When it comes to duck hunting or beginning to duck hunt there is a multitude of information to learn. For example, you may find your self learning about waders, shotguns, shells, camo, decoys, or duck calls. The one that we always get the most questions around or new hunters are always eager to learn is about duck calling. Therefore, we put together a simple set of steps and tips for duck calling for beginners. As calling is one of the most rewarding aspects of duck hunting.
Selecting A Duck Call | Duck Calling For Beginners
One of the best stages of duck calling for beginners is picking out a duck call. There is a wide range of prices, styles, and brands. However, they all make a duck sound which is really what you need to learn. Of course, many times you get what you pay for. However, what you need to be more concerned with if you’re purchasing your first call is to get something reliable. It’s almost better to get a beginner call as they can be easier to use and more forgiving, and of course, they don’t break the bank. To assist in finding a call the best resource is our best duck call for beginners guide.
In this article you’ll find the top duck calls for beginners, these are based on the price, construction, and sound. You’ll also find full descriptions for each duck call and details on the leading duck call manufacturer. Most duck hunters believe you need a $100 or even $200 dollar call to kill ducks. However, that just isn’t the case, it’s about learning how to call. If you know how to call I guarantee you’ll shoot ducks regardless of the call you blow.
If you’re not up for reading the entire article on the best duck call for beginners, then we’ve attached our #1 call choice right here.
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You’d have to be born under a rock to have not heard of Duck Commander. Most people outside of the duck hunting community just assume this is just a Reality TV Show. However, before Duck Dynasty the foundation of Duck Commander was formed making duck calls back in the early 1970’s. Born in West Monroe, Louisiana Duck Commander was founded by Phil Robertson. It wasn’t an easy start filled with huge paychecks either. Phil was actually a school teacher and decided he needed to turn his passion for the outdoors and duck hunting into a living.
In 1972, he quit his job and started making Duck calls, about $8,000 dollars worth the first year. Not much but that same year he received a patent on his call and set out store to store, city to city trying to sell his duck calls. Many stores turned him down, however, with his persistence and unique duck calls. Phil was able to begin turning his passion into a real livelihood.
Phil has been able to turn his small company into a multi-million dollar company with the help of his sons and family. They’ve been able to expand into other products, TV, and even hunting videos. Some of the early hunting videos, “Duckmen” are still some of the best action packed duck hunting videos.
The Camo Max is the best duck call for beginners from Duck Commander. It’s been around for over 12 years now and it’s a very simple and easy call to learn on. However, even though it’s an entry-level call it has a lot of range for this type of call. The call is dipped in Camo Max pattern to making it blend into any environment. Of course, most guys want the fluorescent colored duck calls, cause they look cool. However, when you’re in a field or marsh hunting a bright orange or yellow call is easily going to be seen by ducks. Very few calls on the market are actually camo, besides this model.
The call is made of high impact plastic that will withstand varying temperatures. Therefore, from early season to late this call will be a great call for any beginner.
Best Uses –
The Camo Max duck call is used best as a mid-range call. It won’t give you the loud hail calls that some people desire. However, for the sake of any beginner duck hunter, all you need is a call that you can learn on and finish ducks with. The Camo Max is a great finisher call because it can go from a mid-range volume to a low volume feeder chuckle with great ease.
This call is also great for any style of hunting, the tone of the call is a very raspy mallard hen sound. The call has some great low and mid range so this is a great call for small ponds and rivers. If you are hunting some large lakes it may not give you the ability to reach way out there. However, for the sake of a beginner call mid-range calls are much easier to learn on and hunt with.
One of the reasons this is the best call for beginners is that it’s affordable and yet it still is a custom-tuned call thanks to it being apart of the Gunning Series by Duck Commander. So for an affordable price you get a call that is hand tuned and tested, ensuring that once it reaches your hands it will sound like a duck.
Duck Call Construction | Duck Calling For Beginners –
When it comes to the duck call the history dates back over a hundred years ago. Before the time of calling competitions, and custom duck calls there were waterfowl hunters all over trying to tinker and make their very own duck calls. Some of the earliest calls were made of wood, cork, and any other materials found around the home. However, there wasn’t the same duck call manufactures that are found in just about every corner of every flyway today.
There are a few major components of the duck call that will help you when it comes to learning how to use a duck call. Therefore, there are three main pieces of every modern duck call.
Mouth Piece –
Usually made of wood, acrylic, or polycarbonate the mouthpiece is the part of the duck call that you blow into. It really doesn’t get much more complicated than that. The only thing that differs between one duck call and another is style and inside diameter. Some call manufactures even mess with the length of the mouthpiece to provide different volumes, tones, and sounds.
Reed & Sound Board –
The second and most important is the reed and soundboard. In order for one duck call to be different from another duck call is by changing and designing a unique reed or soundboard. Depending on the reed size, thickness, and how the reed is secured to the soundboard this is what gives each duck call it’s very own unique sound.
The last piece to a duck call is the insert, this is where the duck call sound exits. Again there isn’t a lot to this piece. However, it can be altered in size to give different tones and volumes. The main part of this piece is to hold the reed and soundboard. So even though it’s simple this is what gives each manufacturer their differences.
How To Use A Duck Call | Duck Calling For Beginners –
How To Use a Duck Call –
When it comes to learning how to use a duck call there are a few components that will begin to add context to a duck call.
Air Pressure –
The first and hardest to understand for beginners to learn is air pressure. The term “blow” a duck call is relative. Instead, when learning how to use a duck call you aren’t blowing in the same way you would blow out candles on a birthday cake. Instead, think of the air pressure required for a duck call as the same as if you were to fog up a window and write on it. Some refer to this as warm air or air from your diaphragm. So to know if you are using the correct air pressure, take your duck call and while blowing into a mirror if your cheeks puff out that is what it looks like to use cold air. Whereas if you are using the hot air, your cheeks will not puff out.
If you want a great video to learn about air pressure and air presentation when learning how to use a duck call. Midwest Flyways does a great video clip, see below.
Hand Placement –
The second crucial part when it comes to learning how to use a duck call is the hand placement. Instead of just picking up a call and blowing there is a lot of tone and sound that is required by your on hand using the duck call. Therefore, following these steps will help position you to get the correct hand placement.
Step 1 :
For me, I use my right hand when using a duck call, either work. Some try and use the opposite hand as their shooting side, but instead do what feels comfortable. To start take your call hand and spread it wide open where the back of your hand faces your eyes. Next, open your hand and create a “V” between your thumb and index finger. This is where the duck call will fit into place. Rest the insert of the duck call in the center of the created “V”.
Step 2 :
Next, wrap your index finger and thumb around the barrel of the insert and grab the call firmly. In some ways it’s similar to making the “okay” hand gesture with the duck call fixed in the middle of your thumb and index finger.
Next, you will take the final three fingers from your middle to your pinky and rest them on the meaty part of your palm. Creating a cupped channel for the air of the duck call to be released in. This part is very important as it’s designed to mimic and be the bill of a duck. As a result, when you see some duck calling this is the moving fingers that you are seeing. It’s designed to mimic the duckbill opening and closing to allow air to release.
Tongue Position –
The final very important part of learning how to use a duck call is your tongue position. This helps release the air pressure through the duck call. If you think of the tongue as a valve for release pressured air it’s easier to understand how the tongue should work.
For starters, there are two parts to learning how to use your tongue. The first is the roof of your mouth and the second is the tip of your tongue or bottom part of the tongue. There are some variations to this, however, for beginners, this is the easiest starting points, to begin with. Essentially, your tongue is opening and closing between the tip of your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Therefore, when you know how to create the correct warm pressured air you will bring your tongue down and allow air to go through the call. To create that quack sound you then have to close the air by quickly shutting the air pressure off. To do this you have to slap the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
The skill of learning how to utilize your tongue does take time and practice. When I first started I would play around with my tongue in my mouth even without a duck call. Practice moving your tongue to the roof of your mouth and understand how air has to be released and stopped.
Bobby Guy Films does a great job of explaining the tongue placement if you want a visual for reference.
Duck Calling For Beginners | Basics –
When it comes to duck calling for beginners you want to stick to the basics. Typically what happens is that a new caller will get on Youtube or purchase a few calling films and they get ahead of themselves. They then find out that they can’t do the more advanced calls and begin to be frustrated or even hang up the idea of calling. Leaving the calling for more experienced callers. Instead, what you need to do is practice the simple hand placement, tongue placement, and air pressure routines to get a solid quack. Be sure to practice a lot in the offseason, if you can find a mentor that can help give pointers that’s even better. However, the main thing is to stick to the basics and practice all off season.