Shane Simpson | Mossy Oak ProStaff
When I first started turkey hunting, I played around with an owl hooter and got fairly good at using it. When I entered my first calling contest in 2009, I learned that the contest had an owl-hooting division. I quickly learned that my owl hooting was much better than my turkey calling, and I began winning owl-hooting contests and placing well in them. As I got better at owl hooting, my turkey calling got better too.
I won the 2010 Ohio State Owl Hooting Division, which my first big win. I've won the Minnesota State Owl Hooting Contest several times, as well as the mid-Iowa State Owl Hooting Contest. I finished second in owl hooting in the 2015 Grand Nationals, and in 2018, I finished third.
I'm originally from South Carolina, but I've lived in Minnesota for the last 10 years. I've won the Minnesota State Turkey Calling Contest four times, and I'm the current state champion. I've won the Iowa State Turkey Calling Contest four out of the last five years. Since I started competing in turkey-calling contests, I've racked up 30 wins.
If I was just a turkey hunter and didn’t compete in calling contests, I would pull my calls out every once in a while and practice before the season arrived. But because I'm a contest caller, I have a financial investment in turkey calling. I have to pay for gas, hotel rooms and food, and sometimes I have to take time off work to go to these contests. So, due to the dollars invested, I want to do the best I can, and I practice much more than I did when I was just a turkey hunter. I force myself to practice in the off-season, so that I can be better during the contest season. Practicing so much definitely has made me a better woods caller.
I video almost all my turkey hunts for my web TV show. I like to go back and look at my shows from 2009 and 2010 when I first started competing. Then I look at the hunts I've done recently, and I compare the difference in my calling now and when I first started competing. My calling now is drastically different and dramatically better. I look at those videos and think, “I was a horrible caller when I first started competing.”
Back then, I only could yelp and make some crude cutts and cackles. Today, my calling sounds much more realistic and much more polished. Like anyone else who competes, I want to win the trophy and the prize money. However, since competing in calling contests, my effectiveness in calling turkeys in the woods has allowed me to become much more successful compared to how I was doing before I concentrated on my calling.
Shane Simpson of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, finished third in the owl hooting contest at the 2018 NWTF Grand Nationals.