We often get asked how many calls are needed to call ducks. The answer is simple most of the time.
The number of calls needed to hunt ducks is 2; a mallard call and a duck whistle if you are just hunting one area.
Below we will outline everything you need to know about how many duck calls you need to carry.
It All Depends On Where You Are Hunting
With the myriad of mallard calls available, which one do you need?
The answer depends on where you are planning to hunt. If you are planning to hunt flooded timber an open water duck call will blow the ducks out of the area.
On the other hand, the sound of a soft timber call does not carry very far across a wide open rice field.
Once you decide where you are going to hunt and determine what volume call you need, do you call a single reed or a double reed? Your personal preference and calling ability is the answer.
Typically, a single reed call is more versatile but can require more practice and skill to utilize its full potential.
Most double reed calls are more user-friendly and easier to master but do not offer as much versatility.
How Many Areas You Are Hunting
If you are like a lot of duck hunters and hunt multiple areas in one day like we often do, what do you carry?
We typically carry 2 mid-volume single reed calls, 2 low-volume single reed timber calls, and a duck whistle. Why carry 4 mallard calls?
Four mallard calls give us the ability to adapt to different locations and also sound like multiple ducks in the same location.
When you add in the different sounds a duck whistle creates, it is a convincing combination.
If you are hunting highly pressured ducks, creating a mallard drake call with a duck whistle can save an otherwise unsuccessful hunt.
Always Carry Backup Calls
Anything can happen while duck hunting. Calls can be lost, broken, reeds damaged, or calls can ice up and prevent use.
Carrying multiple mallard calls also gives you the advantage of a backup call. Anything can happen while duck hunting.
Calls can be lost, broken, reeds damaged, or calls can ice up and prevent use. In our opinion, carrying multiple calls is a necessity!
There is nothing worse than having your hunt be finished early because a call goes missing or stops functioning properly.
Always bring an extra just to be safe.
Should I Carry Wood Or Acrylic Calls?
The answer is dependent on what exactly you are hunting, where you are hunting, and your price range.
In general, wood calls are richer in sound and lower in price, but tend to require more maintenance.
Additionally, for the most part, they do not do well with moisture, so if you are hunting close to water or in high levels of humidity you risk destroying the call.
Acrylic calls tend to be higher in price, but they are also more resistant to moisture, thus ideal for hunting near the water.
For more information, read our article on wood duck calls vs acrylic calls.
There you have it – if we are hunting in one area, we bring 2. If we are hunting multiple areas, usually we bring 4.
In any case, we always recommend bringing extras just in case one gets lost, damaged, or stops working.
We wish you the best of luck with your hunting.
Lover of hiking, nature, camping, bird calls, and more. I run ATO and do my best to provide interesting information for my readers to help make their outdoor adventures more fun.