Duck Hunting Texas: How to Use a Duck Call
This article is the third in a series intended to provide readers helpful information about duck hunting public lands in Texas.
In this article, we plan to answer the frequently asked question,"How do I use a Duck Call?"
How Do I Use a Duck Call?
Four Basic Duck Calls
First, learn and become proficient in the four basic duck calls. See the following list; included is a brief description of when to use them.
- Hail Cail or "High Ball." Used to call the attention of a passing flock to your decoy spread. The ducks are close enough to hear your call but have not noticed your decoys.
- Greeting Call. Used when a flock is aware of your decoy spread and is intended to "give life" to your decoys to maintain the flocks attention.
- Feeding Call or "Feeding Chuckle". Used when the flock is committed to your decoy spread and is intended to simulate a flock of feeding mallards. FYI: Considered a difficult call to master for some.
- Comeback Call. Used when a flock turns away or appears to be landing out of range. Intended to coax or regain the flock's attention back to your decoy spread.
Use the off-season to practice calling and take advantage of local community lakes and neighborhood ponds to observe the effect your calling has on live ducks.
Once you can carry on a "conversation" with the local ducks, you are ready to begin calling while hunting.
Till then, practice, practice, and practice. And, remember that too much calling may drive flocks away especially later in the season.
A Duck Calling Scenario
You have practiced the four basic duck calls, can "talk" to the local ducks at the neighorhood pond, and feel ready to begin calling in a hunting situation.
Now, let's walk-through a duck hunting scenario to illustrate how to use a duck call.
- You observe a flock in the distance. Their wingbeats are steady, and they appear to be passing through the area. Point your duck call directly at the flock and call loudly. Use one or two Hail Calls, and then observe their reaction.
- (a) If the flock turns toward you or their wingbeats slow to a flutter, Hail Calls are no longer neccessay. You have their attention; your focus now is maintaining their attention. (b) If the flock remains disinterested, try another Hail Call, else let them continue on. Remember too much calling may drive them and others further away.
- Once you have the flock's attention, maintain it using a Greeting Call to give life to your decoy spread. One or two Greeting Calls need only be used as the ducks will be closing the distance quickly. And, be sure not to call directly to the flock. The sound should appear to originate from your decoy spread.
- If the flock turns away or may land out of range, begin Comeback Calls to regain their attention.
- As the flock comes in range and has clearly committed to the decoy spread, use a Feeding Call to imitate feeding ducks!
Wait till the flock has decoyed to your spread (that you pre-measured the distance of 20-30 yards) and stand-up slowly so as not to spook them as you prepare to shoot.
Finally, remember to single out one duck in the flock and to lead and swing through as you shoot.
FYI: The best way to learn how to use a duck call is to partner with an experienced duck hunter, who can demonstrate the calls and show you how and when to use them in a hunting situation.
Suggested Duck Calling Video/Demo
PS: Try Texoma
For many in Texas, lake levels are extremely low.
However, one possible lake to plan a duck hunt is Lake Texoma.
Do checkout the video below for some past footage of hunting action back in 2011!