Blake Hodge lives and breathes duck hunting. When he's not duck hunting, he's practicing duck calling, and it pays off.

Hodge, 16, recently won his third South Carolina State Junior Duck Calling Championship at the Winyah Bay Heritage Festival in Georgetown and will represent the state in the Intermediate World's Championship Duck Calling Contest in Stuttgart, Ark., the week of Thanksgiving.

Duck calling comes naturally to Hodge, who is a sophomore at Buford High School in Lancaster County. He has had a duck call in his hand for most of his life.

 "I go duck hunting every chance I get. My Grandpa stated Daddy when he was little and when I came along Daddy started me," he said. "I started calling ducks when I was 6 years old and I got into duck calling competitions when I was 12."

         

His calling accomplishments are considerable. He has more than 65 top-5s in competitions, including 20 first places. Last year, he finished in the top five in the intermediate World's Championship Contest in Stuttgart and hopes to improve on that this November.

         

Hodge is also a veteran waterfowl guide. He and his father, Daryl, operate the Wrecking Crew Guide Service, offering open-water duck hunts on Lake Marion and Lake Wateree, plus hunts in flooded timber and swamps off the Great Pee Dee and Wateree rivers.

         

An honor student at Buford High School, he also serves as Greenwing co-chairman for Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited.

         

Other winners in the S.C. State Duck Calling Championship were:

 

South Carolina State Contest: 1. Zach Peavey, Summerton; 2. Mark Prudhomme, Georgetown; 3. Mike Prince, Goose Creek.

 

South Carolina State Junior Contest: 1. Blake Hodge, Lancaster; 2. Dusty Pearson, Edgefield; 3, McKinley Grooms, Pawleys Island.

 Champion of Champions: 1. Mark Prudhomme, Georgetown; 2. Zach Peavey, Summerton; and Mark Ackerman, Cottageville.