Monette home to Hobo World Championship Duck Calls
Hobo World Championship Duck Calls are popular with hunters, duck calling competitors and collectors, not only in the United States but in other countries as well. The well-known duck calls are made by Kent Cullum of Monette. Cullum has spent a big part of his life duck hunting and developing calls that sound real.
Cullum, a three time world live duck calling champion, has a slogan describing his Hobo calls, "Anymore realistic and you would have to feed them!"
There are two answers to where the name Hobo came from. "Every good duck call needs to whine and beg," and that is what a hobo has to do. The other answer is a simple acronym, "Helping Other Brothers Out." Both are good reasons for the name that has become popular among duck hunters.
Cullum started duck hunting with his dad at a young age and spent most of his life listening to the sounds of different ducks. It seems he has a special gift when it came to making duck calls as well as hunting. He has quite a collection of duck bands with about 65 bands. Only one out of every 1,000 to 1,500 ducks is banded to keep track of the migration.
Hobo Duck Calls have a good reputation and are as good a call as any on the market, Cullum said. He makes a large variety of calls to meet the needs of his customers.
Cullum holds nine world titles, winning back to back World Live Duck Calls in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Among his other titles are championships from 1999 and 2000 for Live Man two-man team competition and 2011-12 World Meat and the two-man World Meat in Texas. He has a perfect record for his Live Meat tournaments.
He said his success has a lot to do with his duck calls.
"Mark Martin could not win a race if his car wouldn't go but 55 miles an hour," Cullum said.
In his back to back three world championships Cullum used the Hobo Hunter in 2007; the Prime Meat single reed in 2008; and the ICU2 double reed in 2009.
One of his newest calls in the Prime Meat line is the new Hobo Freight Train.
"It is strong, loud and roars," he said. "It comes in three colors - smoke, smoking black and black - like a freight train."
Cullum established Hobo Duck Calls in 2007. He can match school and college colors customizing the calls. He has a John Deere green which is popular with the farmers who also enjoy duck hunting. Hobo calls are shipped to most of the states and as far away as Russia and Canada.
In addition to his duck calls he has created two DVDs, "Duck Dictionary" and "Tried and True." Duck Dictionary teaches every sound a duck makes, when and why. "Tried and True" is a hunting DVD. Everything on the DVD has been tried and Cullum said is true.
A third DVD is about to be released. It is called the "Hobo Encyclopedia." It is filled with information duck callers can use including rules and regulations and the different competitions including Meat Calls, 2-Man Meat Calls, Live calling and Main Street calling.
Cullum enjoys helping young people learn how to call ducks and has been not only a competitor but a judge at many tournaments. He occasionally serves as a guide during duck season.
Calls come in from all over the U.S. with young people wanting him to offer suggestions on their duck calling. Recently two young brothers from Mississippi called him and wanted him to listen to their duck calling.
"They were five and seven year olds and they were really good," he said. "I enjoyed talking to them. Just in the last few weeks I had a teenager call me and ask if he could send me a video of his calling."
Cullum has met some really interesting people through his guide service. Andrew Cashner, pitcher for the San Diego Padres, and Mitch Moreland, first baseman for the Texas Rangers, and his dad, Charles, and Roy Oswalt, former professional baseball player, have come to northeast Arkansas to hunt ducks.
"They came here to hunt ducks and they like my duck calls," Cullum said. "Moreland called and ordered a duck call for his son. He said he wanted his son's first duck call to be a Hobo. I enjoyed showing them around my hometown. When we can we like to go watch them play baseball."
Cullum is good at making duck calls and compares the voices of ducks to a person's musical range.
"People have bass, alto, tenor or soprano voices," he said. I listen to the ducks and hear four categories, the fine hen, the course hen, the lazy hen and the bouncy hen. Like people, ducks' voices change with age. I know the duck sounds and have been blessed to be able to make my calls sound like the real thing."
The calls need to be retuned every year and replace reeds when needed, but they have a very long lifeline if cared for properly.