Waterfowl Call Buyers Guide
I was recently asked by a friend of mine how he should go about buying a duck and goose call. We probably had a good 20-30 minute conversation over the phone about what to look for. The purpose of this article is to hopefully steer you in the right direction when you go looking for a new waterfowl call.
Waterfowl calls range in price from the mere 10-15 dollars to into the hundreds, and in some cases, in the thousands of dollars. I don’t expect any hunter to go out and spend $1,000.00 on a waterfowl call, but there are some who do. It should all start with what is your maximum budget. Once you figure out that number, then you can go forward into investigating some of the waterfowl calls that are out there. For a normal, everyday hunter, I would not spend more than $100 dollars on a waterfowl call. If that is too far out of your price range, you can always buy a call that is less money. But we should go into materials next.
There are three major materials that calls will be made out of in today’s market. The first and most expensive is acrylic. Acrylic calls are almost indestructible and will last your lifetime if you take care of it. Acrylic does not expand or contract due to weather or moisture which is a good thing considering waterfowl hunting deals with both regularly. Acrylic comes in all shapes, sizes and colors to please the eye and hand of almost any hunter. Acrylic calls tend to be louder and have a sharper tone and break than calls made from other materials.
The second prevalent material is wood. There are many types of different woods that waterfowl calls are made of that are available to the consumer. The most common types of wood you are going to find are Cocobolo, African Blackwood, and Maple to name a few. Wood waterfowl calls have the most pure tone to them. They are going to have a softer sound than acrylic and less crisp tone and breaks. However, the downside of wood calls is that the wood can expand and contract due to weather and moisture. This can make the call sound different in each situation and not just the sound of the call after you tested it in the store. Wood is also somewhat fragile. Wood can crack due to constant expansion and contraction, as well as can break by being dropped, stepped on, sat on, etc.
The last material most commonly used for making waterfowl calls is polycarbonate. This is a type of molded plastic. These calls are going to be your least expensive calls in the waterfowl call market. In saying that, the call is not going to have as crisp of sound as the other two materials, and will be vulnerable to temperature changes and pressure. However, the polycarbonate is going to be a bit stronger than wood. The most appealing about polycarbonate calls again is the price tag. You can buy many different kinds of calls and calls for different species for the same price as one acrylic or wood call.
Next thing to look at when deciding what kind of call you want to get is single reed or double reed. With most goose calls and subspecies of such, the only type of reed you can get is single reed. But when it comes to duck calls, single and double reed calls are offered. A single reed call is going to be easier to blow with less air required into the actual call. A single reed will have crisp notes and till normally be louder. A double reed call will need more air blown into the call to produce the desired sound. The double reed call will be quieter, raspy, and will not be able to produce wide ranges of notes like a single reed call will.
Since we have discussed so many things about materials, reeds, prices, one of the most important aspects of deciding on which call you want to purchase is what the call is going to be used for; whether the call is used for competition, open water hunting, timber hunting, learning how to use a call, or just using a waterfowl call as a hobby. Each individual call, made by whatever manufacturer, made with whatever material, with single or double reeds needs to be tested prior to buying. Every call that I own, has been tested prior to purchase, except for one that is a decorative piece in my house. I suggest that anyone in the market to buy a new waterfowl call look at the above suggestions, go to a store and test one for yourself.
Until next time, good hunting and stay safe.