Germany crowns deer-calling champion

Fri Feb 4, 2011 1:58pm EST
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DORTMUND, Germany (Reuters Life!) - Using ox horns, snail shells and plant stems, eight men and one woman battled each other for the title of German deer calling champion, celebrating a centuries old hunting tradition.

Andreas Toepfer was declared the winner Friday after contestants were judged in three deer-calling disciplines meant to mimic mating sounds.

"It's not always about shooting or hunting but simply about a nature experience where you can attract a deer to just a few meters away," participant Immo Ortlepp told Reuters at the competition's site in Dortmund, western Germany.

The competitors were asked to reproduce the calls of a red deer during breeding season, which runs from September into October. The calls beckon deer out of their cover in the forest.

This year Hildegard Zervos became the first female to participate in the 13-year old competition.

"It is a joy," Zervos told Reuters. "It's simply fun and one's a bit closer to nature."

Toepfer, who finished third last year, will advance to the European deer-calling championships in Slovenia.

(Writing by Eric Kelsey; editing by Paul Casciato)