Dover man bags duck calling titles

DOVER — The way Allan Stanley tells it, he migrated to Delaware for his job and girlfriend and stayed for the ducks and geese.
Since arriving here in 1982, the native southern Virginian has maintained his lifelong love of duck hunting and quacking sounds, either by bird or by man.

Actually, a “quack” is too general a description for the sounds made by ducks, which the 56-year-old Dover resident can mimic to the point of winning his fifth Delaware State Duck Calling Championship at Captain Bones Bait, Tackle and Hunting store in Odessa on Aug. 22.

Ducks make all sorts of noises, depending on the species and the situation. Like music coming from an instrument, no two sounds are exactly the same, whether it’s a grunt or a whistle, squawk or a honk. They can be happy sounds or agitated, soothing or intimidating based on the circumstances that nature provides.

A well-placed duck call can bring a flock to water, pull it from the aim of another hunter, or locate a bird in the woods, which Mr. Stanley often does with one of the many devices with unique duck sounds he’s crafted over the years from his secluded shop on Kenton Road. Turkeys, geese and swans

State champion duck caller Allan Stanley of Dover uses a goose call he made himself Tuesday afternoon at his home. (Delaware State News photos/Dave Chambers)

State champion duck caller Allan Stanley of Dover uses a goose call he made himself Tuesday afternoon at his home. (Delaware State News photos/Dave Chambers)

can be called as well, and he can imitate and attract them.

“Sometimes if you’re in the right spot all you need to do is hide because they are coming that way anyway,” Mr. Stanley said.

“When you can see them or hear them in some other place, you need to pull out a call to bring them in.”

Perhaps his favorite instrument is the “Deceiver,” which has caused the demise of many a duck, according to Mr. Stanley’s alanstanleygamecalls.com Web site. Designed for the open water and known for its versatility, a Deceiver can be made of all acrylic or wood, wood and acrylic, Delrin, Poly and Poly and wood.

When it comes to creating wooden calls, Mr. Stanley uses birdseye maple, hedge, cocobolo, African blackwood and more.

Calls start at $25 and can run up to $150. After Alan Stanley Game Calls opened for business in 1999, he said a “huge number of people got into making calls.”

While there are still customers out there “people’s expendable income still seems to be down since 2008,” Mr. Stanley said.

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Mr. Stanley will trek to Stuttgart, Arkansas for the World Championship Duck Call Contest, a trip he’s made for 20 consecutive years. His best finish was a third-place showing in 2000, with steep competition coming from the duck hotbeds of Arkansas and Illinois, among other states.

State champion duck caller Allan Stanley of Dover makes all his duck callers and has become state champion in Delaware

State champion duck caller Allan Stanley of Dover makes all his duck callers and has become state champion in Delaware

Duck hunting has been a way of life for since Mr. Stanley joined his father, sister and brother at age 5 or 6 and ventured out in Virginia swamps to soak in the quest for a bird. At times, his dad would go out hunting for several hours at a time while the kids occupied themselves in the swamp.

“The times were much different then,” he said.

At age 9, he was duck hunting with his own rifle, just like his brother and sister.

The art of calling ducks developed when young Mr. Stanley and his brother would walk out on dikes near the family cabin and listen to ducks.

“We just kept working and working at it and the calls kept getting better until we became pretty good,” Mr. Stanley said.

The family tradition followed in Kent County, and Mr. Stanley’s two sons Bonce and Jacob became accomplished duck callers themselves. Bonce won several Junior World Swan Calling contests, and Jacob was a Junior World Goose champion.

“They did very well but slacked off a bit when they got interested in other things,” Mr. Stanley said.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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