How to Blow a Duck Call

Beginners should start out with simple duck calls such as “ticka, dugga, whit, and dwit”. These produce short, sharp duck-like noises.

Repetition of a basic quack can often attract ducks to your spread when other calls don’t work, as well as help when dealing with call shy birds. Make this basic sound a part of your daily practice regimen!

Holding the Call Correctly

Ducks respond to various calling sounds, but the key to effective duck calling for beginners is starting simple and progressing as desired. Quacking is a fundamental sound associated with duck hunting that can be combined with other calls; its distinctive end sound commands waterfowl into your spread.

Few hunters possess the skill or talent necessary to pick up and use a duck call immediately, while most require daily practice in order to become proficient in using one. Arnold, an expert call maker and waterfowl hunter recommends 10 to 15 minutes of daily practicing in order to become adept with using duck calls.

Holding your call correctly is also key to mastering duck calling. Like holding a tennis racket, holding it should resemble holding a bat: index and middle fingers should rest against the back of insert, with thumb resting atop sound chamber – this allows it to be blown without distorting or muffleing sound quality.

Many call makers begin their calling adventures with an inexpensive plastic model to master the fundamentals, but for those seeking to perfect their skill a higher-quality call is essential. A cheap call may be easier on your wallet but will often sound less natural and more mechanical than its higher quality counterpart. A mechanical-sounding duck call will be more distracting during hunting expeditions than one which sounds natural and convincing.

Beginners should avoid excessive hand movements when practicing. Holder and Yentzen both concur that hand movement can change the sound of your calls, making it less natural sounding to waterfowl. Beginners should also learn how to cup their mouthpiece to get more realistic sounds when practicing their calling skills.

New duck callers should familiarize themselves with additional sounds beyond just mastering the basic quack, including greeting call and lonesome hen calls. A greeting call consists of four to nine notes in quick succession usually with different pitches; while lonesome hen call is a raspy guttural call that may draw shy ducks closer and help draw in those that appear reluctant to approach your spread.

Using the Reeds

Reeds are essential components of duck calls, producing sound through vibration. To produce optimal sound output it’s essential that these reeds remain in good condition and properly tuned – otherwise they could produce harsh, honk-like sounds that attract ducks instead. One method for tuning single-reed calls is shortening them; you can do this by taking apart the call and cutting away small sections with scissors; aim for three quarters of an inch length as this will produce higher pitches which ducks can hear easily and easier blowing from you reeds.

Every duck hunter should become familiar with the quack sound, but there are numerous other calls they should learn and master as well. If you want to use feed calls effectively when hunting mallards on bodies of water, say dugga into your call to create two-note sound that mimics feeding mallards – this makes an effective feed call that beginners can easily master.

One important consideration when using a duck call is using its various patterns of words to entice different types of ducks. You can find numerous books dedicated to duck calling that will assist in teaching you these noises and phrases commonly employed by hunters to attract certain species of bird; this resource can prove invaluable when learning new calls.

When the time comes to upgrade from your starter call, there are numerous high-quality options on the market that offer excellent sound and usability. Joe Genzel from Outdoor Life recommends the Haydel Power Hen as an easy option that mimics quacking chickens perfectly. But keep in mind that even top-of-the-line calls won’t perform correctly unless you know how to blow them properly!

Using the Mouthpiece

As a beginner duck caller, it can be daunting to select an effective quack or more advanced sound for duck calling. As a good place to begin would be with the mallard drake quack; this sound works in most situations across all four flyways and most ducks recognize as male bird calls. Once you master it you can progress onto other calls such as wood ducks, teal, pintails, gadwalls or divers. All can be achieved with practice and situational awareness.

As with learning any skill, beginners do not need to invest too heavily in their first duck call – just as someone learning guitar shouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on an Fender guitar. There are plenty of quality production duck calls on the market that can get you started for less and save your funds for other important aspects later on.

Most duck calls can be constructed out of wood, polycarbonate or some combination thereof. Wood typically produces soft sounding notes while polycarbonate can often be more durable and cost-effective. Both materials make excellent calls with distinct tones and user experiences.

Beginners looking for their first duck call should choose a single-reed call that can easily be controlled by them, while double-reed calls may prove harder to master and provide greater range in sound. Joe Genzel of Outdoor Life recommends the Haydel Power Hen in his review of 2017’s best duck calls.

Gripping your duck call correctly is key when using one. One method of doing so is holding it like a tennis racket, with your index and middle fingers resting on its back, and thumb on top – this provides maximum protection without interfering with trigger hand use on firearms.

Using the Sound Chamber

A duck call typically contains either one or two reeds housed within a wooden, acrylic, or polycarbonate sound chamber to amplify noise and produce specific sounds. Each call requires different amounts of air pressure in order to produce specific tones; some more difficult than others due to length or shape of their reed. Selecting the ideal call depends on where and when you plan to hunt; when hunting public water or open waters for example, choosing an easy to blow call may be more efficient than an air-demanding high-pitched call that requires lots of air pressure in order to produce specific tones.

To get the most from your call, it is essential that you learn its proper use. Start with practicing basic quacks to familiarize yourself with it; saying “qua qua qua” into your call can produce the sound. Once this has become second nature to you, more complex patterns may follow; such as starting by performing simple quacks with pauses before progressing onto longer or more complicated calls like honks.

As you get more familiar with your call, pay close attention to how it responds when you change its sound pattern and learn to make different tones and sounds to attract different types of waterfowl. While using your duck call too frequently can drive away birds from decoys and drive them into your area instead, its use at the appropriate moment could bring an abundance of them closer.

As with learning any musical instrument, the key to perfecting duck calling is focus and control. Once you purchase one from our Best Of list and begin practicing regularly – videos available online should help guide your efforts – when the time comes for your first duck hunt you’ll be prepared with an accurate call that needs just as much patience and focus as the ducks themselves!

About the Author