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Getting Started as a Turkey Hunter and a Contest Caller

Twenty-year-old Hunter Wallis of Greenfield Township, Pennsylvania, started hunting turkeys when he was 4 years old and won the 2018 Intermediate Division of the National Wild Turkey Federation Grand National Calling Contest.  This was the last year for him to compete in the Intermediate Division. He won the Intermediate Division four times, and the Junior Division three times in the Grand Nationals. He also won the Senior Division of the U.S. Open, the World Junior Championship, the World Intermediate Championship, the Pennsylvania State Open in both the Junior and Intermediate Divisions, and the Open Pennsylvania Championship three times. 

Hunter Wallis | Mossy Oak ProStaff

Hunter Wallis

I started calling turkeys when I was just a young fellow hunting with my dad and entered my first turkey calling contest when I was seven years old. I used a box call, and I didn’t do any good in that contest, but it was my first opportunity to see and understand what turkey calling contests were. Two years later I used a mouth call but couldn’t get any great sounds out of it. 

When I was seven, I called in a turkey for my dad to harvest. At 10, I started calling in competitions. I went to small contests and won some second and third places. Then I met Josh Grossenbacher, another Mossy Oak ProStaffer, from Avian-X decoys and Zink Calls. He helped me learn to become better at calling turkeys and competing in contests, and I started winning contests. I won the NWTF Grand National Intermediate Division Calling Contest with my Signature Zink calls. 

In the early days of my turkey hunting, I hunted with my dad. I was seven or eight years old when I bagged my first gobbler. After that first gobbler, I couldn’t get enough turkey hunting or turkey calling. 

My mother tells me that even when I was really small, I would try to make the sounds that I heard birds make. There is some kind of magic that happens when you can talk to a turkey and have that gobbler believe that you're a live turkey hen. I like to hear turkeys gobble, because they can gobble very loudly. 

When you're hunting a turkey, the turkey dictates what type of calling he wants to hear and will come to by how he gobbles or doesn’t gobble. In contest calling, the judges tell you what type of calls they want to hear. They want to hear how you’ll recreate a turkey hunting situation with the type of calls you use. The best way to learn to call turkeys is to get out in the woods and hear the real thing.

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