he first learned to hunt and call with his grandfather.
“I got into duck calling as soon as I got into duck hunting, when I was 11,” he said. “The biggest draw to me was calling the ducks just because I was a kid, and I liked to make noise.” At 15, he won a local main street junior calling contest and became hooked on collecting calls and competition calling.
The cutdown is a specially modified duck call long favored by timber hunters in Arkansas and on the Lower Illinois River. Inspired by this history, renowned callers Jim Ronquest and Heath Vanlandingham created the world championship specifically for the use of this type of call. Each competitor brings his or her own unique talent to the annual event.
“When I started calling, John Stephens (founder of Rich-N-Tone Duck Calls) was probably the person I tried to mimic the most,” Carvajal explained. “And even to this day, that’s the person I try to sound like.”
In addition to the trophy, Carvajal took home a Franchi Affinity Series shotgun from Mack’s Prairie Wings, a waterfowl hunting gear package and gift card from Drake Waterfowl, and $2,500 cash, along with other prizes.
“It’s a world championship!” Carvajal said. “I can’t put into words what it means. It’s huge for me.”—Christy Sweigart