Best Duck Calls – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

You’re all set for your hunting trip. You have your gun, extra ammunition, and binoculars. You have your jacket and your waders.

You think you have all of the accessories you need, but do you have the right duck call? Not every duck call is made the same. Each model (and the way you use it) can have a different effect.

Before you go on your next trip, take a look at our favorite duck calls for every experience level.

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Comparison of the Best Duck Calls

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What Are Duck Calls Used For?

The call is an accessory that makes the sound of a duck. When you use this type of device, it attracts ducks to your location, allowing you to hunt them more easily. Based on the design of call you have and your skill level, there are three main types of sounds you should know:

Hail/Comeback Call

Long and Loud Noise to Attract Ducks From Far Away Locations


Quack Call

A Short Sound That Imitates a Duck’s Quack, Will Attract Others Nearby

Feed Call

Short Sounds With Different Pitches; Sounds Like a Duck Eating; Will Attract Others

How Does a Duck Call Work?

The duck call works like a whistle. You blow into it, and the reeds inside vibrate. The vibration of the reeds will create the sound that escapes the device. The sound it makes depends on how thick the barrel is and how many reeds are in the instrument. Larger products make deeper, lower calls, while thinner ones make more high-pitched noises.

Duck Call History

Did you know? The call has been around for four hundred years! Before the invention of duck calls, hunters would trap actual ducks and use the sounds to attract more ducks. They would also use mouth calls to imitate the sound of ducks. The idea for a duck call was born when hunters started to use a dead duck’s vocal cords to attract flocks.

That’s right: hunters would kill a duck, chop its head off, pull the vocal cords out and blow through them. This is still a tradition in some parts of the country as a survival technique. By the end of the 1800s, the first patented duck calls hit the market.    

Many duck hunters have their favorites that they swear by when they are hunting; others use different products depending on the situation. Every breed of duck makes a different sound based on their activity, so you’ll want to be familiar with them – and how to imitate them using your call.


What Makes a Great Duck Call?

While experienced hunters will all tell you that they have their favorite go-to product, how you choose your first item depends on many factors. The material is probably the most important, but we will go over that later.

Since you can hunt in several different areas and landscapes, you’ll want one that suits your activities. The reed count will affect the sounds you make, as well as its versatility in different temperatures. Some hunters enjoy caring for their calls, while others like very low-maintenance ones. You should consider these factors before choosing your next call.

Sound Variety

The material will have a significant impact on the sound quality, but other factors will change the sounds of your calls. Some models come pre-tuned for particular sounds, while others allow for personal tuning. If you have the know-how to tune your own call – or the ability to follow a tutorial on YouTube – then a product you can tune yourself will be much more versatile.

Other models – like the Duck Commander Pintail/Widgeon Call, one of the products on our list – boast the ability to make different calls to attract different breeds of ducks. If you are hunting different breeds, this can save your hunting trip.


Where you will be hunting is very important when considering your next purchase. Will you be shooting in warm, humid areas? Or is there a chance of rain or other moisture getting into your device? Some materials are more porous than others and will swell up in humid or wet environments. This will affect the product’s performance.


Other than material, the reed count is probably the most essential factor in choosing a call. The reeds will determine what type of sound it makes when you blow into it. There are single reed, double reed, and triple reed versions. Triple reed versions are not very common, although one makes an appearance on our list.

We’ve broken down the differences between single reed and double reed duck calls in the chart below:

Single Reed vs. Double Reed Duck Calls

Single Reed

Double Reed

Makes Louder Calls

Harder to Blow Into

Make a Wider Range of Sounds

Better for Beginners

Sounds Travel Better Over Open Water

Not a Wide Range in Sounds

It Takes Time to Learn the Proper Technique

Makes Both Quiet and Loud Sounds

You Need to Use Better Control Over Your Breath When You Blow Into It

Cold Weather Can Freeze the Reeds Together; Won’t Operate Right


The amount of maintenance you put into your item will depend on the material. Wooden calls are more traditional, but they also require more care. They are more porous than other materials, so you need to take it apart and let it dry out after every session. This can aggravate some hunters, so they prefer to use other materials.

A good rule to follow is: the harder the material, the longer-lasting the duck call will be – and the easier it will be to take care of it.

Review of the Best Duck Calls

All hunters have their favorite duck call, so narrowing down the best was a difficult task. We’ve reviewed the highest-rated products, with positive feedback from hunters, to make your selection process a little easier.  

Best Overall:Haydel’s Game Calls Ha-Yardel-Feets DR-85 Mallard D Reed

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  • Haydel’s Best-Selling Duck Call
  • Makes All of the Sounds of a Mallard Duck
  • Adjustable Floating Wedge so That You Can Tune it Yourself
  • Easy to Blow Into to Get the Perfect Sound – Great for Beginners!
  • Plastic Construction is Durable and Long-Lasting Against the Elements
  • Pre-Tuned Double-Reed Offering Produces Louder Sounds Than Other Double Reed Models


  • Fits Small in the Hand of An Adult
  • Minor Complaints of Poor Sound Quality
  • Plastic is Thin; Reeds Will Freeze in Cold Conditions

Founded by Louisiana native, Eli Haydel, Haydel’s Game Calls is one of the most popular manufacturers of duck calls in the country today. Since the 1980s, he has released non-wood duck calls known for their durability.

The Haydel’s Game Calls Ha-Yardel-Feets DR-85 Mallard D Reed, also known as the “Deceiver”, is the company’s best-selling model. This plastic offering holds up to rain and humidity, so you can use it worry-free in bad weather. The Deceiver is great for mallard hunters: it makes all of the sounds of a mallard so that they will be attracted to your location.

Although it comes pre-tuned, it has an adjustable wedge so that you can tune it yourself. Many hunters are surprised by the sound of this double-reed call as it sounds much louder than other double-reeds, making it an excellent option for use on open water and over long distances.

Bottom Line

Haydel’s Game Calls Ha-Yardel-Feets DR-85 Mallard is one of the best mallard options on the market today. The plastic construction allows for louder calls and it comes apart quickly for your own tuning. You can use the Deceiver to make all of the calls of a mallard, making your hunting trip a success. It is small, so this would be a great option for beginners or children who are learning the basics of duck calls.  

Runner-up:Duck Commander Pintail/Widgeon Call

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  • Good for Practicing
  • Calls for Six Breeds for More Versatility on the Hunt
  • Easy to Blow Into – Great for Beginners and Children!
  • High-Impact Plastic is Extremely Durable and Weather-Resistant
  • You Can Also Use it  as a Whistle for Your Hunting Dog on the Hunt
  • Duck Whistle from Louisiana Duck Commander From the Famous TV show Duck Dynasty


  • Doesn’t Come With a Lanyard
  • Some Complaints That They are Cheap and Not Very Durable

For those without a hunting background, the show Duck Dynasty introduced us to the world of duck-hunting. Phil Robertson has been making calls and whistles since the 1970s. Also a Louisiana native, Robertson created Duck Commander Company in 1973. It has since become a family business that has grown into a franchise with the success of the show.

With the Duck Commander Pintail/Widgeon Call, the company created a multi-faceted duck whistle that is useful on any hunt. You can make calls for six different breeds – the Pintail Drake, the Widgeon Drake, the Teal Drake, the Mallard Drake, the quail, and the dove. No matter what you’re hunting, this whistle will catch their attention.

The original idea behind this product came from a children’s whistle, so it is perfect for introducing the next generation to your favorite pastime. The high-impact plastic is extremely durable and the whistle is easy to blow into – even for the tiniest bodies.  

Bottom Line

Although this technically isn’t a call, it is a whistle you want to have with you. If you aren’t sure what will be in the area, then this whistle has you covered with six different calls. The plastic is impact and weather-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about extra moisture ruining the sound. There have been some complaints that it is flimsy, but hunters generally like to have this tool in their arsenal.

Best for the Money:Faulk’s Game Calls WA33 Deluxe Call

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  • Pre-Tuned for Hunting Mallard Ducks
  • Walnut Wood Duck Call Makes Cleaner, Raspier Sounds
  • Quality, Consistent Manufacturing Over Several Decades
  • Single Reed Makes Louder Calls, Especially Over Open Water
  • Harder Walnut Wood is More Durable Than Other Wood Duck Calls
  • Wood is More Temperature-Resistant in Colder Temperatures and Won’t Affect the Sound


  • Doesn’t Come With a Lanyard
  • Very Little Negative Feedback, so This One Doesn’t Have Many Drawbacks

With decades in the business, Faulk’s Game Calls is one of the most reputable companies in the duck call game. Around since the Great Depression, Faulk’s is a family business that hand-crafts and hand-tunes all of their duck calls. You would think such a product would empty your wallet, but this item is an example of their excellent attention to detail at a budget-friendly price.

This product is pre-tuned specifically for hunting mallards. The single reed construction with a walnut barrel makes cleaner, raspier sounds that will bring the ducks from miles around. The harder walnut wood is more durable, and it protects the internal construction from the elements. Taking this on your next mallard hunting trip will definitely make it a success.

Bottom Line

We were hard-pressed to find something we didn’t like about the Faulk’s Game Calls WA33 Faulk’s Deluxe Duck Call. Several experienced hunters have been using this same model for decades, and they haven’t noticed a change in the quality.

Opposed to the previous products on our list, this one is for serious hunters only. We wouldn’t recommend letting your kids practice on the Faulk’s Deluxe Duck Call. Take your time with this one and learn the different sounds you can make, and you’ll see a difference in your hunting.

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Best for Beginners:Triple Threat Duck Call – Classic Series

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  • Works in the Rain and Cold
  • Triple Reed OptionThat Mimics the Mallard Hen
  • Sounds Travel Well Over Water and Long Distances
  • Easy to Blow Into and Care for – Perfect for Children and Beginners!
  • You Can Produce the Hail, Quack, and Feed Call in Low or High Tones
  • Polycarbonate Barrel Protects the Reeds From Temperature and Moisture
  • Great, Low-Maintenance Product – Doesn’t Need Much Tuning or Upkeep


  • No Lanyard
  • Some Claims That the Reeds Stick
  • Quality Sound Doesn’t Hold Up; it Becomes Squeaky Over Time
  • Some Complaints That the Product’s Quality Has Decreased in Recent Years

A Duck Commander duck call made our list again. The Triple Threat Duck Call – Classic Series is a triple reed option that you can use to hunt mallard ducks. The key to this model’s popularity is that you can reproduce both a young and mature hen’s hail, quack, or feed call.

Regardless of which one you use, the mallards will come flying. The polycarbonate barrel helps the sound travel over longer distances, so the ducks are sure to pick up on it. This model – although in the unusual triple-reed design – is easy to maintain and tune yourself. No matter the weather conditions, the Triple Threat will bring them in.

The barrel protects the mechanisms, letting you use it in any environment. A storm or a drop in temperature doesn’t have to ruin your hunting trip: you can use the Triple Threat any time.

Bottom Line

Although triple reed duck calls are pretty rare, the Triple Threat is ideal for beginners and experienced hunters alike. The durable polycarbonate protects the triple reed system much more effectively than wood so that you can use it in any weather conditions. The reeds might stick in extremely cold conditions, but you can avoid this by keeping it warm and close to your body. This model is easy to clean and tune, so it is a perfect option for those starting to learn how to master the art of the duck call.  

Best Wood Duck Call:Duck Commander Wood Duck Call

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  • Single Reed Option With Three Sound Levels
  • Great for Beginners or Experienced Hunters Alike
  • Plastic Casing Helps Sounds Travel Over Long Distances
  • Available in Multiple Packs for All of Your Hunting Buddies
  • Realistic Sounds Attract Wood Ducks, Even Late in the Season


  • Very Small
  • Hard to Blow Into
  • Requires Some Maintenance

Mallards are the most common targets of duck hunters, but they will also hunt wood ducks. You can find wood ducks in marshy, swampy areas in the southeastern United States all year long. Most of these products are catered for mallards, but the Duck Commander Wood Duck Call is made specifically for hunting wood ducks. This single reed design has three sound levels so you can hit that perfect pitch to attract wood ducks to your location.

You can use this model late in the season when ducks are naturally wary of people. The plastic casing helps the sound travel over long distances, so you’ll be sure to attract some ducks. We love the realistic sounds this product makes, but we like the convenience of its distribution. You can buy this model in packs with multiple calls, so you and your hunting buddies are fully prepared for your next outing.

Bottom Line

The Duck Commander Wood Duck Call naturally attracts wood ducks at any time of the season, with its multiple sound levels mimic the breed. The plastic casing is durable, but this particular model is tiny. If you have large hands, you might drop it or lose it. It does take some time to master the specific calls of the wood duck, so give yourself some practice before taking this on your next hunt. It is hard to blow into, so this product is better for adults.   

Best Mallard Duck Call:Buck Gardner Double Nasty II Polycarbonate Duck Call

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  • Easy to Clean and Maintain
  • Can Use in Any Weather or Environment
  • Polycarbonate Duck Call Works Great on Open Water
  • Easy to Blow Into – Great for Beginners and Children!
  • Double Reed Option That is Hand-Tuned for Accuracy
  • Spit Technology Keeps it Working Correctly, No Matter How Full of Spit It Is
  • Hunters Like the Authentic Sounds That Replicate the Hail Calls and Feed Chuckles of a Mallard Duck


  • Freezes in Frigid Temperatures
  • Inaccurately Advertised as Acrylic

In business for over twenty years, Buck Gardner is a world champion in duck calling. He started making them to use in competitions, but they are so well-made that hunters love to use them on the hunt. The Buck Gardner Double Nasty II Polycarbonate Duck Call is our pick for the best mallard call.

All of Buck’s calls are hand-tuned, so you are getting a quality product. This double reed option has Spit-Tech Technology, developed by the company to help the calls work – even if the product is filled with spit from extended use.

The polycarbonate exterior protects the instrument from weather and rain so that you can use it on open water or in any weather condition. Hunters love this model because it makes truly authentic sounds of the mallard duck, including hail calls and feed chuckles.  

Bottom Line

The Buck Gardner Double Nasty II Polycarbonate Duck Call is one of the best on the market today because of the company’s attention to detail. Creating a quality product, Buck Gardner’s calls are learning tools for beginners as well as accessories for active hunters. The polycarbonate material lets you use this in several different environments, but it doesn’t stop the reeds from freezing in extremely low temperatures. This is inevitable, so keep it warm between uses.

Best Duck Call Under $100: Duck Commander Classic Commander

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  • User-friendly and friction-free system
  • Available at a very budget-friendly price
  • Suitable for use in large and open spaces
  • High-impact construction for long-term use
  • Wooden design that offers a classic appearance


  • Not loud enough as advertised
  • Customer service could use some improvement

What Recent Buyers ReportUsers are extremely happy with the performance of this duck call. They report that this model has a nice design that tends to last in the long run. Not only is it great for creating just the right sound, but it is extremely easy to use as well. Moreover, you don’t have to spend much money to get your hands on this brilliant duck call. Why it Stands Out to UsThis duck call from Duck Commander embodies a wooden construction that does not freeze even in cold environments. It is user-friendly, regardless of skill level. You just have to blow it, and there would be low, nasally, and raspy sounds that will surely attract your prey. Finally, it comes at a very affordable price to easily fit your budget. Bottom LineAn extraordinary model with tons of features, this duck call has a durable construction with an easy-to-use design. It is great for beginners from a price point of view as well, plus you don’t have to replace it anytime soon.

Best Acrylic Duck Call: Zink ZNK6032

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  • High-end build to serve you in the long run
  • Easy to blow, this model is very user-friendly
  • Beautiful design with an attractive appearance
  • Highly recommended for open and windy spaces


  • A bit on the expensive side
  • Package does not include an instructional DVD

What Recent Buyers Report

This is surely a well-reviewed duck call from customers. The most loved feature is its A-grade construction that is not only durable but lightweight as well. You don’t have to pay an additional amount for maintenance or replacement frequently. It is extremely versatile and can be used to improve your hunting game. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Zink duck call mainly stands out to us for its fine acrylic construction that tends to last for years. It has a beautiful green appearance that catches your attention immediately. This user-friendly model is capable of creating loud and sharp noises, making it perfect for use in open spaces. Moreover, it comes with double reed to add on to perfection. 

Bottom Line

One of the finest duck calls on the market, this model has everything that you are looking for. From sturdy build to creating sharp noise, from flawless design to ease of use, this duck call covers everything for you. What else would you want?

Best Duck Commander Call: Duck Commander Jase Robertson Pro Series

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  • Easy to use and versatile option
  • Creates sounds exactly like a mallard hen
  • Allows you to choose between high and low tone
  • Retrieved double reed to produce sound just like a duck
  • Engraved wooden design to add fineness to your hunting experience


  • Might freeze up in cold conditions
  • Requires some practice beforehand

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users are highly impressed with this duck call due to its high-end functionality. They report that both the design and construction are just top-notch. With this model, you can create both high and low tones according to your desire. Moreover, this user-friendly model lets you create duck sounds like a pro. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

A great product on the list, this Duck commander duck call comes with a unique design with Jane Robertson’s stamp to make a statement. It has riveted double reeds that help in creating duck sound like a pro. With a range of vocalization, this model can easily produce high and low tones, plus it’s super easy to use as well. 

Bottom Line

Duck Commander is known for providing high-end duck calls. This model sounds exactly like a duck and requires minimum effort from the user. It is great for producing loud and sharp noises in open and windy spaces thanks to its innovative design. 

Best Echo Duck Call: Echo Timber Double Reed Duck Call

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  • Available in different colors to choose from
  • Stylish design that provides an attractive look
  • Fine polycarbonate construction that lasts long
  • Extremely user-friendly and great for beginners
  • Incorporates double reed to sound like a real duck


  • Sound is not sharp enough
  • Gets stuck in cold environments

What Recent Buyers ReportUsers have found this duck call very useful during hunting. The most admired feature is its low-profile yet attractive design that is easy to blow as well. You don’t have to be a pro to use this model as it produces a range of sounds without any struggle. Moreover, the durable build saves you from frequent replacements. Why it Stands Out to UsThis duck call from Echo stands out from its competitors for exhibiting a nice polycarbonate construction that tends to last for ages. This beautiful model is easy to operate and sounds exactly like a real duck, thanks to the double reed feature. With its loud sound, you can easily attract a number of ducks. Bottom LineThe durable and sturdy build of this duck is meant to serve you in the long run. With its incredible design, you are capable of mimicking a range of sound from high to low tone. All in all, the innovative features of this call make it great for a hunter to achieve their hunting goals.

Best RNT Duck Call:Rich-n-Tone RNT Daisy Cutter Bocote

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  • Easy to blow and great for open spaces
  • Incorporates a single reed for a louder sound
  • A beautiful design that is appealing to look at
  • Gives you authentic duck sound while hunting
  • High-end wooden construction to mark durability


  • Not suitable for beginners
  • Requires great care for longevity

What Recent Buyers ReportThis duck call has received many great reviews from its users. According to them, the wooden build is not only attractive but durable as well. It is great for creating a duck-like sound in open and wide spaces, which takes your hunting game to the next level. Moreover, the material is not sensitive to cold conditions and offers great consistency. Why it Stands Out to UsThe RNT duck call is manufactured from a high-quality bocote wood that is incredibly sturdy and lasts for years. Apart from its nice design, this model comes with a single-reed that helps in creating loud and sharp noises to attract ducks. These mind-blowing features make it highly useful for professional hunters to achieve perfection. Bottom LineA powerhouse of features, this duck call is a must-have to hunt your prey down. Whether we talk about the robust build or superior sound, this model won’t disappoint you at all. Honestly, it is probably the ideal choice for professionals out there.

Best Faulks Duck Call: Faulk’s Champion C-100

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  • Falls in an affordable range
  • Does not freeze just like other models
  • Easy to use and produces a loud sound
  • Highly useful for producing a sound like a mallard hen
  • A great blend of walnut and zebrawood in its construction


  • Might squeak if blown too hard
  • Not recommended for beginners

What Recent Buyers ReportSimilar to our other reviewed models, this duck call is extremely popular among the professional hunters. They really like the brilliant craftsmanship and material quality used in its construction. Moreover, its smooth design with single reed creates a loud noise that adds a great taste to your hunting adventure. Why it Stands Out to UsThis duck call is known for its sophisticated design that is capable of producing high-end sound in every direction you blow. It is specially made from a mixture of walnut and zebrawood with fine craftsmanship. Furthermore, it uses a single reed to create a natural tone and attract your prey in no time. Bottom LineAn incredible duck call from Faulk’s Game Calls, this product is known for its durability, quality as well as versatility. With its brilliant features, it can produce high-class sound to ensure fast and easy access to your prey. All in all, this easy-to-handle duck call lives up to your expectations.

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Wood and Mallard Duck Call Tips

“Practice makes a man perfect.”

Apart from having a great duck call on board and lots of practice, you must use some tips and tricks to achieve the most ethical and successful hunt. 

Wood Duck Call Tips

A wood duck call produces a soft and smooth sound to attract a number of ducks in a matter of seconds. Here are some honest tips to improve your overall experience.

Call to the Right Duck

Don’t focus on ducks far away. Look for those moving in small flocks as they are more susceptible to calling. 

Use Your Hand

You can bring faraway ducks by repeatedly opening and closing the hand over the barrel to produce a better volume. However, don’t forget to camouflage any exposed skin. 

Move From High to Low Tone

It is recommended to always start from higher to a lower tone. This will help you sound more realistic. 


Mallard Duck Call Tips

Next, we have a round-up of some useful tips and tricks for Mallard duck calling. Let’s have a look.

The Quack

It’s all about the right sound, which is not possible without the right-hand movement. Make sure to practice pulling air from your diaphragm to get the best results. 

The Hail Call

A hail call is quite effective in getting the mallards to turn back around. Start with the longest and loudest quack call and repeat it for at least five to six times for a perfect hail call. 

Hold the Call

Use a high-class sound for birds far away. This can be done by pressing the call against your lips as if you are drinking soda from a bottle. 


Types of Duck Call Materials

When looking at which duck call to add to your collection, the material makes a big difference. You should always consider two things:

  • Will you be doing long-range or short-range duck-hunting?
  • What kind of sounds do you want to make – low and dull, or loud and sharp?

There are three types of materials: wood, acrylic, or plastic/polycarbonate. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, so which materials you choose is up to your preference. Keep in mind that cheap materials make cheap duck calls. These models freeze up and clog quickly. Always invest in a quality brand, such as Haydel’s, Duck Commander, Buck Gardener, or Faulk’s.


Wood duck calls are a classic. They were the first material used in making this tool, and it is a traditional design that is a go-to for many duck hunters. Since wood is such a porous material, they are more finicky than other materials.

If you are in a humid or rainy area, the moisture can affect the sound of the call. Your spit can also cause the wood to swell. You’ll need to take these wooden products apart to dry them out after each use.

Did you know? Wood is susceptible to temperature, especially in colder climates. Keeping your duck call in your pocket or close to your body will keep it warm in between uses. This will keep the sounds consistent throughout your trip.

Hunters still favor wood duck calls over others, despite the high-maintenance required to keep them operational. These tools are better for close-range hunting since the sounds they produce are generally lower than other options.

However, the type of wood matters: softer woods (like cedar or mahogany) will make softer sounds, while harder woods (like walnut or maple) will make louder sounds.

If you can find a duck call with finished wood, this will hold up better to the elements and frequent use. Although wood offerings don’t hold up very well across multiple seasons, many have metal rings on them to keep the wood from splitting as it dries out. This helps them last longer with proper care.   

Duck Commander Wood Duck Call


If you are rough on your duck calls during the hunt, then you want a plastic or a polycarbonate duck call. They are incredibly durable and they hold up better than wood or acrylic options. Since plastic is mostly a nonporous material, the sounds are crisp and clear. While the calls sound louder than wood, they aren’t as loud as those from acrylic models.

However, the sounds travel over the water well, drawing the ducks to you. Since plastic and polycarbonate products are so low-maintenance, they are the perfect starter option for new hunters of any age. However, plastic or polycarbonate duck calls aren’t just for starters – seasoned hunters love them, too!  


Acrylic duck calls are the most expensive on the market, so many hunters hesitate before purchasing one. They are well worth the price, though. They are the most durable of all duck calls and make the loudest, sharpest sounds. This is definitely a benefit if you will be hunting around bodies of water or if you are in a windy, gusty area.

These products are temperature and weather-resistant, so they are the best to have with you in humid or stormy conditions. Acrylic calls are more often than not hand-tuned, which affects their price. However, they last longer and they have better quality. If you’re looking for a product for the long haul, then invest in an acrylic model.

How to Use a Duck Call

Just like when learning any new instrument, using a duck call takes patience and practice to get the sounds right. While each call is different – depending on the sounds you are aiming for – we’ve included some basic hints on how to get started.

  1. Hold the duck call in your non-dominant hand. (If you are right-handed, hold it in your left hand – and vice-versa. If you are ambidextrous, use your non-writing hand.)
  2. Hold the sound barrel – the opposite end of the chamber that you blow into – between your thumb and your index finger. Let the device rest on the soft part of your hand so that you can hold it comfortably.
  3. Bring it up to your lips.
  4. Blow into it from your chest, not your mouth.  
  5. Before you take your new duck call on your next hunting trip, you should learn the different calls of the ducks you are hunting. Practice with your instrument – you can look these up on YouTube, or you can ask a seasoned hunter to give you some tips.


Duck hunting is a time-honored tradition that many outdoor enthusiasts enjoy. Having the right tools will make your hunt more successful. Taking the time to learn your new duck call before you go is a fun experience. Whether you go for the wood option or you spring for an acrylic option, the right instrument will have the ducks coming to you!


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People Also Ask

Duck hunting is never successful without a good duck call. This equipment does not only make the adventure more exciting but gets you food as well. All you need is some practice to ace this popular sport. Moving forward, we have some frequently asked queries from people. Let’s answer them!

What is the Difference Between Acrylic and Polycarbonate Duck Calls?

Acrylic duck calls are made from high density and long-lasting acrylic material and, therefore, cost you more. These are immune to weathering and produce a loud sound. On the other hand, polycarbonate duck calls are relatively cheap and ideal for beginners. They are known for producing a sharp and crisp sound. However, it’s not as sharp and realistic as the acrylic one. 

Which is Better, a Single or Double Reed Duck Call?

Both of these duck calls have their own benefits and drawbacks. A single reed is relatively more versatile and comes with a wide range as compared to a double reed duck call. The former is not recommended for beginners as it requires some professional skills. On the other hand, the latter is user-friendly and produces a realistic sound to attract tons of ducks. 

Wood vs. Acrylic Duck Calls – Which Should I Opt For?

Wood is the oldest material used in the construction of duck calls; however, it is extremely sensitive to temperature and moisture. A wood duck call is affordable but wears down over time. Contrary to this, acrylic duck calls are relatively more durable but not suitable for those on a tight budget. However, it is recommended to go for acrylic ones as they are worth the investment in the long run. 

When to Call and When Not to Call

They say the proliferation of the modern duck call has saved the lives of millions of ducks. There are legions of duck hunters who mistakenly believe they have the tools to bring birds to the decoys no matter what the conditions are. The fact is, on some days even the best duck callers on the flyway can’t coax a mallard to the spread. 

Knowing when to keep calling and when to put the call in your pocket is the difference between an empty game strap and a tired retriever.

On The “X”

If you’ve scouted well and ducks are working in, there is simply no reason to call. Good scouting and proper decoy setup will get the job done most of the time. Calling ducks is like being in sales. There comes a point in which the sale is made and continuing to talk will only put the transaction in jeopardy. If you are on the “X” and ducks are dropping in, keep your call in your pocket.

Pressured Ducks

If it’s been awhile since weather has moved fresh birds into the area, hunting without calling may be the best bet. Pressured birds that have been in the area have likely been called at several times and are wary of aggressive calling. On most bodies of water, the same points and bays are used by several groups of hunters. After hearing assertive calling over and over from the same areas, ducks become conditioned to avoid those spots. Soft calling or no calling at all creates a different situation that could appear safer to ducks.

Cloudy, Windless Days

These days are a duck hunter’s worst nightmare. Waterfowl are cozy and hesitant to get off their roost. When birds are flying, they are often suspicious of decoy spreads and calling. There is no wind to cover up calling mistakes or movement and no sun glare to help camouflage hunters from prying eyes. Your best bet on sunny, cloudy days is to get some motion in the spread with a spinning wing decoy and/or some motion pucks.

These are not hard and fast rules. Let the ducks tell you what they want to hear. When hunting marshes and big backwaters, there will often be ducks roosting around you. Listen to them and try to mimic what they are doing. Obviously, if they are quiet, you won’t know they are there.

However, if ducks are actively quacking, it is probably a good idea to do the same. If there are a lot of ducks sneaking in to your spread without making a sound, keeping quiet is probably the way to go. Calling is just one piece of the puzzle. Don’t be afraid to experiment with other hunting tools like jerk strings & motion decoys. 

Duck Call Common Blunders

Duck calls are more diverse than the ducks they entice. There are cheap ones, expensive ones, mass produced calls, and calls from mom & pop shops. They’re made of plastic, African wood, oak, and air craft grade specialty materials I’ve never heard of. But they all have one thing in common. They can be horribly misused to the detriment of the hunter operating them. There are several calling mistakes that keep birds alive every season.

Here is a look at the most common ones.

Too Much Calling

The biggest calling sin is calling too much. The offenders are far and wide. From novice duck callers to the pros, a lot of duck hunters would be better off with their call in their pocket. A duck call is one of many tools in a duck hunter’s arsenal. Let good scouting, concealment, and effective decoy spreads do their jobs as well. If all those are right, sometimes calling isn’t even necessary. Give the birds a few greeting calls to get their attention, then put the call down, cover your face, and prepare to call the shot. Oftentimes, hunters talk ducks out of checking out a decoy spread… especially heavily pressured ducks.

Forgetting The Finish

Overcalling can burn you, but sometimes birds need to hear a little more before committing to the decoys. If birds continue to circle your spread, you have to get them down or they are going to spot something they don’t like. Some short greeting calls, feeder chatter, and a few soft quacks is all you need to get the job done.

Remember, these ducks are not a half mile out. Keep the volume down and if you are hunting with someone else, work as a team. When you are duckless, practice your finishing sequence so that you sound good together. A lot of hunters will carry multiple calls and have one just for finishing. Some callers swear by a more narrow call for this purpose, since the air is being pushed into a smaller tube. I’ve found that I’m better off controlling the volume with my lungs and using a wide call. Blow a variety of calls and find what’s most comfortable for you.

The Wrong Practice

Every duck hunter worth his salt has spent countless hours blowing on a duck call while heading to work or business meetings. It’s almost a cliché at this point. It’s a great way to utilize your time, but it’s not the best way to practice calling. Get out to a refuge or park and listen to real, live birds. Interact with them. Try to land birds that are flying in.

One of my favorite exercises is trying to keep them from landing. I’ll give them all kinds of goofy sounds to get them fouled up as they try to land. It’s a skill that has come in handy several times. The idea is to get acquainted with what birds like and what they don’t like in a no-pressure situation. If you mess up, it’s no big deal. Your calls will also sound a lot different outside than they do from the cab of your truck. Actually, they will sound just like they do when hunting.

Dirty Calls

I’ve hunted with guys who literally bring a buffet of food with them to the blind. They love to snack while hunting. Inevitably, they have a mouth full of donut when ducks hit the horizon. The rest of the donut becomes fish food as this guy grabs his call and starts quacking. You think his call might have a few crumbs in it? Even if you don’t bring a concession stand along for the hunt, your call can get dirty. Once the reed and other components of the call get gunked up, the sound and tone of the call can go downhill.

If your call is plastic, soak it overnight in soapy water. The next morning, run water through the call to clear any debris that was loosened up while soaking. It’s also a good idea to run dental floss through the reeds. For a wood call, skip the soak and just run a little warm water through it. Then let it dry out before putting it back in your bag. This is all preventative maintenance. However, every two or three years the call will need new reeds and tuning. High quality call makers offer this service for a reasonable fee.

Calling ducks is one of the most rewarding elements of duck hunting. However, calling is not without it’s setbacks. The best thing a hunter can do is work on calling all year long and don’t be afraid to experiment. Without failure, success is bland. 

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