Calling ducks effectively is a talent that many waterfowl hunters fail to master. Whether you’re a novice or an advanced caller, the off-season provides ample opportunities to tweak your abilities and fine-tune the skills you’ll need this fall.
Experienced callers know that the majority of duck hunters hang up their calls once the season ends, however the subtle techniques and the time it takes to master a duck call can come only with off-season practice.
There are a lot of callers out there, many of whom are pretty good at calling ducks, who don’t really understand the air regulation needed for them to improve. A common mistake is calling without opening your throat. Being able to regulate the air pressure and maintain control will improve any caller’s abilities in the field. This is typically the first thing that any caller looking to get better should start working on.
Veteran duck hunters typically say it’s best to focus on the basics—single quacks, hail-call cadences, and feeding calls—and not jump too far ahead. Once you know how to control the air flow, most recommend using the off-season to focus on more technical calling.
Once a caller has a strong grasp of the instrument, this is when you want to get into the subtleties of calling ducks. Spend a couple of weeks seeing how softly you can blow the call and still sound like a duck. Then spend a week on really high-volume notes. All this practice will improve your calling when the season comes around again.