Seth Hartman is like most 17-year-olds. The high school junior plays football, hangs out with his friends on the weekends and spends quality time with his dad. It's what he and his dad do together that has paved the way to Hartman's unique notoriety: They hunt, and when they hunt duck, Hartman is the one who uses the duck call.
In fact, Hartman doesn't just use duck calls, he uses them with the authority of a champion. According to the Kansas City Star, for the second time in the past four years, Hartman won a world duck calling championship title, this time taking the intermediate division crown, winning $1,000 and another $1,000 in prizes.
Hartman hones his technique nearly every weekend with his father, hunting in the family's duck blind in northwest Missouri, near the family's home outside Kansas City.
Yet natural duck calling is different than the conditions Hartman finds himself under on competition days, like the recent World Championships, which were held in Stuttgart, Arkansas.
"You pretty much have to be mistake free," Hartman told the Star. "In front of a big crowd, nerves could get to you, too.
"But I just put my head down and imagine that I'm out hunting."
Hunting is where Hartman is at his most comfortable, which he's also proven with his accuracy with a gun. The junior also won a state title in trapshooting earlier in 2010.
Yet duck calling is -- pardon the pun -- Hartman's true calling. With the teenager forced to move into the open category for future duck calling world championships, Hartman said he plans to keep working on his technique on hunting weekends ... when he's not playing football for Shawnee Mission East (Kansas) High.
"He picked up this calling at a young age," [Seth Hartman's father, Gary Hartman] said. "He just has a knack.
"I remember one time when I had him out during the youth season and I let him do his own calling. There were some ducks that looked like they were a half-mile high. Seth started giving them a hail call, and they immediately turned, locked their wings and glided down.
"I thought to myself, ‘I never could have done that.'"