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General > A Wildfowlers Guide to Duck Calls.
A Wildfowlers Guide to Duck Calls.

A selection of wildfowling calls
A selection of Duck Calls and Goose Calls.

If you are looking for your first Duck Call, you are looking to change calls or you want an additional call to give you more flexibility then, hopefully, this brief overview may help you. This is not written as a comprehensive guide but it is a summary of our experience and a comparison of the calls we offer here at Direct Shooting Supplies. We have tested almost all of our calls and we use many of them on the marsh, we have not simply published here the instructions that are printed on the back of the packet!  

 

Click here to view our range of calls.

 

Duck Calls come in a variety of materials and styles and they consequently produce different tones and they require a different style of use, a call that suits me will not necessarily suit the next wildfowler who picks it up. Remember also that many wildfowlers will carry more than one call, you often find a call will clog up and jam at the most inconvenient time or you may simply want to alternate calls to offer up a different tone or volume.

 

In the DSS range there are two types of Mallard Call, Single Reed and Double Reed and these are then broken down into Moulded Plastic Duck Calls, Wooden Duck Calls and Acrylic Duck Calls, these materials and reed types do make a difference to the tone, volume, ease of calling and the flexibility of the call. In addition to the Mallard Calls we also have Duck Whistles that are used on Pintail, Wigeon, Teal and Mallard.

 

First let’s look at the materials the calls are made of and in doing so we will start with, what many regard as, the "traditional" wooden call. The wooden calls do tend to give a rich and more rounded tone and they usually have less volume as some of the volume is absorbed into the call. Wooden calls are, in practice, a little more forgiving than the plastic or acrylic calls and often well suited to the novice caller. Generally a wooden call, particularly those made of less dense woods, are less suitable for use over big open waters or windy conditions as the pitch is lower and the volume is less than say a Plastic or Acrylic Call. Wooden Calls do score well when shooting in calm conditions, in woodland and when birds are working close in such as coming into a flight pond.

 

As I write this feature DSS have two regular wooden calls in stock, The Sonderman 66 Mallard Call and the Lohman 103 Regular Mallard Call, click on the link for each of these calls and it will give you a full review. I would say that you should not be fooled by the low price of the Lohman 103 Duck Call it is a very user friendly call, it produces a very good soft tone with little effort and it is very reliable. It however lacks the volume and tonal range you'll get from a double reed plastic call such as the Haydel's DR85 and so it has a limited use at short range on inland ponds. That said you could use this call on its own or in conjunction with a Plastic or Acrylic Call to give two different tones and the impression of more than one duck working your area. 

 

Plastic Calls are usually now "all plastic" in so much as the barrel, the mouthpiece and all the components are plastic. An all plastic call has an advantage over wood because the material will not absorb water and so the pitch will not change, generally a plastic call is not likely to jam just because it is wet. Plastic is denser than wood and less sound is absorbed by the material so the pitch produced is higher and the tone is a little sharper. You can reduce the pitch and also produce a softer tone by partially smothering the call with your hand and this is something to practice as it is a useful tool for manipulating the call and creating variety. Plastic calls are generally better than wooden calls on big open waters such as the foreshore and in windy conditions due to the higher pitch but they may be a little to aggressive in calm weather, sheltered waters, woodland and when working birds close in. Personally I've used a plastic call for the last 12 years in the form of the Haydel's DR85 and, though I've tried a lot of alternatives, I'd not go without this on my lanyard.

 

Moulded and turned Acrylic Duck calls are the densest of our calls and they produce the highest pitch. The high volume produced by these calls makes them highly suitable for use on vast open expanses and in particular on the foreshore. Acrylic calls are also good for attracting birds at long distance before changing over to a plastic or wooden call for close in work. Like plastic Duck calls the Acrylic Calls is less affected by moisture and so the tone is more consistent.

 

Having considered the material the Mallard call is made from the next thing we will look at are the reeds. As I mentioned at the start of this features we get Mallard Calls with Double Reeds and Single Reeds, these reeds are usually made of a "high tech" plastic.

 

Double Reed Mallard Calls are usually the best option for Novice callers as they are more forgiving than the single reed call. The Double reed has to be blown harder than the single reed call to produce a note and the tonal range at the top end is not as extensive. However the Double Reed scores well because it is far less prone to sticking if overblown and to get a decent note it is not necessary to "grunt" into the call as you have to with the single reed (you can't just blow the Double Reed). Our most popular Double Reed Mallard Call was the Haydel’s DR85, this is the call I have used for 12 years, my son has used one since he was seven and recommend this call without hesitation.

 

Single Reed Calls require less air pressure to get them to work and they have a wider tonal range which offers greater versatility. The downside is they do tend to stick if overblown and no sound is produced! Personally I prefer Double Reed Calls.

 

Last up we have the Duck Whistle and we have a couple in our range, the Haydel’s MP90. These calls work very well on Pintail, Teal and Wigeon with a little practice and they are very straightforward to use. Often neglected is the Drake Mallard purr which is produced using either of these whistles and should always be used in conjunction with one of the Hen Mallard Calls we have discussed above.

 

You can view our full range of call by CLICKING HERE

 

Pro-Staffer "Stotty" gives a beginners guide to Duck Calling, Click Here to view the guide

 

 

 

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