La. turkey calling champ keeps it natural
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Ask 11-year-old Lincoln Bayham about hunting and watch his eyes light up and a wide smile spread across his face. Ask him about turkey hunting and watch him cluck.
“I don’t know. It’s just something about them,” he said, leaning forward in his camping chair. “It’s a lot more action, I guess you could say.”
You might also say it’s a sport young Lincoln was born for.
“My dad got me into it. When I was little, we would always go hunting,” he said.
Lincoln made his first hunt when he was just three years old. At the ripe age of nine, he bagged his first turkey.
“I had been hunting hard that year,” Lincoln remembered. “We finally got it done. That was my first turkey, and it was a jake.”
And while some might not find that a cause for clucking, the way Lincoln hunts is.
In the woods outside his Independence, La. home, Lincoln inhales a lungful of crisp air and begins to purr. Then he clucks. Then he gobbles.
In a sport dominated by mechanical turkey calls, Lincoln uses just his voice to lure turkeys into his field. It’s called natural-voice calling. And at the tender age of 11, Lincoln is already making a name for himself.
“I just kinda started making sounds, and it just came about,” he said. “I don’t know. I just started making sounds one day, and just figured it out.”
He’s already the best 11-year-old turkey caller in the state. To get that title, he beat out kids using fancy box calls and plastic mouth calls. That won him a trip to the National Wildlife Turkey Foundation’s championship in Nashville.
Lincoln was the only natural-voice caller in gobbling competition. Competing against 40 men callers, all using mechanical calls, Lincoln took seventh place.
For his dad, Ricky, it was a proud moment.
“Being a natural-voice caller is kinda like, you know, you may not necessarily win, but it’s the bragging rights that you win competing against people that are using all these mechanical devices,” Ricky said.
Natural-voice calling is a dying art in turkey circles. Calling the sly birds close enough to shoot takes skill and persistence.
“This season, our goal is for him to call one up and kill it with his natural voice,” Ricky said.
For Lincoln, the recognition is nice, but he’s just happy to be out in nature talking turkey.
Click here to report a typo.
Copyright 2022 WAFB. All rights reserved.