Choosing the Best Duck Call for Your Hunting Style

Micah Drews


When it comes to waterfowl hunting, the ability to effectively communicate with ducks through calling is an indispensable skill. The best duck calls serve as an extension of the hunter’s intent, allowing them to mimic the various sounds that ducks make. The effectiveness of these calls can significantly influence the success of a hunt. However, with a myriad of options on the market, selecting the best duck call that aligns with your hunting style and the specific conditions you face can be daunting. This comprehensive guide will navigate you through the process, ensuring you make an informed decision.

Understanding Duck Calls

The Purpose of Duck Calling

Duck calling is an art that simulates the natural sounds ducks make. These sounds can range from quacks, feeding calls, to hail calls, each serving a different purpose in the wild. The primary goal of duck calling in hunting is to attract ducks into range by convincing them that they are joining fellow ducks.

Types of Duck Calls

The best duck call comes in various designs, each suited for different situations and hunter preferences. The most common types include:

  • Single Reed Calls: Known for their versatility and range, single reed calls can produce loud, attention-grabbing sounds as well as softer, more subtle calls. They require more skill to master but offer greater control.
  • Double Reed Calls: These calls have two reeds, making them easier to blow and produce a more consistent sound. They are ideal for beginners but might lack the range of single reed calls.
  • Acrylic Calls: Durable and capable of producing sharp, loud calls. Best suited for open waters.
  • Wooden Calls: Offer a softer, more natural sound. Ideal for calm days or hunting in timber.

How to Duck Call

Mastering how to duck call requires practice and understanding the context in which different calls are used. Key calls include:

  • Basic Quack: The foundation of all duck calling, a simple, short sound used to get a duck’s attention.
  • Feeding Call: A series of fast, soft quacks that simulate ducks feeding and can allure others to join.
  • Hail Call: A loud series of calls used to attract ducks from a distance.

Choosing the Best Duck Call for Your Hunting Style

Assessing Your Hunting Environment

Your hunting environment plays a crucial role in selecting the right duck call. Open areas such as large lakes or bays necessitate louder calls with a broader range, such as those produced by acrylic single reed calls. Conversely, in wooded areas or smaller bodies of water, a softer, more nuanced call like those from a wooden double reed might be more effective.

Skill Level and Ease of Use

Your proficiency in using duck calls should also influence your choice. Beginners might find double reed calls more forgiving and easier to use, providing a confidence boost through consistent sound production. More experienced hunters might prefer the flexibility and challenge of a single reed call, which can produce a wider variety of sounds.

Durability and Maintenance

The material and construction of a duck call affect its longevity and performance. Acrylic calls, while more expensive, are resilient and perform well in various weather conditions. Wooden calls require more maintenance to preserve their sound quality but offer a richer, more authentic tone.

Best Practices in Duck Calling

Practice Makes Perfect

Regular practice is essential to master the art of duck calling. Experiment with different calls and techniques to understand how they influence the sound produced.

Listening to Live Ducks

Observing and listening to live ducks can provide valuable insights into how ducks communicate. Try to mimic these sounds with your call to enhance its effectiveness.

Call with Purpose

Overcalling can spook ducks away. Use calls judanctiously, adjusting your strategy based on the ducks’ responses. If they are approaching, sometimes less is more.

Keep Your Calls Tuned

Regular maintenance of your duck call ensures it produces the right sounds. Check reeds for wear and tear and replace them as necessary.

What is the best duck call for beginners?

For beginners, a double reed duck call is often recommended. Double reed calls are generally easier to blow and require less precise breath control than single reed calls, making them more forgiving for novices. They produce a consistent, realistic duck sound with minimal effort, which can help boost confidence in new hunters. Brands like Duck Commander and Primos make popular double reed models that are designed with beginners in mind, offering durability and ease of use.

How do I maintain my duck call to ensure it performs well?

Proper maintenance is crucial for keeping your duck call in top condition. For wooden calls, avoid exposure to extreme moisture or dryness, as wood can expand or contract, affecting the sound. After each use, disassemble the call if possible, and let it air dry to prevent reed deterioration. For acrylic and other non-wooden calls, rinsing with fresh water, especially after saltwater exposure, and drying is sufficient. Regularly check the reeds for wear; they may need adjustment or replacement over time to maintain the quality of the call.

Can the same duck call be used in different hunting environments?

While a duck call can be used in various environments, its effectiveness might vary based on the surrounding conditions. Calls that produce louder, more penetrating sounds are better suited for open, windy areas where the sound needs to carry further. Softer, more nuanced calls are ideal for calmer, wooded areas where sound can be easily muffled. Adapting your calling technique can also help, but having a call that matches the environment can significantly increase your chances of success.

How can I improve my duck calling technique?

Improving your duck calling technique involves practice, listening, and learning. Spend time practicing with your call to become comfortable with producing different sounds. Listening to live ducks or recordings can help you understand the nuances of their communication. Try to replicate these sounds with your call. Watching instructional videos or attending workshops led by experienced callers can provide valuable insights and techniques. Remember, subtlety and rhythm often trump volume and frequency, so focus on mastering the basics before moving on to more complex calls.

Are expensive duck calls worth the investment?

The price of a duck call often reflects the quality of materials and craftsmanship, which can translate to better sound quality, durability, and ease of use. However, an expensive duck call isn’t necessarily the best choice for everyone. For beginners, a moderately priced, easy-to-use call might be more appropriate until they develop their skills and preferences. Experienced hunters might find that a higher-priced call offers the precision and range they need. Ultimately, the best call is one that sounds good to you, fits your budget, and meets your hunting needs. Before investing in a high-end call, consider trying out different models to find the best fit for your style and experience level.


Choosing the best duck call for your hunting style is a personal journey that involves considering your hunting environment, skill level, and the specific features of different duck calls. Whether you’re a novice seeking an easy-to-use double reed call or an experienced hunter looking for the versatility of a single reed, there’s a duck call that meets your needs. Remember, the key to effective duck calling is not just the call itself but how you use it. Practice, patience, and continuous learning are your allies in becoming proficient in this art, enhancing your hunting experiences and success.

About Micah Drews

After playing volleyball at an international level for several years, I now work out and write for Volleyball Blaze. Creating unique and insightful perspectives through my experience and knowledge is one of my top priorities.

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