Last week at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s (RMEF) National Elk Calling Championships held in Nevada, 10-year-old Chris Fong became the RMEF PeeWee Youth Calling Championship with a super performance and a giant call. The contest is open to amateur and professional elk callers, and brings contestants from all over the United States and Canada. The event helps raise awareness of RMEF elk, habitat and conservation initiatives. In the competition, callers have 30 to 45 seconds to mimic cow elk sounds, followed by bull sounds.
Chris' win was the product of a lot of talent...and a family that backed him every step of the way. His father Derek, a national board member of the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF), and his mother Joan, have nurtured young Chris’ interest in conservation by introducing Chris to the outdoors with activities from goose hunting to fishing.
Chris’ parents’ efforts have paid off in multiples. He’s taken to the many sides of the outdoors and enjoys shooting trap, skeet and sporting clays in his home state of Idaho. In fact, he won JR. State Champion in 2018.
Chris was also featured on the cover of the Idaho Fish and Game Magazine, “Today’s Hunter”, as he outshot his dad on one of their many duck-hunting trips.
“As Chris rose through the competition, it was nerve-wracking. At every new level he just seemed to get better and better and was having a ball meeting new people and talking about the outdoor adventures he enjoys. No stage fright…but I was terrified” said his Dad, Derek.
“One of the absolute delights in conservation is when a youngster who has fallen in love with everything outdoors, has parents that mentor and participate with him at every level, then shines above with a talent that rocks with the sound of a bull elk,” explains Craig Alderman of QUWF. “Chris is a unique role model for all youngsters, having fun and experiencing the outdoors in every way he can,” Craig observed.
“Chris is a prime example of why QUWF promotes and encourages youth participation across the board, from fishing to hunting and yes, Elk Calling,” says his dad. “He has been a member of QUWF since he was a toddler and absolutely loves fishing, hunting, shooting and being outdoors,” Derek explained. “And all his earnings go to his college education, but he is not forced to do anything, it is all his choice,” Derek states.
Congratulations, Chris! We envision great things for you, bugling just over the horizon.