Fishing & Hunting Tips

How to duck call for beginners

A duck call is generally a musical implement which is used to imitate duck sounds. Once you master the technique of proper duck calls, ducks will be more likely to land near your vantage point which will be the result of a mouth-watering Crisp-Tender Roast Duck with cherry-rosemary sauce. Oh yum yum. So, better learn all the tricks and tweaks to know how to duck call for beginners properly.

Understanding the right call for the exact moment is all that matters. It sounds easier than done. So, here we will try and comprehend one step at a time. Cause each technique has its own distinctive characteristics. Be patient, and remember that there are pro duck callers who used to be a rookie at first, and you are one too. Just a few short in ideas, that’s all. So, rise young huntsman, and anticipate on how to use duck calls for beginners tips carefully.


How to use a duck call

Now, just blow it, and you’re done. That’s what I thought when I was about to blow my first duck call. And the sound I produced would put a duck to wander off in fear. As I spent more time with it, I got better. I realized that it’s no different from a regular musical instrument. It requires both power and perfection combined with absolute concentration. Although after you finish learning, It will all be a muscle memory.

So, using a duck call allows you to showcase your artistic improvisation. This, like all other musical instruments, is reed-based, so hitting the right reed will accompany a few curious waterfowls into your hunting zone to elevate your successful hunting ratio. Also, gain some experience and knowledge of it’s built structure which will help you to master the actual pitch.

Just integrate these tips with proper practice, and you will nail all the ideas of how to duck call for beginners.

how to duck call for beginners

Finding the perfect sound

The rookie whistler should study the ducks’ actual call in their natural habitat. You will find some solid hunting spots in the process as well, just lean back, and feel that sound ducks’ are making. And keep on listening like it’s the only sound that this world can offer for the moment. Notice that not all the sounds are similar. Some are different from others.

Each sound has it’s individual meaning. These different sounds could represent basic quaking, greetings, call to feed, the lonely hen etc. Learn to differentiate each sound by looking at their physical activities. Once you get the idea of each sounds sole purpose, you will get one step closer to calling in ducks near your blind.

Now, a premium quality duck call will give you additional assistance upon making different sounds but I would not recommend this kind of call for any beginners. Just get a regular duck call and learn to imitate with the ducks’ natural call. Also, learn to understand which sound makes which outcomes. Always remember, to become an abid duck caller, you just need to stay close to the natural sounds of the duck.

Below is a tutorial video featuring Jase Robertson, a professional duck call expert that will show you the necessary sound you need to make in a couple of minutes. Carefully monitor his hand movements during every single call he makes. Practice the instructed sound every day and later you will be able to find a more complex call over the internet.


Don’t buy a lot of duck calls at once

Restrict yourself from buying too many different calls at once. To know the basics of how to duck call for beginners, don’t confuse yourself with too many variables. Just pick a call and hon the basics of duck calling before moving onto different calls. If you’re hoping for a perfect call that will work like a charm, believe me, such magical call does not exist.

A duck call is a musical instrument that requires proper air pressure once you blow it from the diaphragm. Don’t worry, the blowing pressure is mild so anyone can do this. Just buy one and start your practice. Once you master all the level of air pressure and hand gesturing antics, then and only then you should get a couple of calls, because now you will understand the most suitable match for your preference.


Single or double reed?

The general build of a duck call is equipped with either one or two reeds integrated with a wooden, acrylic, or polycarbonate sound chamber that intensifies the sound.

Single reed

A single reed can amplify sound to a higher scale and covers an extensive range of area. Although this type of duck calling demands immense practice and devotion. So, beginners should not opt for this call right away.

Double reed

Double reed calls are comparatively quieter than the single call. But it offers easier control over a variety of sounds. Double reed duck calls require a little more air pressure but it’s easier operation is suitable for beginners. Sometimes realistically accurate sound is more necessary than higher volume and range.


Acrylic, wooden or polycarbonate call?

The sound chamber of a duck call is generally made from either of these three materials, there are some notable differences in between these ingredients and the delicacies will provide you a clearer idea of which one should you choose from.

Acrylic calls

The acrylic call is known for its loud sharp intense sound. Excellent for open water and vast shallows. The sound has a broader travel range. The call is also extremely rigid and easy to maintain. It will also keep itself nice and clean even in a dirty environment. The higher price is the only drawback of this particular model.

Wooden Calls

This call tends to be more realistically accurate rather than loud and noisy. The soft and mellow tune deceives the waterfowls every time. Unlike an acrylic call, the wooden call has sound comparatively shorter in travel range. The price of this call is low but needs frequent maintenance. With proper care, the call will likely to last you a lifetime.

Polycarbonate calls

Polycarbonate calls are generally the same price as wood calls but the sound is somewhere in between the sharpness of an acrylic call and the softer tone of the wooden call. Note that all these 3 types of call have minimal water resistance.



If you’re considering hunting in open water or in a windy situation, you will require a call with a higher pitch with intensity and higher in volume. But when you’re hunting from a blind or with some decoys then it’s better to stick with soft mellow volume. A sound that renders safety and tranquility to the waterfowl. And for other casual hunts of the day, a smaller call would serve you sufficiently.

Come on now, give it a try

You can find instructions in detail that can assist you through the process of carving a wooden duck call, adjusting it with reeds and tuning it the necessary requirements. All these tweaks will ensure useful modifications of your duck call to perform flawlessly. I would not recommend buying any cheap ‘do it yourself kit’ because most of the time they are assembled with inferior quality materials.

Develop a believable quack

To attain the proper technique of duck call, a novice should develop a believable quack if he is to cover all the basics of duck calling. Just don’t blow cluelessly, focus on raising pressure and making the call reverberate. In the end, if the caller fails to put the necessary pressure, the call will not sound properly.

Before blowing into the call, make sure that your bottom lip is directly on the line of the underside of the calls edge and your front lip should be right on the top edge of the call. Also, keep your tongue pressed firmly on the roof of your mouth to prevent any contractions. This sort of approach can be altered for different calls, basic calls require direct airflow including the quack of course.

Take a big breath, get all the air pressure compressed in your lung, and put the force into the call. You can exhale all the air for a single quack or you can let air out bit by bit while making multi-noted calls. The best advice for a beginner duck caller is to practice more and more until the call becomes your muscle memory. Once you master the quacking, you will easily master the other forms of calling as well.

It is also crucial that novice hunters should master a clean “aCK” at the end of their every quack before moving on to different calls. Just understand and learn the basics perfectly and keep building on top of it.


The three zones

Ducks usually have three zones, they are commonly known as the entry zone, working zone, and exit zone. So callers should learn to attract ducks attention as long as possible. If it’s impossible to attain ducks attention than I would suggest young hunters to move on to others. It’s not a very smart move to scare off other birds for the sake of one. Intime you will develop a gut feeling on which bird can be lured and which are not.

Choosing the right duck call

As we discussed before, beginners should go for double reed first and then move on to hone their skills with a single reed call. And materials should be of each other’s personal taste. But for beginners, wooden double-reed should be picked. With low cost and close to a more realistic quack, this call will serve beginners with absolute precision.

Try and hold the call

You need to hold the call by the sound chamber, covering our fingers around the hold to mute it as you would play the harmonica. Contrariwise, you can grip the call like a cigar in-between two fingers and mute the end with the palm of your other hand. A proper hold will ensure a perfect and close to the realistic sound.


The differences between different call types

Always remember that different situations demand different call types which is the best tip for an armature. Sometimes it gets difficult for beginners to determine which type of call to select. Many novice duck hunters diminish their chances due to picking the wrong call at the wrong time. Besides the basic quacks, young hunters should learn all the other calls for a bountiful hunting session.

Use your diaphragm to blow

You can cough into your hand to identify your diaphragm. When you use the muscle to cough, the exact muscle can help you to force air pressure into the duck call thus making the most accurate sound. Note that you need to identify the muscle that helps you to cough, with that muscle force the wind pressure out while keeping the mouth closed. It’s more like you’re trying to get something out straight from your lungs rather than blowing a bubble.

Air control

Duck calls are usually short, repetitious, intense burst of sound, no long-term buzz. Try and make an oof sound by cutting the air off. When you are blowing from your diaphragm, open your lip slightly and put the call up to them. It’s a good trick for a perfect sound.

Putting the call between your teeth

Try to make a full quack sound by cutting off the air nearly as similar as a duck’s quack. This is the better way to sound as natural as possible.

Calling with hand technique

This technique is old but much more effective but equal difficulties. Whereas with a call, you produce a perfect sound. I would say after you master the duck call technique, you can put some effort to learn duck calling with your hand in case of an emergency. In the ongoing hunt, if your call encounters a defect, or if it gets broken, or you might have forgotten your call back home, in this dire state those who know hand calling can relax instead of a ruined hunting day. You can also make some old timers really proud.

To make a hand call, wrap your thumb into your into your palm and close your fist around it. Next, make a gesture the same as you dip your clenched fist into the water. This helps make an accurate sounding rattle in your call. Put air pressure between your thumb and palm, and you can change the shape by flexing your palm obscurely. This whole process may take some serious practicing but you will have the ability to make a call with or without a duck call.


Use greetings for first duck encounter

This call features a total of five notes in descending tone with an even, turbulent rhythm. The sounds something like kanc-kanc-kanc-kanc-kanc. This pleading can attract ducks that are passing through overhead. The sound indicates a lone duck in the water waiting to be joined by others. The first sound tends to be the longest in order to attract attention and then later the sound recalls the greeting call: kaaanc-kaanc-kanc-kanc-kanc.

The comeback call is a lot similar to the greeting calls and should be used only If the greeting call fails. It similar to the basic tone but more redundant, making a single sound: Kanc.

Make a feeding call

Feeding calls are not usually needed, but it has its advantage when rounding up different calls at once. The tone sounds something like tikki-tukka-tikka. Upon using this call, you should differ the volume from loud to slowly descend to a more quieter pitch. Then again pitch up your call and continue this cycle.

Use hailing calls for distant ducks

Try making a hailing call loud and less confusing, although live ducks sometimes lay out a more complex hailing calls. Some expert callers state that this call is underrated. The sound starts on a high note and descends as the call progresses. Hailing call sounds more like this: aaaaink-aaaaink-aaaaink.

Smooth call

Monitor the ducks’ behavior after this call. When calls are made, it is generally targeting a group of the duck flying overhead and lure them to land as close to your kill zone as possible. So, a smoothly and accurately made call always deceive ducks to your advantage. When you’re trying to attract a group of ducks, try not repeatedly call because it might give away your position. Don’t call more than half a minute, too much calling could make the ducks spooked thus resulting in a group departure.

Eliminate other distracting sounds

Group hunting can sometimes result in loud giggles and laughing at one’s joke or someone’s funny act. Just make sure to have your poker face ready when you have a joker in the group. And some hunters tend to listen to some country music on the radio, Jesus Christ man, get a grip and stop, unless of course if you are rocking songs on your headphones, which is still not recommended.

Avoid calling if ducks are interested in decoys

If the ducks are lured by your decoys, Don’t blow a single call because It will spook the duck and they will get confused. It won’t be long when they will know the duck next door isn’t breathing yet making a smiley friendly duck face.


Hold your horses’ gunny, most of the time ducks will move around, come and go and land several times before they settle close to your decoys or your clear line of sight. So, if you’re trigger happy then be patient. It’s better to wait for a while and confirm a kill rather than wreck your shot in a hurry.

Whistling works!

Well, surprised? Don’t be, it actually works. Many amateur Hunter who is still learning the basic quack has simply whistled to get the birds attention. Not only it works but it has managed some hunters to score big. So, don’t underestimate the power of a perfectly pitched whistle.

You can also whistle any close by hunters to pair up with you and have fun hunting together. Experienced hunters use whistle along with pintail, wigeon and mallard greeting calls. Just try to be creative because some duck tends to get picky over time.



Duck calling skills take time to master and requires a lot of practice. Like I already said several times before, get a less complex duck call and start practicing as soon it hits your door. Avoid being all theatrical, just use it in your room, going on a field with ducks isn’t always compulsory. And get some time to research online to acquire additional useful information. Persistent practice will earn you more successful hunting sessions so that you can Impress your family with lots of waterfowl at the dinner table.


Cleaning and maintenance

After every hunting session, don’t forget to clean and tune your duck calls for later use. Especially wooden duck call requires drying out and wiping down after use so the wood won’t wear and crack over time. Just unscrew the reeds and make sure that they are in working condition and haven’t broken or chipped which will affect the sound you produce with it. So replace them if required. Before removing screws, mark it with a pen or something to know how far the reeds are screwed into the call so upon replacing, you will know the exact depth. Any misadjustment will lead to changed tone and difficulties in sound production during operation.



Any beginners out there who think that they can somehow lean to duck call perfectly just by making assumptions as they practice, you are terribly misled. Here, we tried to inform you as much as possible on how to duck call for beginners. You need to value and follow professional advice and tips in order to become a professional yourself one day.

Here we have tried our level best to produce every tip known to become a professional hunter. Yes, you might say, I wouldn’t worry about whether I drop a waterfowl or not, just looking to hang out and have some fun, trust me, when you will wreck your shot over and over again, you will get frustrated. To have fun, you need to follow the proper ways of having some fun, right? So, I would humbly request you to follow our instructions, and someday, become a successful hunter.



Nicholi Wyto

Hey I'm Nicholi Wyto is a professional sports fisherman and hunter, love to enjoy spending time in Michigan’s rugged northern forests. I love to explore my experience and help others who are interested in fishing and hunting.

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