Sixth grade boy competes nationally calling turkeys with own voice

By Lauren Keith - bio | email
JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - Spring turkey season is upon local hunters, and many young hunters are headed into the woods this weekend in Missouri for the youth season.  However, there's one young man in Jackson who won't be taking the classic "slate call" or reed....all he needs his his own voice and a real talent.
Jackson sixth grader Elijah Ford calls turkeys, just like a pro.  For anyone who doesn't hunt, this is actually quite something, especially for a young guy.
"I've only known one or two people that can do it other than me," said Elijah.
You see, turkey hunters normally use a classic slate or box call or a reed to help them lure in the birds.  Even using these aids can be challenging.  There are even calling contests nationwide for those who've mastered it.  So, when a young man strolls up and lets out the call from his throat, it grabs a lot of attention.
"He's come along.  He's phenomenal," said Elijah's father, Daren Ford. "We can't believe the natural ability he has to reproduce these calls like that."
Elijah's mastered the "Plain Yelp," the "Click and Purr," a call often heard when turkeys are feeding and the Kiki run, a sound babies often let out when they're lost.
"Next thing I know he sounds better than a reed," said his dad.
Daren, isn't alone.  Elijah's calls lured the popular "Field and Stream" magazine to feature him in their youth online edition.  The sixth grader even competed recently in the Grand National Calling contest in Memphis.
"It's a really tough competition," said Elijah.
So tough...there's not even a separate category for natural voice, so Elijah competes right along with the reeds and slate callers.
"I plant to go to a bunch more competitions, doing good, maybe getting on a show or something," Elijah said.
Dad says the main idea is for Elijah to keep enjoying the great outdoors, while his family continues to enjoy his natural talent.
"That's what it's all about--memorable moments in the woods," Daren said.
Elijah wiill be featured on soon.  Also, he and his Dad have called in some turkeys using Elijah's voice, but none have been within shooting range so far.  They say that's the fun of it----and keeps them going back into the woods for more.