Learning to call ducks successfully is one of the biggest challenges of duck hunting. It's also one of the most popular challenges - duck calling contests happen all over the U.S. and the champions are treated like gods sometimes!
Regular folks, however, can learn to call ducks with just one or two basic calls, a few key tips and a little bit of practice. There is no need to spend a lot of money or to feel intimidated by the pros and champions.
In fact, many of the champion callers don't kill many ducks. Why? Because they know how to "stage" call, but they don't know how to "blind" call. In other words, their calling is designed to please human judges, not feathered ones.
Duck hunting is not about winning prizes from human judges - it's about getting the ducks in shooting range. The prizes are the satisfaction that comes with that achievement, and the glorious duck dinner you have later at home with family and friends. When you learn to call ducks effectively, you will "win" the prizes that matter.
THINGS TO DO:
1. Buy a few decent calls - You can get away with just 1 or 2, or you might spring for 3 or 4 depending on the species you plan to hunt and the conditions in which you hunt .
2. Master a handful of basic calls - the basic quack, the greeting call, the feeding call will work in most freshwater duck hunting situations. Watch these short videos to see how to call ducks with these 3 calls. The videos below are from the folks at Haydels Game Calls, which are some of the best duck calls made and they come from my home stomping grounds of Shreveport/Bossier City, Louisiana.
3. Practice by listening to real ducks - Listen to other callers at first, but the best callers listen to real ducks. Go to a city park or wildlife area to listen to real ducks, or get a recording of real ducks and listen to that. Emulate what you hear. Much of what you hear on stage you will rarely or never hear in the marsh
THINGS NOT TO DO:
1. Don't call too much in the blind - Less is more. Too much duck yacking will spook the birds and drive your hunting buddies crazy
2. Don't call too little - Don't get scared or intimidated. If you bust a few flocks, no big deal - even the pros do this from time to time
3. Don't call to ducks clearly coming in to your decoys - Call only to those passing overhead or flying away from you. Call to get them to turn and begin the flight path to your decoys. Once they get on that path make a few single quacks and then stop calling - and STAY STILL until the moment you raise up to shoot.