From the Marsh to the Stage

March 13, 2024 NEBRASKAland Magazine

A championship duck caller shares his methods for success.


While Nick Brichacek is a world champion duck caller, he also hunts Canada geese.

Photo courtesy of Nick Brichacek

By Todd Mills

It’s one thing to call in ducks from a blind, but to compete and earn a championship title, competitive callers have to excel at a much higher level. After a few years of attending classes, exchanging audio files with other callers, obsessively watching videos and driving my wife crazy by blowing nonstop in our basement, I entered the world of competition calling.

In 2011, I competed in the Nebraska State Duck Calling Championships and finished in the top five of the open division. The winner that day was a young man from Schuyler, Nebraska, named Nick Brichacek. Although I was satisfied by my routine, I couldn’t help but admire Nick’s skill. I wasn’t even close.

To culminate his calling career, in November Nick won the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest in Stuttgart, Arkansas, adding to his already impressive three top 10 finishes at this competition and his three Nebraska State Championships.

To reach that pinnacle in the duck calling world, you have to be exceptionally good.

Below are a few suggestions from Nick on how to transition from the marsh to the stage.

How Did You First Get into Competition Calling?

I had been driving my mom crazy since I was 5 watching and listening to calling in the basement of my house. At 13, my dad took me to the Duck Callers Association of Nebraska calling classes in Omaha. That August I competed in the Nebraska State Hunters division and have been doing it since.

What’s the Major Difference Between Calling Ducks and Competition Calling?

Contest duck calling has to do with what the judges are looking for, while calling ducks is what Mother Nature gives you. Best part about contest calling is it keeps you sharp year-round. Just like sports, you always practice before the big game. Duck calling is no different. Although contest calling requires a different level of calling, it allows you to be prepared for any hunting situation.

Any Advice to Someone Looking to Get on Stage?

Find a mentor and get as much stage presence as possible. Hit as many contests as you possibly can and always practice with a purpose.

How is Competition Calling Judged?

Although there are different types of contests, the mainstream format is used at the World Calling Championships. With a routine lasting 90 seconds (red light coming on at 80 seconds), you’ll present your routine in front of an audience. Five judges seated behind a curtain will score, with the high and low scores thrown out, leaving the top three scores as your accumulated total.

Top scores will advance to the second and third rounds when a winner will be determined. Although each contestant will have a slightly different routine, you’re required to present a hail call, feeding chuckle and comeback call.

Several calling forums are available, including and In Nebraska, Nick is currently hosting Grand Passage Sportsman, which hosted the state calling contest this year, as well as offering calling classes.

The post From the Marsh to the Stage appeared first on Nebraskaland Magazine.

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