To Call or Not to Call? That is the Question. The Quack Attack.

Duck calling is a true art. It takes a modicum of talent to do it correctly. Not only that it takes a good chunk of time dedicated to practice to do it right. Some types of calls are easier to master then others, but there are some things common to all calls. Hunters that either have little experience or are miss-informed about the purpose and effectiveness of duck calls ignore many of these aspects.

First – Don’t call at birds that are already heading your way. If the ducks are already heading towards you the only thing you might accomplish by calling is to flare the birds away from your blind. A real talented caller may not spook the ducks but if they are already heading in calling won’t improve that. If the duck are already heading your way DON’T CALL. The only exception to this would be using a light feeding cackle as the ducks circle your decoy spread, and this is only if you know how to do it right.

Second – Don’t call at an empty sky. Calling into an empty sky, with no birds flying, will not magically make ducks appear. No matter how good a caller you are if the ducks aren’t in the air all your calling might accomplish is to annoy hunters in adjacent blinds. Not only because of the noise your making but especially because they will be craning their necks to see what you’re calling at.

Third – If you’re going to use a call, PRACTICE. Bad calling is worse then no calling. I will be the first to admit that I am not a good caller. Because of that I limit myself to a pintail whistle and, occasionally when the situation calls for it, a goose call (which is easier to at least call decently with then a duck call). There are many good DVD’s and even videos on youtube that you can find that will help you in becoming a good caller. This is the time of year to start practicing. Get a DVD or peruse youtube and practice as often as possible. Go to a local park lake and see if you can attract ducks with your call. When you get them swimming over to see who’s “talking” to them then you’re probably ready.

Forth – Call only at birds heading away from you. The real purpose of a duck call is to bring the ducks attention to your decoy spread. Once the ducks turn and see your spread and start in don’t call. Again, if you are proficient with it, the only exception would be a light feeding cackle as the ducks circle your decoy spread.

Fifth – Did I mention PRACTICE!

Sixth – If you’re not real good at calling you might want to try a pintail whistle. Some may not be aware of it but most ducks actually whistle instead of quack. Try a pintail whistle as it is not too hard to imitate pintail (of course), teal, and widgeon which are more prevalent in our Southern California marshes any way.

So, if you plan on calling ducks in next season go out and get a call and a good instructional DVD now so you’ll be ready in October when the season starts. Beside, you can have fun for about 6 months driving your wife or girlfriend crazy with your practice.

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