Duck Hunting without a call is like riding a bike without handlebars, it’s not impossible, but there are certainly easier ways to achieve your goal.
What Duck Calls Should a Beginner Have?
There are a plethora of duck calls on the market; there are whistles, single reeds, double reeds, triple reeds, calls for mallards, teals, wigeons, and so on.
As a beginner, it’s best not to get bogged down by the many varying calls and just learn to master the one type before moving on.
That one call should be a mallard hen call. The great thing about the mallard hen call is that you can use it to call every duck.
Mallard calls are the jack of all trades in the duck calling world. Mallard calls can be manipulated to make other call sounds, but you don’t need to worry about that, as most ducks will decoy into your spread with just mallard sounds.
Once you learn a few basic calls that are all possible on our recommended calls, then you will be pulling in every type of duck without issue.
The four main calls can be done on a mallard call.
- Greeting Call
- Feeding Call
- Hail Call
What Makes a Beginner Duck Call?
When choosing your first duck call, it’s essential not to choose a complicated call.
As mentioned above, I recommend that everyone should start their calling game with a mallard duck call, but beyond that, there are still a few things to look out for to make the learning process a little easier.
The reeds are one of the most critical components of a duck call; after all, they are the part that makes the sound.
Duck calls come with various reed options. The choices are usually between the number of reeds a call has
One Reed- Single reed duck calls are an excellent option for an advanced caller. A single reed call is probably the most versatile and can emit a broad range of volume and tones.
However, the single reed call is not recommended for beginners as it requires a great deal of control and generally requires more air which is usually difficult for beginners to produce.
Double Reeds – Double reeds are excellent calls for beginners. Double reeds are more forgiving, so even if you are going to make mistakes while calling, they are not as prominent as with a single reed call.
Double reeds are also more user-friendly; they require less finesse and less tongue pressure.
However, the trade-off is with the ability of a call; double reeds don’t have the same volume or range of tone as a single reed.
Nevertheless, a double-reed is more than enough for most hunters and is certainly enough for a beginner.
While you might not think the material a call is made from matters much to its usability, it is a big factor of whether a call is beginner-friendly or not.
The main reason why some materials are better for beginners is the volume they can produce.
There are three main materials used in duck calls today. While most people think the materials are just for aesthetics or durability, the manufacturers also need to consider the volume and sound these materials will produce.
Now, while the material isn’t as big a factor as the reeds, it can still give you an advantage when you are just starting out.
This is especially true since you will be most likely start out with a double reed which will produce a lower volume than a single reed.
Another factor to consider when choosing the material of a call is the price point. It may be a good idea to choose a cheaper material when just starting out, as you will likely go upgrade your calls once you get more experienced.
- Acrylic – Acrylic duck calls are probably the best choice for a beginner. While they are one of the more expensive options, they are also the most durable. As well as being a lifelong call, acrylic calls are also the loudest. This is a good option for beginners who are just learning to blow a call.
Acrylic calls are superb for big open water and can produce a consistent tone for carrying across big lakes.
- Wood – wooden duck calls are one of the most beautiful calls to work with; they look lovely, feel great in your hands, and produce the most wonderful sounds.
However, they are not a great option for beginners. Wooden calls are not very loud, they work great for close-in calling, but no beginner should be close in calling as they will likely just turn birds away.
Another downside to wooden calls is that they require more maintenance and are harder to mind. Wooden calls can expand and contract if they get wet and are porous, so they absorb moisture.
They also require to be taken apart after each hunt to dry out properly. This goes beyond the scope of a beginner, so I would not recommend a wooden call to someone just starting out.
- Polycarbonate – Polycarbonate duck calls are not a bad option for beginners. They are the cheapest calls to make, but with that also comes a lesser quality product.
The sound they produce is not as loud or consistent as an acrylic call, nor is it as elegant as a wood call.
However, if you want a call just to get your feet wet before moving up to something better, then polycarbonate is a good choice.
It is affordable, can produce a relatively loud call, is easy to blow, and easy to mind.
Best Duck Calls For Beginners
With the above guidelines in mind, let’s look at four of the best duck calls for beginners.
Although I have had the duck picker for many years, even after more modern calls have since come out, it is still one of my go-to calls.
This polycarbonate duck call offers quite a range of sound at a rather affordable price.
It is not as easy to use as some of the other calls on the list, but once you do get the swing of it, it is one of the more versatile calls, especially in this price range.
Zink Power Hen 2
The Zink Power Hen 2 has been around for a long time, yet it is still one of the top-selling calls.
The reason why the PH 2 is so popular is that it sounds almost like a single reed but blows easily like a double reed.
This call is very beginner-friendly with such a wide range of abilities. Although it is a double-reed, it sounds remarkably like a single reed but without the risk of squeaking or squeaking.
Duck Commander The Sarge
If I could only recommend one call for a beginner, it would be this one. The Sarge is probably one of the easiest calls I have ever used.
It is easy to blow and a very forgiving call. The sound is a little more mellow than the Duck Picker, but the volume is still plenty enough for big water.
Getting started with duck calling can be intimidating. You will probably turn away a few birds when you first start out.
However, if you stick with these easy to blow calls above you will progress a lot faster than you would with a more difficult call.