You don’t have to be a calling champion to bring ducks into range. Those guys and gals are experts with a call for sure but they are focused on perfection and that is not needed to be lethal with a call. The skills you must have are more related to when to call and what call to use. Armed with these tools you will be able to some damage on flocks this fall.
Practice on the basics……and then practice some more!
Keep working on short single quacks and short five note bursts, the same call a hen mallard will use while feeding and loafing. This is really all you need the vast majority of the time.
Listen to live ducks
You can have a massive sound file library of the best callers in history and that will not match what you can learn by just listening to a live flock. Ducks are just like any other animal, no two sounds alike. Some will be deeper in tone, other higher in pitch. Some will be faster, some slow. Mimic what you hear those ducks doing.
Don’t get hung up on the mallard call
A few areas will be predominantly filled with mallards but the majority of flocks will be mixed in nature. Get yourself a good whistle and learn the pintail, wigeon, teal and drake mallard calls as well. This can make all the difference, especially when everyone around you is wailing away like a hen on steroids.
Know when to call and what to say
Down to the important stuff. If they are coming your way, stay quiet. Far too many people call at ducks that are already doing what you want them to which is to check out your decoy spread. Ideally the decoys will do all the work for you so let them do it. If the ducks turn away from you, hit them with the short five note burst. Many times this is all they will need and will wheel back around and decoy. If not, just keep hitting them when they are turned away or on the side. Mix in single quacks and once you have mastered different tones start sounding like different hens. Use that whistle! Make it sound as close to what you have heard as possible. If they just won’t finish you may need to check your set up for something out of place.
Let the ducks work, try not to call too much. I know this is very hard on public grounds and you may have to get aggressive at times. But never think a call can replace thorough scouting and being in the right location. How many times have you had ducks appear out of nowhere and into the decoys? Those ducks could have been seen and called to and they may have been spooked by that. But they came on their own. As much as possible, let them make the decisions on their own. Enough talk, let’s get ready to hunt!