Duck Calls for Beginners

Best Duck Call for Beginners: Make it Hum

One of the first pieces of gear a beginner duck hunter should get to know is the duck call. The duck call is simple enough looking device, but it takes time and practice to learn all the different types of calls. Buying one of the best duck calls for beginners will make it easier and faster to not only learn each call, but to master them.

A high quality duck call for beginners does not have to be expensive. Experienced hunters will be drawn to the more expensive calls, because they sometimes appreciate the finer workmanship and materials that go into building them. However, for a beginner, oftentimes a $30 call can produce equally good calls as a $100 call.

What to Look For

Because you are just getting started with duck hunting, or trying to help someone else who is, it will be helpful to briefly review the qualities of the best duck calls for beginners.

Most commonly made in 3 materials Plastic (Polycarbonate), Wood, and Acrylic. With polycarbonate usually begin the lowest cost, and acrylic being the most expensive. All of these materials will make a good quality duck call, what matters most is how much care is put into its construction.

Obviously, you should want to buy a durable call, and for that reason you should avoid the really cheap priced plastic calls. They won’t last long enough for you to even become proficient in using them. Read the reviews carefully, and make sure there aren’t any blatant quality or durability issues.

Top Calls for Beginner Duck Hunters

Model:Material:# Reeds:Price:Our Rating:
1. Duck Commander Triple ThreatPolycarbonateTriple$$$4.8
2. Duck Commander Uncle SiPolycarbonateSingle$$4.7
3. Duck Commander Camo MaxPolycarbonateDouble$$$4.7
4. Haydels DR-85PolycarbonateDouble$$4.9
5. Buck Gardner Double NastyAcrylicDouble$$4.6
6. Duck Commander Classic CommanderWoodDouble$$$4.5
7. Duck Commander Miss PrissPolycarbonateDouble$$4.9

1. Duck Commander Triple Threat

This triple reed features an ease of use that makes it an ideal starter call. The polycarbonate body gives it a durability that should last from your very first call, to the good luck piece of a now-experienced hunter.

One of the factors making the Duck Commander Triple Threat such a good choice is that it targets the mallard hen’s quack, feed, and hail call. Since the mallard hen is plentiful across the country, and is also one of the most vocal of duck species, opportunities for mastering this call are also plentiful.

Choosing the Triple Threat as a beginner is a good value for the investment. You could easily spend two or three times as much money, perhaps even more if you shop around, on a mallard hen call that is much more difficult to blow.

One of the prime uses for a duck call for beginners is that ducks produce a variety of different sounds, and a cheaply made call is incapable of delivering the subtle variations in tone and vibration. The Triple Threat is a capable duck call in that regard, you will be able to grow into this one.

2. Duck Commander Uncle Si

The Duck Commander Uncle Si is another polycarbonate call for hunting mallard hens from the bearded guys on that reality TV show that brought duck calls into the mainstream.

Unlike the Triple Threat, the Uncle Si is a single-reed call. The official Duck Dynasty site even recommends this one as a good choice for beginners. The learning curve is much shorter than the Triple Threat because basically what you are doing with the Uncle Si is blowing a trumpet.

While the mallard hens this call is intended for are well distributed throughout the country, the raspy and higher tone of the Duck Commander Uncle Si issues calls with high volume that would be effective for duck hunts on a larger lake rather than a more confined area.  The Uncle Si definitely qualifies as a fine duck call for beginners.

3. Duck Commander Camo Max

The Camo Max is another of the DC’s mallard hen calls, but differs from the other models in very distinct ways. Rather than polycarbonate construction, the Camo Max is molded from high impact plastic and uses a double-reed design to produce its smoother and quieter call.

Then there is the camo design, of course. For some people, the specs of a piece of gear don’t really matter as long as it comes in camo. Of course, you will want to ensure that your first duck call does more than look good. Fortunately, the Duck Commander Camo Max call is capable of producing the types of calls a beginner can learn quickly and master with practice.

That design of this call uses a high impact plastic, with a camouflage skin. This makes for a durable call that is ideal to use as a finishing call within the confined quarters of a blind. The difference between the trumpeting single-reed Uncle Si rasp, and the more subtle tone of the finishing call of the Camo Max, make for a great a set of calls for any beginner duck hunter.

4. Haydels DR-85

Nicknamed “The Deceiver,” Haydels DR-85 is another starter call intended to get beginning hunters acclimated to drawing the attention of mallards.

It is important to not let looks alone set your initial impression of this Haydels call, especially in comparison to the Duck Commander calls mentioned above.

To be blunt, the Haydels DR-85 is not the most pretty looking duck call out there, but don’t let the stripped-down clear plastic build fool you.

If you are looking for a low cost starter call that is utterly dependable, durable enough to handle your abuse, and is perfectly pitched to attract those mallards, then consider choosing “The Deceiver” DR-85 from Haydels.

5. Buck Gardner Double Nasty

At the other end of the spectrum when it comes to looks, stands the Buck Gardner Double Nasty. The elegant design of this double reed combo call is capable of both high and low tones, and closely resemble a work of art that that its name is slightly ironic.

The reasoning behind giving a duck call that looks more like a bottle of imported perfume a name like Double Nasty is not just to get a good laugh. Buck Gardner markets the Double Nasty with a Spit Technology guarantee ensuring that you can still successfully call for ducks no matter how much spit has already accumulated.

In case you still aren’t quite sure, consider that of all the calls mentioned here, this particular Buck Gardner model may have the shortest learning curve. A lot of beginners will be able to just pick it up and blow.

Don’t Forget a Lanyard

As you become more experienced learning how to blow a duck call, it is inevitable that you’ll buy a few more calls to fill out your arsenal. A good lanyard will keep each of your types of calls at the ready. The lanyard typically attaches around the call tube so that it’s out of the way as you bring it to your mouth.

The Duck Commander Braided Lanyard is a good choice, because I like its two removable clips along with its four permanent ones. It may be some time before you actually acquire six calls to hang from the lanyard, but the point is it helps you keep the calls at your chest for quick access.

Image Credit: WI DNR/Flickr via CC

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