How to Duck Call: Get the Most Realistic Sound


If you want to successfully hunt ducks, having an effective duck call is essential. Ducks respond to the sounds of other ducks - a quality duck call that accurately mimics those sounds will draw ducks in from far away. With some practice, you can learn how to duck call properly and make extremely realistic duck noises. Here are some tips for how to duck call and sound authentic.

Choose the Right Duck Call

There are many different types of duck calls on the market, so do some research to select one that will work for your needs. Polycarbonate and acrylic calls are durable options, while wood calls often produce the most authentic sound. Consider a double reed call if you’re a beginner, as they are easier to blow. Single reed calls take more skill but can replicate intricate duck noises. Make sure to get a call that is designed for the duck species you are targeting. For example, calls that sound like mallard hens work well for many duck hunters.

Master Your Grip

How you hold the best duck call is key for controlling air flow and sound production. Create an “O” with your thumb and index finger, gripping the end of the call lightly to avoid muffling. Keep your fingers close together near the end of the call. Place the call up vertically to your mouth. Alter your hand position to control air flow and change duck call tones.

Focus on Your Air

Blowing air into the duck call properly is what generates sound. Master blowing from your diaphragm rather than just your mouth. Steady, controlled exhales will yield the best tone. Purse your lips slightly while blowing for improved control. Start by blowing very gently to discover the precise airflow required to make noise. Blow harder once you establish the correct technique to increase volume. Avoid blowing harshly, or you’ll create distorted sounds.

Practice Basic Quacks

The most fundamental duck noise is the quack, which ducks use to communicate constantly. Sit when first practicing to eliminate body movement. Bring the call to your mouth and gently blow while saying the word “quack” to yourself, running sounds together to mimic natural duck noises. Each quack should have two syllables, like “queck-a” in a quavering voice. Listen to real ducks to identify cadence and pitch. Strive for variation in your quacking for realism.

Add Advanced Duck Sounds

Once you have quality basic quacking down, explore making other duck chatter like feed calls, comeback calls, alarm calls, and more by altering reed airflow and pressure. Use multiple consecutive quacks in different pitches and rhythms to replicate the conversational clamor of a flock. Blow very lightly, almost whispering, to attain high squeaks and whimpers ducks employ. Modulate the position of your hand on the call to change tones, too. Listen to ducks and try matching their cries precisely.

Consider a Calling Assistant

Some hunters use calling assistants like small handheld devices to play digital duck noises while they operate the duck call themselves. This allows weaving authentic prerecorded duck chatter into manual calling. Callers can also mask the sound of loading a gun or a dog’s bark. Make sure batteries won’t die. Coordinate assistant quacking with your own for incredibly realistic duck calling.

Practice Regularly

Like any skill, excelling at how to use a duck call takes patience and practice. Set aside time to rehearse proper technique regularly, especially before hunting season opens. Pay attention to airflow, grip, positions that change the sound, advanced noises, creating sequences of varied calls, incorporating duck chatter playback, and mimicking specific tempos and oscillations you hear wild ducks using. Accuracy will steadily improve, so don’t get frustrated.


Learning how to use a duck call properly takes time and practice, but mastering realistic duck noises is a crucial skill for hunters. Focus on choosing the right style of call for your needs and mastering basic techniques like your grip, airflow control, and fundamental quack sounds. Advance to incorporating more authentic duck chatter like excited feed calls, comeback calls to migrating flocks, and alarm calls signaling danger. Mimic-specific duck vocalizations by observing and breaking down live duck communication in the field. Be patient and dedicated to rehearsing regularly to develop muscle memory. With the right gear and determination to refine your skill, you’ll be expertly speaking the ducks' language to call them in closer than ever before. Follow these tips to become a true duck calling pro this season.