One of the most famous members of the tightknit goose hunting fraternity was lost in recent days when three-time world goose calling champion and call making pioneer Tim Grounds perished in a Sept. 30, 2018 accident.
Grounds, who won the 1988, 1992, and 1994 world goose calling championships in Easton, Maryland, was reportedly working on his hunting property when the accident took place.
A Facebook post made on Ground’s page in the early morning hours on Monday, October 1, 2018 read: “I want to let all of Tim’s good friends know he had a 4-wheeler accident Sunday afternoon and died instantly. He was spraying weeds down at his club and the 4-wheeler turned over on him. No arrangements have been made as of yet. Hunter, his dad, and I want to thank each of you for your loyalty to Tim all through the years. He loved GOD, the geese, his work, his friends – he loved life. He taught so many and was generous to a fault. He was the #1 GOOSEMAN. And if you were his friend, he had your back and you knew it. ~ Hunter, Bill and Juda”
Reaction came quickly from people all across the goose calling and waterfowl hunting world. Over the days that followed, dozens and dozens of social media posts were made and/or shared on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
“The #1 GooseMan – always and forever. We are deeply saddened to hear of the loss of our friend, Mr. Tim Grounds,” said a Banded Brands Instagram post. “We treasure Tim for all that he has accomplished and the path he blazed for new companies entering the waterfowl industry. Tim was both an innovator and an influencer. Marching to the beat of his own drum, he was a one-of-a-kind personality and personally responsible for some of the best goose calls and goose callers our sport will ever know. Forever a champion, Rest in Peace, Goose Man. #TimGrounds #TimGroundsChampionshipCalls.”
On Twitter, the Beebe, Ark. based Echo Calls posted: “It is with a heavy heart we are informing you that Tim Grounds has passed away yesterday in a four wheeler accident. Thoughts and Prayers go out from all of us at Echo Calls for Tim and his family.”
“The world of Waterfowling lost one of the greats yesterday in the passing of Tim Grounds,” stated RNT-V co-host, RNT Calls PR director, and 2006 world duck calling champ Jim Ronquest in an Instagram post.
“Tim always had time to say hello and was a great friend to the RNT Family,” added The Sportsman’s Channel television personality. “My deepest condolences to Ms. Juda, Hunter and Tims entire family. When the November wind blows cold and I cast my eyes to the Northern sky in anticipation of the coming flights, I will take solace in knowing that I had the opportunity to become friends with one of the greatest waterfowlers of our time! Rest in peace “Bub”...”
If Grounds was well known across the industry for his own personal contest calling prowess, he was even better known for helping to spark an industry change towards the short-reed goose call, a mainstay in today’s goose blinds as well as on the contest stage. In fact, a Tim Grounds Championship Calls goose call has now been used to win the world title a total of 10 times (1988, 1992, 1994, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2014), the most of any call maker in history.
But it wasn’t his own contest wins or his place in the annals of goose call making history that Grounds was most proud of. Instead, it was the partnership that he enjoyed with his son Hunter, also a three-time world goose calling champion.
“I am so proud of my only child, Hunter, who is the youngest ever to win the WORLD in Easton MD,” the proud father wrote on his company’s website. “He was only 16 when he took his first WORLD Senior title (2003); same night he won the WORLD Junior title; same night he won the Mason Dixon duck calling title. The next week he went to Stuttgart Arkansas and won the WORLD Intermediate Duck calling contest. He won the WORLD goose again in 2005 and was retired after his third win in 2007. He is a better caller than I am; he understands it and is an excellent teacher of the art.”
With more than two dozen different models of goose calls and duck calls available through his Johnston City, Ill. based company, one of the acrylic calls that Grounds was well known for making was the Tim Grounds Triple Crown goose call. That goose call was instrumental when well-known contest caller Kelley Powers ran to goose calling’s Triple Crown earlier this century.
Powers – who today wears a number of different hats as the marketing director for decoy manufacturer Higdon Outdoors, co-owner of the retail store Final Flight Outfitters, and owner of his own Power Calls call making company – was greatly saddened at the death of Grounds, someone that he had visited with over the phone just days before the accident.
“We’d talked about life, kids, family, politics, a little bit of everything as we talked for about 45 minutes,” said Powers, winner of the 1999 World Championship Goose Calling Contest as well as the 2000 Champion of Champions contest. “It was good to visit with him and I got off the phone feeling like things were going well in his life.”
Like others, Powers found himself devastated at the news he received from an industry friend. And like so many others, he was struggling to come to grips with the sudden loss of a friend, a fellow call maker, and a virtual household name in the goose hunting world.
“If the goose hunting industry was compared to an oak tree, Tim Grounds was the trunk,” said Powers. “As you go on up the tree, there are some limbs that branch away from the trunk. But there’s little doubt about what Tim has meant to our industry. He’ll forever be known in my eyes as the #1 Gooseman. He is an industry icon and he will definitely be missed. So many of the tips, techniques, and calls that he is responsible for, that will be cemented in stone forever.”