Interview with Capital Waterfowling (1/3) - Canadian Call Makers
At the New Brunswick Sportsman Show in Moncton last month, we caught up with Ryan Reynolds (Co-Founder) and Matthew Wilson (Elite-ProStaff) from Capital Waterfowling. They had converged on Moncton, New Brunswick to promote their business and compete in the Canadian Duck Calling Championship, which was held as part of the weekend events. Once again, Matthew was able to walk away as champion in the Open Duck category and is now eligible to attend the World Championship in Stuttgart, Arkansas.
Matthew is a New Brunswick local, born and raised in Woodstock. He is a 6 time Canadian National Champion Duck Caller, and has won 14 calling championships overall. It isn’t just waterfowl either, Matthew won the 2013 Eastern Canadian Moose Calling Championship as well, so the drive for competition really is clearly very strong. Together with a group of friends, he produces the East Coast Waterfowl Mafia series on YouTube, which is growing in popularity all the time.
Ryan is a 3rd generation outdoorsmen from Napanee, Ontario. He has been a professional waterfowl guide for over 14 years, and spends over 100 days in the fields each year. Ryan also competes in many calling contests and was defending both his Canadian Goose Calling and Canadian Two-Man Goose Calling Championships this weekend. Together with his business partner, professional NHL defenseman Eric Gryba of the Edmonton Oilers, they started Capital Waterfowling and have been able to turn his passion for the outdoors into every waterfowler’s dream.
Capital Waterfowling is based out of Ontario, where their Canadian-made and designed duck and goose calls are crafted and assembled in Kingston! This young company has made waves with their quick expansion into the calling scene, including their inclusion in large retailer Canadian Tire (along with other smaller outdoor retailers). Along with their regular line of duck and goose products, they introduced the “Matthew Wilson Signature Series” of duck calls that he helped design and uses himself in competition calling. At the Canadian Duck and Goose Calling Championship in Moncton, NB, the champions in all seven categories were using Capital Waterfowl made calls!
Our interview with these great outdoorsmen was nearly 30 minutes long, so we have divided up the video into three sections. In the first portion, we discuss a number of subjects including how Capital Waterfowling got started, what it's like to compete on the calling stage, and what made 2015 such a banner year for Canadian calling history.
Wilderness Obsession: First, tell us a bit about how you got started. How does a hockey player from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a professional guide from Napanee, Ontario and a plumber from Woodstock, New Brunswick get together?
Ryan Reynolds – Well, Matt and I crossed paths probably around 10 years ago through calling contests. We knew each other but really hadn't had any contact in years. I was running an outfitting business in Ontario and Eric came up because he was playing for the Ottawa Senators farm team and got called up. Long story short I had a buddy that was running a company that had an in with the team, and when Eric came to the team he asked him, “do you know anybody that I can hunt with? I'm new to town and have a day off a week. I'm a hunter first and then a hockey player... I need to hunt.” So my buddy called me and says Eric is looking for someone to hunt with. I said okay and took Eric hunting and it was an instant click. Eric and I became buddies and our wives started spending time together and developed a friendship. We launched the company and came to the Moncton sportsman show three seasons ago. We were going to hook up with Matt and I remember he had a booth beside us and I turned to him and said, “we've got to build you a duck call! You're the best duck caller I've ever heard come out of this country, you don't have a signature series call. This is what we're doing. This is where our business was started. The business had been running for two weeks when we had the conversation. “We're two weeks old, and this is where we started. This is what we want to do; we would love to have you involved! Here's this for an idea... let's make a duck call.” And basically we started talking every day.
Matt Wilson – It took us about a year to build that call. It was a good opportunity for me so I jumped on it. Nobody had ever given me an opportunity like that where it was going to be done in Canada; the company was from Canada, and we both had been in the waterfowl industry for a lot of years. There has always been a need for something like this. To jump in with a company and be able to spearhead a project to make a duck call for myself it was awesome. Just to be involved in something like that was pretty cool! It was an idea that we both knew needed to happen for a long time so it was pretty cool to see that opportunity come around and I just jumped on it.
Wilderness Obsession: Can you describe what it is about calling competitions that keeps bringing you back again and again?
Matt: Sometimes when you're sitting up there in the bullpen and they're about to call your number...
Ryan: ... you wonder why, yourself that you do it.
Matt: You wonder why you pay for it! (laughs).
Ryan: “I don't know if this is a good idea.” (both laughing)
Matt: “Why would I want to do this?” You literally get out there, and I know myself my legs are the biggest thing. When I'm nervous my legs just shake like crazy but at the end of the day we just love it! We love to compete. Waterfowl hunting is a way of life and this is just part of it for us.
Ryan: Yeah, a contest routine lasts 90 seconds and for 45 seconds out of that 90 seconds you feel like your legs are going to give out beneath you. But the guys that are involved with it [have] a camaraderie. It challenges yourself to be better. I want to be better as a caller to have more successful hunts. I want to be a more competitive caller. It's like guys that have garage bands. They're all going to get together and see who can play the guitar the best. It's the same kind of [experience].
Matt: And really for us now, with the call company... we want to put titles on those calls! It's certainly good for business and it's good for us as hunters too. But it's also good because it is provides a reputation. It gives us opportunities too. This year will be my fourth time competing for Canada at the Worlds in Stuttgart. That's an opportunity that I never would have gotten if I hadn't been into competition calling. And there's a lot of other opportunities that come along with that.
Wilderness Obsession: (To Matthew)According to callingducks.com, no one has ever won the Canadian National Championship more than once except for you, and now you’ve defended your title again. What kind of practice goes into reaching such a high level of competition?
Matt: For me, it has got to be an every day or every other day thing, but it doesn't have to be a lot. I'm not going to say that I force myself to do it, but a couple weeks before the competition it's every day, twice a day for sure. I try to get three good routines out of a practice session. It does take a lot out of you but if you don't practice once a day or every other day, to build up the stamina, you can't compete at a level like that. For me, when I started going to the Worlds I really realized how much practice [it takes]. You think that you're good from the area that you come from, but then you go to a place where there's 70 people from all over standing there, and they're on top of their game. So for me going down there has really kicked in my practicing. Definitely a couple of weeks before the contest it's every day, trying to get three good routines, and before that it's every day/every other day trying to just be on the call blowing pieces or parts of my routine.
Wilderness Obsession: Talk to us about the 2015 World Duck Calling Championship in Stuttgart, Arkansas. We understand that was a bit of a banner year for Canadian Duck Callers?
Matt: Yeah there was a lot of history.
Ryan: It was a banner year, and it was a tearful year too because of the history! From a company standpoint to be able to put something like that together, as the first Canadian-made call to cross that stage in the 80th year of the Worlds. The 80th year and we were the first Canadian-made duck call to cross that stage! So to achieve a level for the company side was huge. To be able to watch a brother go down there and do it... to be the first Canadian to make it out of the first round and to finish 30th out of 67 or 70 competitors in a league where a Canadian just isn't found there is great. So that's where I see this as a banner year.
Matt: Yeah, to spend the time that we did on that duck call... we didn't want to build a call that was just going to be subpar. We were going to build the best call that we could possibly build: one that was not only going to make it to the world stage but would be able to compete at it. It took us a while but we certainly did that. Like Ryan said, to be the first Canadian-made to go down there... it was my third time being there to do it.
Ryan: [To Matthew] To blow that call, look down the barrel, and see your name engraved on it. [To Wayne] It was his signature series call. Last year at this same show [Moncton] when he won the Canadian championship for the third time I was MC'ing it. I watched him do it with the call that we had worked on together and I got to announce him as winning the Canadian championship... that's the kind of stuff that just about puts a tear in a grown man's eye. To know that he's going down there to compete with a call with his name on it that we put together is pretty [amazing].
Matt: Oh yeah just to go down there and have the opportunity to go down to Stuttgart is great but to put the time and effort into building that call and to have that turn out awesome... and then to go down there and have your number called to come back for the second round was huge! Nobody's ever done that. The odds couldn't be any worse. I was the only Canadian down there and there were 70 of us and 69 of them were Americans. When you go down you're basically just a number. Those guys, they do what they've been doing their whole entire lives. To get called back for the second round and to know that we did it... I could have gone out and squealed on the first call and been fine. I'd have been like “that was a win for me everybody!” To sit back there and after everybody cleared out of that area where we all sit and look around and see the guys that you're sitting there with; I could sit there and say [pointing] there's a world champion, there's a past world champion, and there's several guys who finished in the top ten... you know you've made it then. You've got a product that not only will compete but you've got a chance to win on a world stage. It was huge! Huge for me, huge for the company, and for us as a group it was huge.
Ryan: Huge for Canadian waterfowling.
Matt: Big time because like I said, no [Canadian] has ever made it through the first round.
Join us for the next segment to be posted later this week, and the third and final segment on the weekend!
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