It was 40 years ago, but I can still recall the black Olt D-2 my pop carried in the pocket of his canvas coat. Tethered by a short piece of rawhide lace and a safety pin, the call — best as I can remember — never left the security of that chest pocket.
You see, we weren't great callers, he and I, but the Ohio mallards, black ducks, wood ducks, and teal didn't seem to know the difference. Today, a waterfowler without a call and a deep-seated knowledge in its use is a captain without a ship.
And, fortunately there's no shortage of available calls. Wooden tradition still sells, albeit oft-replaced by exotic synthetics of polycarbonate, acrylic, and even aluminum. And the colors; a thousand hues of Blue Pearl, Cop Car, and my favorite, Nuclear Orange.
Single-reed, double-reed, short-reed, flute, timber, open water...each a work of art, crafted with skill and experience afield.
Check out the newest duck and goose calls for 2014:
Banded Honey Badger
Honey badgers are downright nasty, just like this aptly-named single-reed. Compact, ferocious, ultra-realistic, and tough, the Honey Badger
is an Arkansas-style, medium volume meat call. One of the smallest calls in the Banded line packs a lethal tone.
Banded Dark Magic
Extremely unhealthy for any Canada within earshot, Dark Magic
is a super-smooth short-reed that conjures up a devilish tone. Easy to blow but extremely versatile, the call puts dark geese in the hole, simple as that.
Big Guys Best Drake Brake
If names put ducks on the strap, the Drake Brake
would be fillin' limits in all four flyways (it might anyways). BGB's taken a top-shelf tone board — the Smoke-n-Double — opened up the exhaust, and put it in a short barrel. With an O-ring design, this call, single- or double-reed, is fast, loud, and as real as it gets.
Big Guys Best Widowmaker
No doubt the Widowmaker's
easy-to-blow short-barrel, short-insert, shaved-reed will cause lots of goose funerals this fall. It's the perfect blow tube for hail calling sky-high migrators into your spread.
Field Proven Hybrid Double Shot
When Clay and Field Hudnall combine traditional call-making techniques with state-of-the-art technology, the result is a legendary call like the Double Shot. The Double
is now available in a hybrid, consisting of an old-school Osage mouthpiece and hand-tuned thermoplastic polymer tone board.
Field Proven Raptor
Designed by two-time world goose calling champion Field Hudnall, the Raptor
is an advanced short-reed that's easy on the egos of beginners. The modified straight-bore mouthpiece provides lightning-quick response, and allows for an incredible goose vocabulary.
Flambeau Arctic Fury
Built for the blue-collar 'fowler deadly serious about goose hunting, the Arctic Fury
features a specially redesigned end piece for increased built-in back-pressure. This allows the Fury to break over with very little effort, producing incredibly realistic sounds.
Flambeau Ice Box
Made for rice fields to tidal marshes, the Ice Box
gives novice and veteran waterfowlers alike an entire orchestra of avian sounds at their fingertips. 'It's pure duck all the way from the earth-shattering hail call to that last deadly feed chuckle, ' said world champion caller Richie McKnight.
Flextone Hail Mary
Call long with the Hail Mary
, a darn nice blow tube available in single- or double-reed. The call features the company's unique Soft/Hard Technology that duplicates the natural sound of, in this case, a mallard duck.
Deliver double clucks and soft moans Canadas can't resist with the Supernatural
. The shorty uses Flextone's Soft/Hard Technology to give you the authentic clucks honkers want to hear.
Foiles Raizin Cayne
Never lose your insert again with the Raizin Cayne
. With a simple quarter-turn, it's locked tight. With two distinctly different tone boards for the single and double, the RC embodies versatility: loud, raspy bark on the top end; soft and clean on the bottom.
Strait goose, the Redemption
short-reed is tapered — small to large — inside the bore, blasting the caller's air over the reed and creating a super-fast pop. And a flared insert gives the Redemption a built-in buzz.
Fox Pro Super Snow Crow Pro
The Super Snow Crow Pro
will deliver spiraling flocks of white devils in the spring, and you can make a pile of those marauding black birds too (check game laws in your state). Equipped with 50 Fox Pro sounds, the SSCP can store and access up to 1,000 sounds. It also comes with two speakers and allows you to connect up to four external speakers.
GK Molded Call Girl
The Molded Call Girl
is an old-time J-frame featuring the company's innovative and exclusive counter-bored technology. The hardened polymer and seamless design create a unique sound mallards are sure to flock to.
One of the most versatile calls ever produced by the folks down in Bossier City, the Stout
features both shortened and enlarged-diameter barrels, along with a modified sound tunnel to create an instrument that's loud, dark, and as Rod Haydel so rightly puts it, full-bodied.
Hayes Last Rights
Make your feeder chuckle the last thing a flock of greenheads ever hears before you and the boys light'em up over the decoys. The single-reed Last Rights
is at home in the timber or open water and boasts wide range and volume.
Snows are hard to put on the ground anytime, but with low-end grunts to high-pitched cackles, the Snozone
has a wide range of sounds that puts wary white geese in the kill zone.
Knight & Hale Flight Control
Knight and Hale's Flight Control
series of singles and doubles cover all the duck hunting bases. The single-reed is perfect for creating raspy quacks across a range of volumes. Her partner in crime, the double, fills in when a more mellow, subtle approach is called for.
Knight & Hale Magnum Clucker
The Magnum Clucker
makes goose calling easy — well, as easy as it can be. It's an excellent call for young hunters to start their waterfowling careers, and at this price, it's tough to beat, especially for novice callers.
Primos Mean Mallard
The Mean Mallard
is manufactured with a shortened wood barrel, machined aluminum collar, and a threaded acrylic insert. An extremely responsive call with a rich authentic sound, the Mean Mallard uses precisely positioned ridges and ditches incorporated into the sound board to create a reed system less prone to sticking.
Primos Shock Caller
The Primos Shock Caller
is a short wood barrel, machined aluminum collar, and polycarbonate insert combine to provide deep, throaty honks, murmurs, and clucks. Patented ditches on the sound board help prevent reed-lock and moisture build-up.
RNT Daisy Slayer
Bred from the same DNA as the Daisy Cutter
, the Slayer
features increased back pressure, thanks to its shorter insert and unique bore. This design creates a loose fit on the bottom, allowing for incredibly natural-sounding quacks and clucks without sacrificing potential aggressiveness of the Daisy Cutter.
80 (bocote); $
RNT MicroGoose SS
RNT removed the stock muffler on its nationally-recognized MicroGoose
. Champion caller Jim Ronquest called the SS
'the new field legal hot rod of goose calls, ' and the man's right. The call has also been put to the test by goose guru Shawn Stahl.
GK Composition Slayer
Engineered and designed by world champ Wade Walling, the Composition Slayer's
short barrel allows for unsurpassed speed, volume, and tonal range, all while offering the ultimate in air control and versatility. Built for the stage and afield.
Goey Swamp Laundry
The double-reed on the Swamp Laundry
does everything but put drakes belly-up in the decoys — that's on you. Popular with beginners and veterans alike, it goes from whiny feeder chatter to a convincing comeback call.
Roughly half the size of a standard short-reed, the Trainwreck
packs a wallop; honks, clucks, moans, spit notes, quick spits — they're all there. Fast and responsive, the call features a threaded barrel and insert, so it won't fall out.
Haydel's Shorty Cut-Down Speck
Back by popular demand, Haydel's reintroduces the Cut-Down Speck
. A shortened barrel and hand-sanded reed were designed to facilitate air flow. The Shorty positions the caller's air closer to the reed, allowing for maximum control and sweet sounds.
Knutson's Sporting Goods
If it has anything to do with waterfowl, Knutson's
will certainly have it. Knutson's carries a full line of entry-level and high-end duck and goose calls, including such legendary names as Buck Gardner, Zink, Carlson, and Tim Grounds.
Wing Nutz Deuce
Eastern Shore legend Sean Mann
delivers a shortened barrel, translating into an ultra-raspy sound, and tons of attitude. Available in open water or timber models — and either single-reed (the Ace
) or double-reed (the Deuce) — these calls will have ducks landing in your lap.
Wing Nutz Wing Mann
The Wing Mann
sports a shortened reed, barrel, and insert, along with the company's well-recognized hex-nut. Don't let the size fool you; the Wing Mann offers an almost infinite tonal variety. One hand or two, it doesn't matter. This one simply sounds perfect.
Sure-Shot Yentzen One
A duck-call debate would not be complete without mentioning the Yentzen
. Recognized as the inventors of the double-reed, the folks at Sure-Shot set the waterfowling world on its ear again with the Yentzen One
. Great low-end like a double, but with fantastic highs like a single, you'll want this call on your lanyard.
Zink Green Machine ATM
Designed as a companion to the popular PH-2
, the ATM
double-reed features the same smooth mallard sound callers have grown to love, but with greater volume and a radically improved bottom-end feeder chuckle. Featuring the Z-CUT no-stick tone channel, you'll get a huge range of tones while virtually eliminating irritating reed-lock.
Zink Call of Death
Developed for ultimate power, volume, and top-end speed, the COD
offers a nasty low-end perfect for finishing wary birds. With its straight bore mouthpiece, slender end piece and worn-in tone channel, the COD looks every bit as good as it sounds.
Sean Mann Ma Barker
Bark-style calls cut through the nonsense and tell fickle birds what to do. The Ma Barker
was developed to provide power and volume with very little air. You can bark at 'em, yell at 'em, even whisper to 'em. And you'll be amazed at the results.
Sure-Shot Speckle Belly
The Speckle Belly
call duplicates the laughing, wawa sounds and cackles of the white-fronted goose. So if you're chasing a trophy speck for the wall, this is the call for you. Made of durable plastic for a long hunting life.
Sean Mann Shoreman XP-1
The Express, a hand-tuned molded version of the iconic Eastern Shoreman, afforded callers world-champion sound in a no-nonsense style. In a similar vein, the XP-1
resembles its predecessor, with performance-enhancing features like proprietary material construction, CNC machining, unmatched resonance, and a poly-cylindrical bore that allows for more natural sound production.