FORT SMITH (AGFC) – D.J. Jones, a senior representing Charleston High School, was this year's statewide turkey calling competition. The event is sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Jones started calling turkeys when he was just two-years-old, and was taught by his step-dad, Jim Pollard. This is the second time he has participated in this competition. He is one of the most accomplished youth turkey callers in Arkansas. As the winner of the competition, Jones won an all expenses paid turkey hunting trip, sponsored by the Western Arkansas Nature Center Partners, to western Oklahoma.
Emily Oliver, a senior representing Crossett High School, was the statewide runner-up. This is the third time Oliver has competed in this annual competition and was last year's champion. Her performance earned her a $300 gift card sponsored by the Arkansas Wildlife Officer's Association.
Sheldon Robison, a senior representing Mansfield High School, earned second runner-up honors. Robinson won turkey hunting equipment that included a new turkey hunting vest, decoy, turkey calls and other items from the Education and Information Bureau of the AGFC. Robison has participated in this contest every year since the eighth-grade.
Every year high schools from around the state are invited to hold local turkey calling contests for their students. The winners are invited to compete in the Johnny K. Gossage High School Statewide turkey calling competition. This year the competition was held at Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center in Fort Smith.
The four calls used for this year's competition where the plain yelp of a hen, fly down cackle, cutting of excited hen, plus the cluck and purr. The event was co-hosted by the AGFC, Western Arkansas Nature Center Partners and the Arkansas Wildlife Officers Association. The contest is named after Johnny K. Gossage, a sportsman who loved the outdoors and tragically lost his life in a firearm accident.