While he’d never call himself the master of his trade – others would bestow that title upon him, both officially and unofficially. Field owns Field Proven Calls, tuning each goose call that leaves the shop himself, and earning the trust of hunters for nearly 20 years. Since 2000 Field Hudnall has also competed in 107 calling competitions and won or placed in the top 5 in 97 of them, including being a Two-Time World Goose Calling Champion, World “Live Duck” Calling Champion. But titles don’t drive Field. Seeking experiences over dollar signs and living to have no regrets in his relationships keep him experimenting, enjoying life, and upping his game every chance he gets.
Where is your favourite place to hunt or fish?
Ohio River…It’s home. I grew up hunting and fishing the Ohio River and now I live where I can look at it every day. Even the few days I’m not on the river I can sit on my porch, drink coffee and watch the barges go by. However…the Ohio River offers some of the worst and most inconsistent waterfowl hunting I have ever experienced. Compared to many other areas of the country, my area of the river has the least amount of waterfowl opportunity. It’s tough hunting but when you do get em’…it’s very rewarding.
How do you up your game year after year?
As a hunter and fisherman…I always force myself to try new techniques and new locations. Experimenting is my favourite part about hunting and fishing…that’s how you learn…that’s really the only way you learn. The crazier and more far-fetched the idea the more I enjoy trying it. If you fail…who cares…it was an experiment anyway. But if you succeed then you have just upped your game and best part of all, is that you did it on your own. That is what is rewarding about hunting and fishing. In call building we always build exactly what the customer wants. That’s how you always up your game in our business.
What haven’t you accomplished that you aspire to in your lifetime?
That is a tough question. The easy answer would be to catch a catfish over 100lbs, successfully waterfowl hunt in all 50 states, and win my 3rd and final World Goose Calling Championship. But those could be accomplished and then what? My ultimate accomplishment is to become the best father possible to my kids…and when the good Lord comes to take me from this earth I will be ready to go in peace… knowing I have no regrets, not wishing I wouldn’t have passed on a specific hunting or fishing adventure and knowing I have lived every day and every minute to the fullest. Doesn’t matter if my day to leave this earth is today or in 60 more years…no regrets.
Tell us a favourite story from a day out?
I have always wanted to shoot an Eider. It has been a bucket list bird for many years. While hosting Ducks Unlimited Television we did a show in Stonington Maine. I wanted to make sure the first Eider I pulled the trigger on was a Drake that would eventually end up on my wall. I passed many hens and when the Drake presented itself I didn’t hesitate to make my shots count. Long story short…not only was my very first Drake Eider banded but the gentleman I was hunting with was the biologist that banded that duck 9 years earlier. It was amazing to me that 9 years ago that man’s hands touched that bird and here he was holding it again. Yes…that bird is on my wall with band displayed.
If there is any love-hate relationship with any aspect of what you do, can you describe what that is?
Tuning goose calls. I LOVE tuning goose calls and I love providing the most realistic goose calls to the waterfowl community. However, tuning calls comes with a price! Over the years I have noticed problems with my hearing. I have what they call high frequency hearing damage. All day and night I hear a ring that sounds like tree frogs in the summer time. It is caused from loud noises. I know the majority of the cause is from the loud crack of a goose call. Over the years I have tuned hundreds of thousands of goose calls and it has taken a toll. I cannot wear hearing protection because then I can’t hear the subtle tones in the call that I need to hear. So yes, even though I love tuning calls I know it takes a toll on my body which I hate very much. That being said, I will continue to build calls until I no longer can.
I am happiest when...
I am on the river with family and friends.
What are the 3 most essential things you need for your category?
1. A boat that is river worthy…your life depends on it. 2. My duck and goose calls…calling is the reason I waterfowl hunt. 3. YETI Rambler bottle. That is the one piece of gear that is in the boat every time I launch. It will either have HOT coffee… (Black, I’m a grown up) or ice water. Many times, there will be two bottles with each.