Queen of the calls: Ladeau, 12, calls in big prizes
By Dennis Jensen
STAFF WRITER | March 23,2014
DENNIS JENSEN PHOTO
Twelve-year-old Sydney Ladeau of Hartland works a box call during a turkey calling contest sponsored by the Valleys of Vermont chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation last weekend at the Vermont Outdoor Show at the Holiday Inn in Rutland. Ladeau won two first-place and one third-place award in the competition.
Take a crowd of people heavily draped in camouflage. Add a diverse selection of wild turkey sounds and five grown men seated behind a huge blind.
And the biggest calls of the day came from a 12-year-old girl from Hartland.
Sydney Ladeau took home two first-place awards and a third place in a turkey calling contest sponsored by the Valleys of Vermont chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation last weekend at the Vermont Outdoor Show at the Holiday Inn in Rutland Town.
Ladeau, a sixth -grader at Hartland Elementary School, won first place in the Jakes (youth) category, first place in the Women’s category and third place in the “Hunter” category.
While the first two categories saw a limited number of entries, the most impressive display by Ladeau was clearly her third place win in that “Hunter” category. She was competing against grown men and still managed to make her calls good enough to finish with a gorgeous plaque.
“I was a little bit nervous competing in that one (the Hunter category) because I was less experienced than my competitors,” Ladeau said. “It’s exciting and nerve-racking, up there, when you want to do your best.”
Barely big enough to hold onto the three plaques presented by master of ceremonies Cort Corsones of Mendon, Ladeau has participated in turkey calling competitions for about two years.
Calling proficiently with a variety of turkey calls helps any hunter to call in and tag a tom turkey, something that Ladeau has apparently mastered. She has shot one jake (a 1-year-old tom) and two long beards (mature toms) while turkey hunting in her short life.
“I like spending time with my dad in the woods and just the thrill of the kill,” she said.
Her father Brett Ladeau had a pretty good day himself, taking first place in the Locator category and second place in the Friction category.
“I think what Sydney did was great,” he said. “I think more kids should get involved. It helps build self-esteem.”
About 40 spectators were on hand for the event, while elsewhere a large crowd made its way through the outdoor show, featuring outdoor seminars and booth after booth of business professionals, offering fishing charters, deer, duck and turkey hunting hunts, taxidermy displays, big buck displays and much more.
Competitors used a variety of calls, including diaphragm (mouth) calls, box calls, slate calls, glass calls and tube calls. And it was fascinating to watch some competitors turn towards and then away from the judges, behind a big, camouflage curtain, and to watch how several moved their bodies in an animated fashion.
One caller, in particular, would twitch his right hand, as he made a variety of calls with a diaphragm lodged in the roof of his mouth.
Plaques for first, second and third place were awarded in six categories: Friction, Jakes, Open, Hunter, Women’s and Locator.
In Friction, Ken Jones of Proctor won first place, Brett Ladeau took second and Phil Salzano of Rutland finished third.
In Jakes, Sydney Ladeau took first and Cara Cummings of West Haven finished second.
In the Open competition, Brent Lafreniere of Williamstown was first, Nick Smith of Bomoseen finished second and Phil Salzano of Rutland took third.
In Hunter, Thomas Jordan of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., finished first, Shawn Mandolare of Clarendon was second and Syndey Landeau came in third.
The Women’s category was won by Sydney Ladeau, with Cara Cummings coming in second place.
In Locator, Brett Ladeau was first, Ken Jones took second and Salzano finished third.
The two winners in the Friction and Open categories, Jones and Lafreniere, qualified for the NWTF national calling contest to be held at a later date.
The judges graded all callers on how proficiently they could duplicate a series of calls made by a wild turkey hen and, in one category, the various sounds of calls that would elicit a response from a tom turkey.
Judges for the event were Gerald Papineau of East Montpelier, Bill Gaiotti of Mount Tabor, Lawrence Pyne of Cornwall, Tom Baptie of Castleton and Mike Canty of Proctor.
The calling competition clearly served to fire up the anticipation among those present for the opening day of Vermont’s turkey hunting season, May 1.