How important is the best wood duck call for the success of a waterfowler?
Duck Hunting is a time honored tradition in many parts of the world. It is passed down from generation to generation, each new hunter learning from their elders, and picking up new tricks of their own with time and practice.
The amount of gear that is on the market today for duck hunting is staggering. Some of it is very useful, while other stuff is just not needed.
One thing that I think is needed to be a successful duck hunter are duck calls. When mastered, nothing will bring in more birds than a perfected duck call.
Wood ducks are no different.
They are an early season, and somewhat elusive duck. To reign in one of these tasty treats I would find a great duck call, and put it to use. If you are a seasoned hunter, then you know that duck calls are more than just inanimate objects, they are unique to each hunter. Everyone has their favorite.
For any duck call, three things are to be considered above all else:
Distance is important depending on where you will be hunting. Open lakes and rivers need calls that can carry, while potholes, beaver ponds, etc, need softer mellower calls. With wood duck calls, like any other, these three things intertwine with each other.
For example; an acrylic wood duck call will be much sharper and louder for long range calling.
I will break it down here before I show you the best wood duck calls for the money.
Wood ducks are different from other waterfowl in that they keep to themselves, and in smaller groups rarely more than twenty. They are comfortable nesting in trees, and can fly through the woods. They usually stick to beaver ponds, small lakes, or pot holes where they have easy cover, and an escape route.
When considering a new wood duck call, keep these behaviors in mind. You will not need a long distance call, most likely. Not to say that you should not have one on hand, just in case. These ducks like to dwell in cavities in small water ways. They are also known to perch in trees, so look everywhere when hunting these ducks.
For this particular hunting, I would recommend using a wooden duck call, or polycarbonate. Calls made from wood have the softer, mellower sounds needed to ease in close on wood duck territory. Polycarbonate is an alternative to wood, but not quite as mellow or soft. It has a longer range, so if you are hunting wood ducks in a bigger area it would be especially useful.
Volume is not the same as distance, because different tones carry further than others. As far as wood ducks go, some calls are made to mimic one sound really, really well. Others provide a range of sounds to give you more versatility. I like to use at least two different ones because everyday is different.
For wood ducks, and the habitat they are found in, a softer volume usually works best. However, it is not always the case as with just about everything with waterfowl hunting. Single reed calls have more range, and are more versatile than double reed calls, but are harder to master. Double reeds, however, have a “sweet spot” that gives the most realistic duck sounds to ducks flying overhead. What you need is dependent upon where and when you are hunting, so bear this in mind when choosing your next call.
The material that the calls are made of affects many attributes of the call itself. Acrylic calls are the most durable. They have immense long range capabilities when calling in ducks over large distances. Think “loud and sharp” when thinking of acrylic made calls.
Wooden calls are the hardest to take care of. They are affected by moisture, and should be taken apart after each hunt to fully dry out. I believe wooden calls to be the most effective with wood ducks, however. I guess wood ducks like wood calls. They are the softest and mellowest for up close and personal hunting.
Lastly we have polycarbonate calls. These are incredibly durable also, and will last for many seasons. These fall somewhere between acrylic and wooden calls, which can make them great for multiple species, and areas. Any call you decide that you might want should be tested to see if it is what you need for your particular circumstances as a hunter.
The 4 Best Wood Duck Calls
I have here four wood duck calls that will go the distance, and bring in some “woodies” for any level hunter. I base these picks off of what works, not what looks the nicest, or is the most versatile. A duck call should first, and foremost, bring in ducks. Without further ado, here are four calls that I have used, and they rank high for many hunters. I consider them to be the best calls for wood ducks and although there are other decent choices out there, you definitely can’t go wrong with the ones reviewed below.
Duck Commander Wood Duck Call
This highly durable, single reed call will definitely do the trick. Many hunters I know carry one of these at all times when hunting wood ducks. This a highly rated duck call among hunters. Its single reed design can mimic flying or sitting ducks, and can reach a good distance.
It is made of high impact plastic, so this call will last. Do not let the plastic design fool you, though, as the Duck Commander company tests each and every call before they leave the shop. This is a high quality product that will perform time and time again.
This is not what I would call a beginner call, but with a little practice and a good teacher anyone can pick this up. Once mastered, it is a lethal weapon in itself. Add your shotgun and you will be eating well my friend.
- High impact plastic design
- Mimics multiple sounds of flying and sitting ducks
- Single reed design offers range
- Reasonably priced
- Individually tested
- Not very effective at close range
- Takes practice to master
Primos Classic Wood Duck Call
This beautiful looking duck call is made by one of the most trusted brands in hunting, Primos. Its hardwood design gives it a nice look. Durability is usually called into question with wooden calls, and this one is no different. Taking it apart to tune or dry can be a timely process.
Out of the box it is tuned rather high, so tuning it down lower is recommended. It is a single reed and has an unbelievable range for its wood construction. It can call them in, but is not very easy to make quieter sounds on.
This call is a bargain for the price. It calls flying ducks and sitting ducks to add to its versatility. This call can also be used as a confidence call when hunting other waterfowl. This is a decent call. It is harder to master than the previous Duck Commander call, but definitely deserves a spot on the list of the best wood duck calls for the money.
- Calls flying and sitting ducks
- Hardwood barrel produces good tone
- Great long range call
- Can be used as a confidence call
- Priced right
- Wood cracks
- Tuned a bit too high
- Hard to master
- Not good at quiet, close range calls
Haydels WP05 Wood Duck Pack
This two-in-one wood duck call is a steal for the price. The squealer is used to get their attention, while the whine will finish them off. The price is the same as what you would pay for a single call. This combo pack can mimic nearly every sound the wood duck makes, which makes it a great choice for someone who is on a tight budget.
It is constructed of modern polycarbonate, which means it can handle any abuse that might come its way. This call could stand alone if the hunter using it was a master. No other call that I know of can be used by itself on any given day.
This is lightweight, durable, mimics nearly every wood duck sound, and all at a single call price. Even if this one is not the top pick at the end, I would still strongly consider adding this baby to your arsenal.
- Two calls in one
- Durable polycarbonate construction
- Single call price
- Comes with a squealer call, and a whine call
- One of the best deals for the money
- The squeal is a bit too loud
- Takes a lot of breath to break
- Fails to call if any moisture gets in the tube
Buck Gardner Double Nasty Timber Pack Wood Duck Call
This polycarbonate, double reed call is a great addition to any hunters lanyard. The spit technology allows the call to keep the same quality of sound no matter how full of spit it is. The look of the call is even something to mention. With the sound board, it is a nice piece of equipment, and sure to last.
The double reed construction, along with the sound board makes this call produce the widest range of sounds, from ringing hail calls on the high end, to pure duck on the low end. It has a raspy bottom end, and mid-range feed calls.
This call comes with a mallard and a wood duck call. That is some pretty big bang for the buck. If you are new to the sport and want a good combo without spending a fortune, this is it right here. The reason I included it in this wood duck call article is because the wood duck call in this set realistically reproduces the entire vocabulary of the wood duck.
- Polycarbonate design is super durable
- Spit technology keeps the call working even if full of spit
- Double reed construction, with the versatility of a single reed
- Mallard call included
- Can go from ringing hail calls to pure duck on the low end
- Realistically reproduces entire vocabulary of the wood duck
- The call jams up sometimes in cold weather
My Pick For The Best Wood Duck Call
So, we have seen four wood duck calls that are all capable of bringing in dinner. They all have some great points, and low points. To you I say always have what your situation is in the back of your mind when purchasing calls, or any hunting equipment. What works great for me way up in northern Minnesota, might not work very well in Kansas.
All four of these I would recommend, because all four will do the job. However, if I had to choose one to come with me, and only one, on the hunt, I would have to go with the Duck Commander Wood Duck Call. It is durable, relatively simple to use, has a wide range of calls, and I know this company cares a whole lot about the products they produce. The Buck Gardner Double Nasty almost tied with Duck Commander though. This looks like a great call, but I know Duck Commanders is a great call. Well, there you have it. The question of the best wood duck call has been laid to rest. Happy Hunting.