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Tennessee’s Mike McLemore, Three-Time World Champion and Champion of Champions Duck Caller passed away Sunday at his home in Huntingdon after a lengthy illness. For decades McLemore manufactured calls that were considered to be some of the best ever by waterfowlers nationwide.

His reputation often had him emceeing various events across the country including the prestigious Easton

Waterfowl Festival on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Yet he often made visits to local Ducks Unlimited banquets lending his support.

A frequent guest speaker at Paris-Henry County Duck Unlimited events, McLemore always had time to visit with sportsmen and duck callers hoping some of his talent might rub off on them as well. He continued to host calling contests after retiring from competition calling such as his Grand American Duck and Goose Calling contest that later became part of the Reelfoot Lake Waterfowl Festival.

When the Paris DU chapter first started the Kentucky Lake Waterfowl Festival McLemore was there on the front line helping us get things going and with his reputation came many other call manufacturers and hunters.

McLemore had a unique style of calling that commanded any duck hunter’s attention once he tuned up and blew a serenade that turned the call into a musical instrument. His calls had the loud rig of a hail call or the soft, raspy tone of a lonesome hen mallard circling the treetops in the wee hours of the approaching dawn.

He had a legion of friends and fans and I was fortunate to be in the ranks, having shared several sunrises with him in various states as we scanned skies and swapped stories. I learned a lot about duck calling from him and always linked up just before season opened to get my calls fine-tuned.

I could tune the reeds at times and swap out the cork but never could master the art like McLemore as once he did his tricks and put it up to his mouth it sounded like a duck was about to take your cap off. He had a knack for duck calling and it carried him across the country and throughout life. No one I ever knew could mimic that lonesome hen sound like McLemore.

One of his many attributes was his willingness to help others. Time and again when we worked sports shows or events together I’d hear him patiently help a wannabe duck caller. McLemore always left a good impression on a guy attempting to learn the art of calling and made the stranger feel like he too could someday be a World Champ.

There is seldom a day in my duck blind that McLemore’s name doesn’t surface. I still blow his duck calls and will cherish the memories of my friend every time I hang the lanyard around my neck with the old plastic Mallard Magnet and the wooden Real Deal models.

And when the ducks respond and come to me, descending against a north wind with web feet out, I’ll think of my old friend who is now in that big duck blind in the sky. I’ll bet you a spot on the downwind corner of the blind that he’s up there helping someone learn how to blow a duck call too!

Steve McCadams is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing area. He has also contributed many outdoor oriented articles to various national publications.



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