So, you went on your first duck hunt and now you’re hooked? You watched the guide sweet talk those birds down out of the big sky to give you that opportunity to harvest your ducks. Now you would like to be a part of that. You want to be able to call ducks in also. With so many choices in the market, how do you pick out a call?
Choosing a Maker
There are several major duck call makers and they all make a good call. There are also a lot of individuals that make their own calls. Some of those are really good and some not so much. I would recommend starting out with a call from a reputable call maker; Echo, RNT, Hobo, Refuge and Elite are just a few proven duck calls on the market, although there are many more that are well known calls too.
Do I want a single or double reed?
A double reed is fairly easy to use. You can still get some realistic duck sounds with a double reed and it is a good call for beginners. A single reed is a little more difficult to obtain good tone. Once a caller can master a single reed, the caller will be able to make a larger range of duck sounds and be more versatile in their calling.
Now what material do I want my call made out of? The three typical choices are acrylic, wood and polycarbonate. A few factors go into choosing the material. One factor may be your pocketbook. Acrylic calls are usually the most expensive, wood calls coming in second in price and polycarbonate at the bottom of the price range.
The second factor is what kind of sound do you want from your call. Do you want volume or do you want a soft low sound? An acrylic call is typically going to produce a louder and sharper sound. Wood calls are softer and more mellow. A polycarbonate call falls in between. There are acrylic calls that are made to get the soft mellow sound that you can get from a wood call. The type of sound that you want is also determined in the terrain that you will be hunting. Will you be hunting in big open water or in the close quarters of timber? If you are hunting open water, you will probably want a call that has volume. In close quarters you will want a call that can get soft.
The third factor is how well are you going to care for your call? An acrylic call is very durable, and they hold up well to moisture. A wood call is going to absorb moisture and will swell. If you don’t keep up with your calls well or you’re going to be really rough on a call and have to replace it often, you may want to consider going with a polycarbonate. I highly recommend removing your insert from your barrel after every hunt and letting it air dry no matter which material you use, but this is especially important with a wood call.
No matter which call you pick out, there is all kinds of choices in colors. This will be your personal preference. You can even go to most call makers and they can create you, your own color combination to customize it and most will do personalized engraving as well.
I recommend trying different calls. Whether you try some of your friend’s calls or try them out at the counter at the store. If you don’t like the way it feels on your lips, it’s too hard to blow or you simply do not like the way it sounds, keep trying calls until you find one that will fit you.