We’ve covered everything you need to know about choosing the right duck call, from the materials used to make them to the importance of reeds and more. Now let us see how these five budget-friendly yet quality duck calls compare.
The "Duck Commander," Phil Robertson, gave up his coaching career to turn his passion for hunting into a livelihood. It started out rough at first, with Phil only making $8000 the first year of starting his duck call business, but sometimes the best things in life have a rough start. Now Duck Commander is a renowned company that sells more than just duck calls. In the past, Phil assembled his duck calls at home with the help of his wife and four boys, but his operations have since moved to the warehouse featured on A&E’s "Duck Dynasty." Phil says he makes duck calls for duck killers, not for “world champion-style callers.”
The Duck Commander Triple Threat Duck Call is a triple reed duck call made of polycarbonate material. It has a friction fit style and nasally raspy tone, which mimics the quack, feed call and hail call of the mallard hen. Its distinctive three-reed system replicates these three sounds with ease, thanks to the arrangement of the reed material. It is a system that not only operates well, but is also easy to tune and clean. Overall, this call is brilliantly designed and a great addition to any caller’s arsenal.
The men in Will Primos' family were hunters, and so was Will. He built his first duck call in 1963, when he was just 11 years old. Today, Primos is one of the most recognized duck calling brands in the world. Unlike other call companies, Primos doesn’t just make calls for one type of game species; it makes calls for every game species in America and does so phenomenally.
The Primos Mastering The Art Duck Pack Call includes the "Mastering The Art Guide to Waterfowl" DVD, and the Primos Original Wench Duck Call. This combo is great for beginner duck callers, as the DVD teaches you the fundamentals, along with advanced techniques for duck and goose calling.
The Original Wench Duck Call has a hard polycarbonate barrel for great volume, and features patented “Tone Ridges” and “Tuning Ditches” on the sounding board. These keep the reeds from freezing or sticking together while delivering raspy highs and lows. It also has a patented reed relocation system, which allows you to disassemble the call for easy cleaning and put it back together in its correct form every time. The internal parts are made of graphite, which happens to be an ideal sound conductor. That is why this call has such a distinct pitch, and tone range.
There’s also a tuning hole in the bell/stopper, so you can change the pitch of the call and sound like two different ducks. When the call is covered, it delivers a lower pitch, and when it is uncovered, you hear a higher pitch. It’s great for timber and open water calling, and is also great for those callers who value accuracy and versatility.
Faulk Game Calls has been around for over 50 years. Its founder, Dud Faulk, learned everything he knew about duck calling from his father Clarence “Patin” Faulk, who was a local guide and trapper in Big Lake, Louisiana. Patin began making duck and goose calls in the mid-1930s. By 1951, Dud made a full line of calls and was selling them at trade shows. Later, he went on to win the International Duck Calling Championship. He also won the World Champion Goose Calling Championship twice, all while growing his business with his wife, Rena. Now Faulk Game Calls is a company known for some of the most well-crafted calls on the market, from duck, goose, quail and pheasant to deer and elk. Faulk has a wide range of game calls known for their quality and performance.
Faulk’s Champion Duck Call is a single-reed call made using primarily walnut and zebrawood, with a few other wood types mixed in to deliver a polished duck call. It delivers a great range of sounds, and is surprisingly easy to use for a single-reed call. It’s perfect for calling mallards and other large ducks.
Buck Gardner was named after its founder, champion duck caller Buck Gardner, who won the World Duck Calling Championship in 1994 and the World Duck Calling Champion of Champions contest in 1995. The company was founded in 1996 in Memphis, Tennessee, and has introduced numerous innovative game calls to the market. Its most notable innovation, Spit-Tech Technology, prevents reed sticking and has garnered much praise in the hunting community. Buck Gardner also offers predator and goose calls, along with a small collection of deer calls.
The Buck Gardner Double Nasty II Duck Call gives you a single-reed range with the ease of a double-reed call. It has a hand-sanded tone board and features Spit-Tech™ Technology to prevent the reeds from sticking. It's made out of polycarbonate and acrylic and has a high-gloss finish. It produces the sounds of an old hen, with hail calls, mid-range feed call, and raspy quacks on the bottom end to draw out your prey for easy pickings.
Hunting is a passion, a sport, and a business for many. Hunters have arsenals filled with tools to help catch the best game, from a hunting blind
to keep them hidden, to binoculars
to observe their targets, to hunting knives
to kill their prey. Hunters are masters of their tools and their environment.
One of the most popular forms of hunting is duck hunting. It’s one of the only types to have an old-school video game designed after it. Duck hunting is something that friends and families both bond over. One of the must-haves on any duck hunting trip is a duck call. These little devices allow hunters to lure ducks out for the kill, and can be used by kids and adults alike.
If you’re new to duck hunting, or want to give a duck hunter in your life a new call but aren’t sure what to choose, we’re here to help. Our detailed buying guide will help you choose the best duck call for your budget and hunting style.
There are two major categories of duck calls: mass-produced and custom-built. Mass-produced duck calls can cost you anywhere between $25 and $70. If you are looking for a custom-made duck call, the cost starts to go past the $100 mark. The materials used to make the call, the number of reeds, the tuning and the type of call all affect the price.
When you’re looking to buy a new duck call, the features you’re looking for will depend on your hunting style. Some things to consider include:
Tone – This refers to the pitch of the call. If you use your call over long distances, get one that's higher in pitch, louder, and produces notes that will travel over long distances. If you are a hunter who hunts in close call environments such as beaver ponds, get a call that is softer in pitch and volume. These environments require less emphasis on the distance traveled and more on sounding like an authentic duck.
Reed – Reeds are the parts of the duck calls that create the sound when you blow them. Most duck calls are either single-reed or double-reed. Single-reed calls are more versatile. They also offer a more crisp and demanding sound, and have more range than double reed calls. The main issue with single reed calls is that they are more difficult to master. They require you to have more control of the mechanics of duck calling, such as tongue control, air control and positioning to get the sound right.
Double-reed - Double reed calls are easier to master and perfect for beginner duck callers. Double-reed duck calls are a great way to start out and build your confidence with calling. They require more air and don’t have as much range as single-reed duck calls, but they do have a very realistic sound that’s recognizable by passing ducks. While you won’t win a competition with a double-reed duck call, they're still great for regular hunting and are used by many good hunters throughout their careers.
Color - While many would consider color merely a personal preference, some have noticed a tonal difference between transparent acrylic duck calls and solid colored ones. Transparent ones are more dense, which causes them to produce louder, crisper, and sharper sounds than solid colored acrylic calls. While there may not be a difference between a series of solid colors or a series of transparent ones, there is still a difference between the two types for some hunters.
Construction and Design
Three are three materials that manufacturers use to make duck calls: acrylic, polycarbonate, and wood. Manufacturers either use one or a combination of two of these three materials to make their duck calls. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the call you choose will depend on your hunting style and budget.
Acrylic –This is the most expensive of the three materials. It is often used to create custom duck calls and open-water calls. Acrylic is considered a great material to work with. It’s gorgeous, durable and makes versatile sounds. Acrylic duck calls are usually sharper and louder than other types.
Polycarbonate – Polycarbonate calls are the middle ground between wooden and acrylic duck calls. Polycarbonate begins as a solid. It's melted into a liquid and injected into a mold, which is why it is also known as molded plastic. The molds are costly to make, but once they're made, making the calls is quite affordable. Polycarbonate calls are also durable and make great first duck calls. Many hunters even use them throughout their entire career.
Wood – Wood is a more traditional material, and calls made from wood deliver a rich, raspy sound. However, wooden duck calls are not as durable as acrylic or polycarbonate duck calls. They also require more maintenance and upkeep, since wooden calls are more vulnerable to the effects of nature, such as moisture and the weather. That being said, they are quite affordable even though their production is labor-intensive.
Performance and Ease of Use
The performance of your duck call ultimately depends on the number of reeds in it, and on the material used to make the duck call. Single reed duck calls, as mentioned before, perform much better than double-reed duck calls. They are more versatile and offer better range along with a clean, demanding sound. Double-reed duck calls may not offer the same sound, but are much easier to use and master.
One of the main issues many hunters face with their duck calls is that spit gets into their calls and causes the reeds to stick, which prevents them from working. Many manufacturers have taken steps to deal with this problem, but each method varies depending on the manufacturer and the specific call.
Wooden duck calls require the most maintenance, compared to acrylic or polycarbonate calls. While wood calls are great for close-up calling scenarios, as they produce much softer and mellower sounds than other duck calls, wood duck calls are also porous. This causes them to absorb moisture and swell, which requires you to pull them apart and air-dry them after each hunt.
Ultimately, the best duck call is the one that fits your hunting style and proficiency.
These five duck calls all bring something different to the table, and each one works best for a different hunting style. If you’re still not sure which one to get, go over them again to see which is best for you, or look at these companies' other choices.