Germany hunts out deer calling champion

Mon Feb 6, 2012 8:19am EST
 
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By Alice Baghdjian

BERLIN (Reuters) - Hunting enthusiasts grunted, bawled and bellowed in the battle to be named Germany's champion deer caller.

The 18 men and one woman used sea shells, ox horns and hollow plant stems to perfect their deer calls on Friday.

This year's winner, Tasso Wolzenburg, said he was impressed with the competition.

"Even if I were a real deer, I'd still have been amazed at today," he said.

Competitors were scored on their ability to imitate red deer calls during the breeding season in three different categories: a young deer, a dominant rutting buck, and an older deer.

The skill is part of a centuries-old tradition in Germany, and is used by hunters to lure the deer out of the forest and away from any rival hunters' guns.

The top three finalists in the German championship automatically secure their place to compete in the European championship.

(Reporting by Alice Baghdjian, editing by Paul Casciato)