Guide to Waterfowl Calling
Calling strategy could bring birds right to your blind or send them in the opposite direction. Follow these tips to ensure you’re keeping them coming.
Get plenty of practice. Realistic calling can take many months and even years to truly master, so start practicing yesterday. Watch tutorials, listen to recordings of real birds, emulate champion callers, and follow manufacturer instructions carefully to understand how to use your call properly and understand what sounds you’re going for. Research what works best for the specific species you’re targeting and get the right calls for the job.
Know your zones. Ducks go through three zones relative to your eyesight: entry zone, working zone, and exit zone. Stay ready so you can get their attention when they’re heading into the entry zone (as soon as you spot them). After that, it’s likely too late.
Don’t call it quits too early. Although you want to hit ducks with calls on time, you also don’t want to give up too early. Oftentimes, birds pulling up the rear will break off and head for decoys when the calling is too irresistible.
Work as a team. When you’re hunting with buddies, don’t compete with each other with your calling. Instead, designate one person as the primary caller and work as a team to support that leader.
Don’t mess with a good thing. If ducks are already heading straight for you, skip the calling and stay patient. Throwing in some less-than-great calls could actually work against you in this situation.
Switch it up when necessary. Not all birds will respond the same way to the same calls. If your tried-and-true sounds aren’t working in a new place or on a particular set of birds, don’t be afraid to switch it up. Be flexible and keep a variety of calls with you.
Care for your calls. Keep your calls in top shape for the long run by regularly cleaning them according to manufacturer recommendations. Inspect reeds corks for signs of excessive wear or damage and make updates as needed.