Duck & Goose Hunting

Duck Call Basics

Duck Calls

A good duck call is one of the many things that are imperative to own when enjoying the sport of duck hunting. Many hunters will have several that they carry around their necks on what is called a lanyard. The basic premise behind the duck call is to imitate a duck quacking and get it to come within close range for a high quality shot. Duck calls are made of many different materials. A good duck caller can make ducks appear to be on a string as they fly towards the hunters.

Duck Call Materials

Duck calls are mostly made from three key materials, wood, poly carbonate and acrylic. Each of these materials has different properties and advantages. It is not uncommon for a duck hunter to have two different calls that are made from two different materials in order to mimic a particular sound.


The most commonly found duck call material, wood actually can be of several different varieties. The main thing to remember is that wood is generally known to emit a soft and realistic sound. This is the main advantage it has (in addition to many woods being of relatively inexpensive material). While this is the main advantage, varying temperatures and humidity levels can wreak havoc on the sound of the call and therefore can produce varying results depending on the weather. Unfortunately, this can be a bear as the weather is a necessary evil in the duck hunting world.

Poly Carbonate

The least expensive duck calls are made from poly carbonate. You will find them as the bargain basement carbon copies of much more expensive calls. The problem with poly calls is they do not often produce a quality sound. Plus they are susceptible to changes in the environment.


The most expensive of the duck calls are made from acrylic. Acrylic has a high quality sound and can produce a wide range of sounds. Unfortunately, their price can be restrictive as they are often north of $100. In addition it is often hard to produce a soft sound with an acrylic call. They really shine in open places where a loud call is a must such as a large lake or reservoir.

Single vs Double Reed

Duck calls come in one of two varieties in terms of their reeds, single reed and double reed.  The reed is what produces the quack sound you hear out of the other end of the call.  When you blow into the call it causes the reed to vibrate up and down producing the sound. 

Single Reed

The choice of most professionals and high end duck callers, the single reed duck call is great in terms of the sounds it can make.  The range is quite impressive.  You are also able to tune the reed to export the sound you desire.  A simple change to the reed position can cause a lower or higher pitch, depending on what you are looking for.  Unfortunately for the middle to lower end duck caller the adjustment is a tricky one to get used to and producing a quality sound out of a single reed can be a bit of a chore for those not accustomed to them.

Double Reed

As opposed to the single reed, the double reed does give up some range in terms of the sounds it can make.  However, what it gives up in terms of range it gains back in spades in terms of ease of use.  It is much easier to produce a quality quack out of a double reed call and that is the key reason so many people carry one on their lanyard.

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