Mallard Duck Calling Tips and Tricks

Most spend multiple hours each week scouting before and during season to find the perfect spot putting them on the “X” for a successful hunt. Once the birds are found and patterned next comes down to having the right gear. A blind that can be blended in to match the surroundings and a decoy spread that is fitting for the size group you are trying to work.  Lastly the hours put into practicing your duck call are crucial. Being able to turn heads and having birds decoy in provides the most ethical and successful hunt.

Listed below are a few tips for beginners learning how to call in order of increasing difficulty:

Tip #1: Holding the Call

It all starts with how you hold your call it should be pressed against your lips as if you were drinking out of a pop bottle. One hand around the barrel as if it were a ducks beak. You will open and close your hand as you quack.

Tip #2: The Quack

I preferred to practice in the mirror during the beginning of learning to quack. Making sure your cheeks are remaining flat by pulling air from your diaphragm. You want to use hot air as if you were breathing on a window to get rid of the fog. Saying "quit" "hut" or "what" as you quack. Before you can move onto a hail call or a feeding chuckle a good quack is necessary. 

Tip #3: The Hail Call

Once you have a good solid quack down you can move onto a hail call this is used to get the ducks to turn back around. You will start with the longest and loudest quack out of any other calls. Total it should be between 5 to 6 quacks for a good hail call but it can be mixed up in your cycle while calling. This should be used as a last effort to turn a group around.

Tip #4: The Greeting Call

Like the hail call it consist of 5 to 6 quacks; however, they should be starting with the longest and loudest quack and gradually decreasing in length. Think of the length of the quack as stair steps. It shouldn’t jump from a long quack to a short quack. Making it smooth is important

Tip #5: The Feeding Chuckle

Probably the most difficult of all to master and the most time spent practicing is the feeding chuckle. It requires speed and lung capacity. Some recommend when starting out to flip the call to the opposite end and practice just the pattern not necessarily blowing into the call. Many use the words “digga”, “dig it”, or “tika” when using their feeding chuckle. The speed of the chuckle isn’t as important as mastering the sound the hen makes when feeding. This call is to let the other ducks know that it is safe and there is food. The more rapid your chuckle is the more hens you are signaling to the other ducks. If you have a small spread put out it isn’t necessarily as important to have such a rapid feeding chuckle.

General Tips:

The most important and best advice I can give on this is don't try to rush or force the air through the call. Lung capacity and being able to make it through a cycle will come with practice.   

I found using a double reed beneficial when learning to call as the second reed almost provided training wheels for the first reed. Not allowing me to over call; however, once I improved I found it easier to feed chuckle with a single reed. Everyone is different though don’t give up right away if the double reed is hard to blow.

A good call shouldn’t reed lock under normal circumstances. If you find your call locked up take the barrel off and dry your reeds either with clothing or just by blowing on them.


Jessalyn Newlell - Owner Newell Custom Calls & ReelCamo Girl Team Member


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