Which duck call is best?
Every duck hunter knows the excitement of seeing a flock overhead and finding the right method to bring them into landing near you. Duck calls are an important tool for every duck hunter to help encourage the flock closer to their blind.
Duck calls come in many different styles that allow hunters to learn to modify the sound, frequency and timing of using calls. For proven results in the toughest weather conditions, the Duck Commander Jase Robertson Pro Series Duck Call is the top-recommended call.
What to know before you buy a duck call
There are three main types of duck calls. An open-water duck call is used in wide-open areas that require a louder call to cover distance and compensate for windy conditions. For hunters in tighter, well-treed areas, timber duck calls offer a quieter alternative. A third type is the cut-down duck call, which produces a wider array of distinctive sounds.
Different duck call techniques
There are three main techniques when using duck calls. A quack is a short burst that is mixed in with other calls. A feed call is a series of rapid short notes that replicate what it sounds like when ducks eat. The comeback call is a long, amplified call intended to reach ducks that are a long way off.
You may need more than one duck call
Some experts recommend carrying two or three duck calls on your lanyard so that you can generate loud, soft, smooth or raspy sounds when needed. Multiple calls allow you to read the ducks’ response to your initial calls and make modifications accordingly.
What to look for in a quality duck call
Single or double reed
All duck calls have one or two reeds that vibrate and produce different sounds as air is blown over them. Single-reed duck calls require less air but more volume from the hunter’s voice. Double-reed duck calls generate a raspier sound and require more air. Overall, most hunters find double-reed calls easier to master.
Be aware that there are some triple-reed duck calls out there, but they are rare and difficult to use. The majority of duck hunters use single- or double-reed calls.
- Wooden calls are used most by hunters in close range to ducks. Wooden calls produce softer sounds. They are porous, though, which means they absorb water. They should be disassembled after each use to dry out.
- Acrylic duck calls are very durable and do not absorb water. They produce louder and sharper sounds than any other type of call and are often used in wide-open spaces.
- Polycarbonate plastic duck calls are the least expensive and last the longest since they are not assembled from multiple pieces. Their sound is not as soft as wood but not as sharp as acrylic.
The ability to generate different levels of volume while hunting is critical depending on where you are situated. If the call has to travel a long distance, you will need a call that can produce a louder sound to travel across water or through the winds. Look for calls that are easy to manipulate with different volumes and pitches.
How much you can expect to spend on a duck call
Mass-manufactured polycarbonate duck calls start at $5-$15 for beginners, while assembled wooden and acrylic calls with variable sounds and volume cost $20-$50. Custom-tuned and hand-trimmed acrylic duck calls cost $50-$100 but will last for many years.
Duck call FAQ
What else can you do to increase your chances of attracting ducks?
A. In addition to duck calls, try using duck decoys at the same time you are calling. Practicing at home is also helpful as you learn to master different techniques. Watch online videos of real ducks to hear what they sound like in their natural habitat.
Are duck calls over $100 worth the cost?
A. It is a matter of personal preference. Most duck hunting experts say the most important factor in purchasing a duck call is to find one that feels comfortable in your mouth and that you feel confident using. The call that feels best to you may cost over $100, or it may only cost $10.
What’s the best duck call to buy?
Top duck call
What you need to know: Sounding like a mallard hen, this duck call stands up to tough weather conditions with a proven design.
What you’ll love: Easy to blow by requiring less air, this duck call harmonizes with the air pressure of a single reed but has the durability of a double reed. The polycarbonate barrel doesn’t swell or shrink, so you get consistent sounds and volume.
What you should consider: It is known to freeze on cold days. It will sound screech-like if blown with too much air.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top duck call for the money
What you need to know: This is a great duck call for beginning hunters and anyone who is just learning how to use a call.
What you’ll love: Made from high-impact plastic, this duck call uses Phil Robertson’s patented double-reed, friction-fit system. This original model has been used successfully for 30 years to attract mallard hens with low, raspy sounds.
What you should consider: The plastic body does not allow for customization.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This call is designed to sound like a flock of ducks with a single breath.
What you’ll love: Reproducing the sound of feed-chatter, this duck call has a special tuning hole that replicates what multiple ducks sound like. It can be called as loud as you need to. This duck call is made from high-quality materials.
What you should consider: Pure sounds are hard to generate alongside the raspy ones.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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