Ways to improve calling

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Re: Ways to improve calling

Postby charlie beard » Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:26 pm

I think most everyone can blow a call.
Reading the ducks to me is more important.
Know when to call and when not to call.
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Re: Ways to improve calling

Postby possumfoot » Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:53 pm

i consider that part of calling..

rick and swamp are both correct.. but all of us are still being rather vague. its impossible for a person to really explain all the the nuances of working birds.

you also have to remember that every place is diffenent. every ducks is diffenent. every day is diffenent. working birds consistantly involves lots of time spent hunting them, and knowing what they want to here, when they want to hear it, and being able to adjust if what "should" work is not.

practice makes perfect, but i think one of the best things to add as a tool is live birds.. realistic calling makes stale birds easier to kill. somedays you need to be LOUD, obnoxious and make way more noise than 5000 mallards normally would. others, very quiet calling. i think realistic calling is likely the best choice except on very windy days and on migration days.
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Re: Ways to improve calling

Postby KAhunter » Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:09 pm

It really does take experinece to know when to call and not to. It takes time out there and paying attention to how the birds respond day in and day out. Its never quite the same. Here in the great duck hunting state of NC, I have reduced my calling for certain species and have changed my calling for others over the years. I really only use heavy mallard calling to get there attention or if they want to leave, and even that isnt very often. Not saying I dont use a few chuckles or light qucks but "less is more" seems to work best here. If you are paying attention the ducks will teach you better than any of us can tell you.
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Re: Ways to improve calling

Postby ByersFarm » Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:27 pm

The only way to really learn IMO is by experience. You just have to get out there and watch someone, or do it yourself. Knowing when to call is more important to me than having that perfect sound. That of course is based in the idea that one actually sounds decent on a call. You just need experience in what works in your area, and it's a moving target. My style constantly changes. Cannon is only 50 miles from us and he and I have different styles.
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Re: Ways to improve calling

Postby aunt betty » Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:33 pm

Have said it many times.
Flying RC airplanes taught me about the kind of spacing, timing, speed, altitude, and momentum of landing a small aircraft.
Serious. I pretend I'm trying to land ducks like little RC planes and only call when I need them to turn.
You don't actually call ducks but you gently steer them at the exact precise instant you want a change in direction.
There's more to it but that helped me a ton.
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Re: Ways to improve calling

Postby Rick Hall » Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:47 pm

I think AB makes a good point about the general advisability of treating working birds like a plane with regard to wind direction and giving them room to work and break down well out.

Fwiw, here's my take on working birds from the perspective of momentum as written for another board some years ago:

At its tactical core, calling ducks is about momentum: creating it, breaking it, maintaining it and, sometimes, just not getting in its way. So I take my calling cues by paying attention to the birds' momentum.

If the location and decoys are doing my job for me, and the birds want to come to the guns, I'll let 'em. Calling only enough to keep them coming if they waver and/or to put them "right there". Not getting in the way of birds that want to work was little doubt the inspiration for the old saw about calling only to tail feathers and wing tips.

By the same token, if the birds haven't shown me their intent, I'll call just enough to get our hat in the ring. And if they jump for it, chances are they can be finessed the rest of the way by tickling them "on the corners". Again letting the birds' momentum do most of the work.

But if birds blow off a simple greeting and drive on toward parts unknown, I've got nothing to lose and everything to gain by hitting them hard with the call. Here again, if they're quick to turn to it, they'll probably do most of the work from there on in.

And if they don't turn to, I really amp it up, watching for any little wink or blink of a wing suggesting the jackhammer will work if I can just crank it up a little louder and longer. When I can't get anything to flirt, I'm only out some wind. But when something will wink or blink, and I don't run out of wind, our chances of getting shooting out of it are excellent.

Wasn't always so, however, because when I'd worked that hard to break something off a flock or turn the bunch, I worried about over calling and backed off as they headed to us - only to lose them when I did. Took me a lot more such losses than I'm happy admitting to realize that even when I turned the whole flock and not just a bird or two from it, the real momentum was still headed toward whatever was drawing them away in the first place and might well stay that way. Many such birds are either coaxed all the way to the guns or lost, presumably to their prior destination.

If there's a "rule" to such things, it may be that the harder birds are to turn in the first place, the more likely the need to call to their faces until you call the shot. "Tails and tips" be damned.

Very often, too, we'll see that birds within hailing range appear deaf, because they're zeroed in on another nearby spot, and our best efforts aren't turning them. We can't break the momentum toward that location within their view, like we could toward a distant, perhaps less tangible, goal.

But it's often the case that we can then use their own momentum against such birds by letting those apparently locked on such a spot go to it, break down for it, and then, when their circling heads them our general direction, calling to their faces to keep them headed our way, perhaps thinking there might be a better deal just a little farther on. Or just caught up in the call.

Again, though, don't let up as they approach or pass a good shot hoping for a better one, because they've already shown that what they really want is over yonder.

And that's more than enough of that for a while. Lots and lots of other tactical stuff, including gosh knows how many under the label "most important thing" or "secrets" that probably aren't. But I think a fellow who really pays attention to momentum and calls accordingly has a far better foundation to build on than most.
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Re: Ways to improve calling

Postby jaysweet3 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:02 pm

Darn good write up.
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Re: Ways to improve calling

Postby Broken Paddle » Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:14 pm

I learned from my Dad initially, then listened to other club members that were more successful than we were. I got my Dad a video for Christmas 1 yr. on duck calling, the recommendation was, listen to your local birds, learn from them.

Have a member that rattles off calls that I have NEVER heard in the marsh, predominantly Black ducks & Mallards.
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Re: Ways to improve calling

Postby Gj325 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:50 pm

Great Stuff guys. This is one of the better threads in quite awhile. Nobody trying to point out their method is the best or only way to do something. Very informative. Keep it up. Nice Change of pace. :thumbsup:
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Re: Ways to improve calling

Postby jaysweet3 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:52 pm

I'd say this thread and the Byers migration, are two of the most informative duck hunting threads on the site.
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Re: Ways to improve calling

Postby ByersFarm » Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:23 pm

jaysweet3 wrote:Darn good write up.

Absolutely. What Rick described there was one of the best write-ups I've seen on when to call. One could take it and apply it to reading body language of birds and do well.
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Re: Ways to improve calling

Postby aunt betty » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:59 pm

ByersFarm wrote:
jaysweet3 wrote:Darn good write up.

Absolutely. What Rick described there was one of the best write-ups I've seen on when to call. One could take it and apply it to reading body language of birds and do well.
I agree 100%.

Would like to talk a bit about what happens to me a LOT.
Without saying where...I hunt timber at a place where there's tons of mallards. It takes about two hours for them all to fly by and they do it every day two to four times.

I just call and call because the sky is row after row of VEEs lined up for many miles.

Will break down a flock and focus on calling them but what happens is two other flocks observe the breakage and then I have three flocks (two I don't see) working and competing to get into the hole first. So many ducks...
I get surprised a lot because I hunt alone.
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