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Stag imitation championships: Contestants compete to make the best deer mating call

Contestants imitate deer after mating and in fight

What noise does a tired stag make after a hard night of mating? Hundreds of people watching the German Championship of Deer Calling found out on Friday.

Competitors used horns, shells, plastic pipes and tubes to imitate stag bellows at the annual festival.

It was the 16th such competition in Dortmund, which is judged by veteran hunters.

The “callers” have to imitate the deer in several states, including when they are exhausted after mating, victorious after a fight and looking for action.

Many competitions dressed in traditional German costume, including lederhosen, but the effort was lost on the judging panel who were hidden behind screens so they could focus on the sound.

See last year's competition here:

Bizarre as it seems, the competition stems from traditional practices still used by farmers to calm stags as they approach to examine them, or by hunters on a shoot.

The winner was Immo Ortlepp, a professional hunter from Lower Saxony, who claimed his second title.

“I have been practicing for days at home,” he told local newspaper Ruhrnachrichten.de.

“I have my own stag, which I’ve been listening to.”

The top German callers will go on to the European championships in Austria but it will be tough to top the Eastern European experts who dominate the field.