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In Search of “The Magical Flute”

by Jim James - Owner of Carlson Championship Calls and 1996 World Duck Calling Champion

How many duck calls do you have in your “call drawer”? How many have you tried and then relegated to the “call drawer” because “It just isn’t right” or, “It just doesn’t fit my style of calling”? I know of guys that not only have drawers full of calls but also sacks of calls. Some drag the sacks along every time they venture in to the field. How many guys do you know who insist they have a half-dozen duck calls around their neck while in the blind? They have one for hailing the ducks. They need another for when the ducks get closer. They need that “special call” for the real close-in ducks they don’t want to scare away.

Awe...the endless search for that “magic flute”. The endless search for that one “special” call that fits one’s own seemingly special ingrained calling habits. It’s been this way since the first duck call was invented and, sadly, it will be this way to the end of time.

Fellow waterfowler, I have a News Flash! There is no “magic flute”! There never will be a “magic flute”! No call can operate itself...never has...never will!

I’ve never seen a man take a call out of his pocket and have it magically operate itself. One must blow into the call (hopefully on the correct end) to develop and maintain correct Chamber Pressure. And, he must do something with his hand. More likely than not he’ll have that hand out in front of the insert of the call flapping around applying uncontrolled Back Pressure and thereby randomly increasing and decreasing Chamber Pressure. How about his tongue? How is it configured and located? There’s no telling what it may be doing to contribute to the overall operational equation.

Because man is involved in the calling equation it is imperative that he properly interface not only with the overall design of a call, but also interface with its operation if any degree of success is ever to be achieved. Ironically, it’s because of the very involvement of man that there can never be a “magic flute”. One’s calling habits can be just as ingrained as one’s speech mechanism idiosyncrasies. These speech mechanism idiosyncrasies have most likely developed over many years, even a lifetime. They are usually the result of genetic, cultural or regional influences. Trying to “break” old ingrained calling habits can be just as difficult as trying to “lose” a cultural brogue or regional accent.

Really top-notch calling has always been a much envied aspect of the sport of waterfowling. Good calling is readily recognizable by others out in the field and on the competitive calling circuit. It is indeed an admirable art to want to achieve. Without question it can add a tremendous amount of enjoyment to this sport we all love so dearly. Consequently, it’s no wonder so many guys are constantly searching for that “magic flute”.
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