The Best Duck Calls for Different Hunting Situations

17 April 2024 - 2:12 pm

When it comes to waterfowl hunting, having the right duck call can make all the difference in attracting birds to your location. However, with so many options available, it can be challenging to know which are the best duck calls for various hunting situations. In this blog post, we’ll explore the top duck calls for different scenarios and provide tips on how to choose and use them effectively.

Selecting the Best Duck Call for Your Needs

Understand Your Hunting Environment

Before choosing a duck call, consider the type of environment you’ll be hunting in most often. Will you be targeting ducks in open water, flooded timber, or agricultural fields? Different calls are designed to excel in specific situations, so understanding your primary hunting environment is crucial.

Consider Your Skill Level

Your experience level with duck calling should also influence your choice of the best duck call. Beginners may benefit from calls that are easier to blow and more forgiving, while experienced hunters may prefer calls with more advanced features and greater flexibility.

Test Different Calls

Whenever possible, try out different duck calls before making a purchase. Visit your local sporting goods store or attend a waterfowl expo to test various brands and models. Pay attention to the sound quality, ease of use, and overall feel of each call to find the best fit for you.

Best Duck Calls for Open Water Hunting

Single Reed Calls

When hunting ducks in open water, such as lakes, bays, or coastal areas, single reed calls are often the best choice. These calls typically produce louder, more piercing sounds that can carry long distances and cut through wind and waves. Some top single reed calls for open water include:

  • RNT Original

  • Zink PH-2

  • Duck Commander Reacher

Loud Hail Calls

In addition to single reed calls, loud hail calls can be effective for grabbing the attention of distant ducks in open water. These calls, which are designed to mimic the sound of a large flock of ducks, can help draw birds from afar. Popular loud hail calls include:

  • RNT Microhen

  • Buck Gardner Double Nasty

  • Primos Wench

Best Duck Calls for Timber Hunting

Double Reed Calls

When hunting ducks in flooded timber or swamps, double reed calls are often the best choice. These calls typically produce a more mellow, realistic sound that can be effective for working birds in close quarters. Some top double reed calls for timber hunting include:

  • Echo Timber Cocobolo

  • Zink PH-1

  • Duck Commander Ol’ Faithful

Soft Timber Calls

In addition to double reed calls, soft timber calls can be useful for finessing ducks in heavily wooded areas. These calls produce a quieter, more subtle sound that can be effective for convincing wary birds to commit. Popular soft timber calls include:

  • Haydel’s Prototype

  • RNT Mondo

  • Zink Little Man

Best Duck Calls for Field Hunting

Mallard Calls

When hunting ducks in agricultural fields or other open land, mallard calls are often the best choice. These calls, which mimic the classic quack of a hen mallard, can be effective for attracting a variety of duck species. Some top mallard calls for field hunting include:

  • Duck Commander Miss Priss

  • Zink ATM Green Machine

  • Echo Calls Meat Hanger 2

Whistle Calls

In addition to mallard calls, whistle calls can be useful for grabbing the attention of ducks passing overhead in fields. These calls, which produce a high-pitched whistle sound, can help turn distant birds and bring them within range. Popular whistle calls include:

  • Haydel’s Whistler

  • Duck Commander Camo Max

  • Buck Gardner Tall Timber

Tips for Using Duck Calls Effectively

Practice Regularly

Becoming proficient with a duck call takes time and practice. Set aside time to work on your calling skills regularly, focusing on producing clean, realistic sounds that mimic actual ducks.

Learn Different Calling Techniques

Familiarize yourself with various calling techniques, such as the basic quack, greeting call, hail call, and feeding chuckle. Knowing when and how to duck call can help you adapt to different hunting situations and more effectively attract ducks.

Use Calls Sparingly

Remember that less is often more when it comes to duck calling. Avoid over-calling, which can sound unnatural and spook wary birds. Instead, use your calls strategically to grab the attention of distant ducks and convince them to approach your setup.


Choosing the best duck calls for different hunting situations can greatly enhance your waterfowl hunting success. By understanding your hunting environment, considering your skill level, and selecting calls designed for specific scenarios, you can build a versatile collection that helps you adapt to any situation. Remember to practice regularly, learn various calling techniques, and use your calls judiciously to maximize their effectiveness. With the right calls and some dedication to honing your skills, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more successful duck hunter.