Given the pessimism in some circles of our sport, perhaps you're like me: you resist optimism and the sincere belief — right or wrong — that next year will be better than the last. Typically it's new duck hunting gear that affords such hope, and there are some instances when our expectations may actually be founded in logic. Duck and goose calls, for instance, are our direct line of communication with the birds. If a certain call sounds more realistic even in our hands, shouldn't more birds respond?
Here then are the reasons I've convinced myself that next season will be a great one. These calls — some of them introduced last year, others brand-spanking new — are optimism in a box. Let's hope they add to our enjoyment this fall.
Field Proven Double Shot
The Field Proven Double Shot
on my lanyard is one of my go-to duck calls. It has a lovely rasp to it and is easily the most controllable double-reed I've ever blown. Now Field Proven offers a highly affordable, polymer version that I suspect will more than defy its price point. A lifetime warranty is included.
Mr. Big II
'Big Sean ' Hammock isn't just one of my favorite call-makers in the business, but a preferred resource for cutting-edge hunting tactics. At least those he's willing to divulge. His new flagship goose call, the Mr. Big II
, is designed to avoid the loud, unrealistic 'crack ' so prevalent on the back-end of most calls. A paper-thin reed adds rasp and a life-like pitch, and requires minimal airflow to operate.
The Daisy Cutter
Want to get aggressive? The Daisy Cutter
is one of the loudest duck calls in the RNT line. It's a descendant of the company's popular Short Barrel call, but features a higher reed set along a wider bore — this call screams.
When my buddy, Tyler, told me he had a new short-reed I just had to hear, I didn't think much of it — until he ran it for me. Turns out Final Glide
is arguably the best call manufacturer you've never heard of. Its all-acrylic goose calls display good range, terrific realism and feature a custom, molded gut system. All calls arrive broken in, free of charge.
Haydel's KC-13 Keyless Cutdown Mallard
Those who long for a retro-style duck call will want to check out the latest from Haydel's
. The KC-13 single-reed is designed to allow hammering at birds in classic, 'cutdown ' fashion when you need extra volume. However, unlike the historic calls it's reminiscent of, it's a smooth call that won't make you go blue in the face running it.
Primos Classic Wood Duck
The wood duck is one of my favorite waterfowl species in terms of its beauty, table quality and the challenge it presents in flight. Yet so often I hear its distinct whistle and have no woodie call. Not so this October. I intend to carry the Primos Classic Wood Duck
, a pretty little call with a hardwood barrel and unbeatable price tag.
Whether you're hunting traffic and need to get the attention of distant geese, or it's time for some soft finishing clucks, this versatile new call from Tim Grounds has just the volume you need. The 'G ' Over Hauler's
'Air Flow Control ' mouthpiece and 'Triple Crown Gut System ' gives this call some of the best range Tim Grounds has ever produced.
Death Row Calls Rev
Death Row Calls' Rev
single-reed duck call features moisture-control grooves on the sound board, which prevent your slobber from causing the call to stick or force it out of tune. It's a nice, clear call that can run loud high balls or fast feed chatter.
Price: $125 (delrin), $150 (acrylic)
Zink Calls Green Machine ATM
Zink's latest double-reed — the Green Machine ATM
— features the same smooth operation that's popularized the company, but with added volume and an improved bottom end. The call features Zink's 'Z-Cut ' tone channel to prevent sticking, while providing a solid range of tones. Its price includes extra reeds, an instructional DVD and more.
Sean Mann Timber Talker
The Sean Mann Timber Talker
is an old school call that's quiet and smooth in the woods — but lay on it like a fire-breathing dragon with a little back pressure, and it can sound like a 'stage ' call in a hot contest. It's an equal opportunity caller of both ducks and judges.
Wing Nutz Deuce
If you're a blowhard or just blow hard, the Deuce
doublereed is for you. This call is made to dominate ducks like a demanding hen, who wants a big greenhead beside her — right now. Sean says you'll blow out a lung before you can over-blow this call. The low end can be seductive and sexy, and the high end can really reach out.
Flambeau Sweet Cherry
Bargain-priced, the double-reed Sweet Cherry
creates great sounds with very little air. Like other wooden calls, this produces mellow sounds that bring ducks to the decoys. A brass sleeve holds tone channel and wedge tight, preventing splitting — and people who don't know how to tune a call from taking it apart. The insert and barrel are held together by a neoprene O-ring, preventing loss in the field.
BANDED Queen Mallard
Lovely and talented young women are crowned
in Stuttgart, but this call is not for winning beauty contests. Most single-reed calls are made to 'ring ' on the high end, but this one is not. It sounds wheezy, whiny and downright nasty, with plenty of punch to turn wary ducks your way.
Knight & Hale EZ Debutante
Ah, yet another pretty young thing; the belle of the ball all the greenheads are hangin' around. K&H's EZ Debutante
double reed aluminum call produces crisp, clean sounds, yet keeps the low-end rasp the callmaker says is 'distinct. ' Obviously, the aluminum makes it durable, and when Fido gets bored and decides to use it as a chew toy, he'll be in for a big surprise.
Big Guys Best Fat Boy
Designed for and used by the late Mike 'Big Guy ' Keller to win the 2001 World Championship, the Fat Boy
is an all-acrylic call. A compact short-reed, it's individually tuned using hand-shaved reeds for easy blowing and realistic sounds. Short-reed calls have become the norm on the contest stage, and around the necks of guides and goose fanatics across the nation.
Foiles' Strait Pipe
Flute calls started in the 1950s with southern Illinois guide Paul Morgan, who modified Olt A-50s. Foiles' Strait Pipe
is a descendent, but with an adjustable reed and end piece that slides off. Keep the end piece on, and it's an easy call for the beginner, because it makes the back pressure for you. The advanced caller will take it off, and use his hand to add the back pressure for those subtle clucks and not-so-subtle double clucks.