Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs
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|I’ve known champion callers, who could make all the sounds ever needed to successfully call ducks, sound like rank amateurs in the blind. What they possessed in operational skills they lacked dearly in field savvy. It sometimes takes years of quality field time to become proficient at what most refer to as, "Reading the birds." Even then I have found that the learning curve in this "art" can be drastically different dependent upon the waterfowl hunter's calling abilities. |
One waterfowler may have many years of field experience but has been doing nothing more than tootin’ on a junk call. Consequently, his idea of what the ducks do and how they react to calling is dramatically different than that of the waterfowl hunter with the same amount of field savvy, a functional call, plus many more operational skills.
The greater one’s operational skills with the call and the more savvy he has in the field the more the tendency he has to use louder calls and do more aggressive and demanding calling. Generally, these guys will have louder calls, will call more often and call with much more confidence. And, more often than not, they’ll be more successful. Others see the results as the ducks work the calling and this only adds fuel to the fire. They see the ducks work and hear the loud calling. They rationalize in their minds that the loud calling is the answer. First thing Monday morning they pull out their catalogs or hit their favorite sporting goods store looking for a louder call.
Just recently I experienced something similar. Three other accomplished callers and myself were hunting a small marsh pothole on an extremely large public area. Another party had set up within a couple hundred yards. We called loud and aggressively, as we have always done, and in short time worked in many flocks of ducks. Some were easier than others. Some we really hard to scream at, and hammer with demanding aggressive comebacks as they worked out and over the other party of hunters. Shortly before noon we had shot our limit of greenheads, picked up our decoys, and headed back to the ramp. I don’t remember but hearing only a few shots from the other party’s boat. That night we ran into one of the hunters from the other party. He commented on how we "had the spot" and that "the ducks really wanted that spot bad." I explained that it wasn’t the spot but the calling that led to our success. I asked him if he saw the ducks we had to scream at to turn. He acknowledged the calling by saying, "Yep...that was really impressive to watch."
The following day the story repeated itself as we once again shot our limit while they watched and pass shot a couple ducks. After picking up the decoys we motored out of the pothole. Upon exiting our pothole we were surprised to see that the other party had picked up their decoys and were waiting to pull into the spot we had just exited. Shortly another boat pulled up. We later learned that the two boats belonged to the same group of hunters and they had been communicating via two-way radio.
We motored across a small expanse of water where we cleaned our ducks on an island. The entire time we were picking and cleaning our ducks we watched as flock after flock of ducks passed over the pothole. The entire time the hunters were screaming with loud calls but the sounds they were creating were far from duck-like. As a result, the entire time we watched they managed one long pass shot at a single hen mallard. Obviously they took what I had said the night before to heart. It had to be the loud calling, and lots of it, and if that’s what it was...then by-golly we can do it, too!
While volume is important and can be a tremendous asset one should not put the cart in front of the horse. Before investing in a loud volume call it would pay dividends to also invest in some form of meaningful, make-sense instruction. Preferably instruction geared towards the call you currently have, or are about to purchase, in order to maximize the call’s potential. Meaningful instructional material geared towards one make or brand of call may or may not work with other makes or brands.
Once again, experience has taught me that many a blind alley can be avoided by going at learning proper call operation like a job. Making the firm commitment to want to learn, getting a functional and properly designed call and related instruction can pay huge benefits in the field. Don’t be too concerned with excessive volume until you first learn to play the instrument (call). Once you have it mastered you’ll see amazing results and others will be watching you pull those birds down from the sky.
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