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Meaningful instruction when it comes to the duck call is rare. The most common forms are audio tapes, CD’s and video tapes. In these media forms the primary means of instruction still remains the host producing sounds and the student, once again, being left to do his best to duplicate or mimic the sounds he hears. The majority of the video library that exists today only further confuses the student by trying to entertain him with wondrous footage of hunting and shooting ducks. Great to watch and entertaining but somewhat limited in their ability to impart meaningful instruction in regards proper call operation.

The complicated world of Forward Pressure, Back Pressure and the Size of the Mouth Cavity and how they interface with Chamber Pressure and Chamber Dimension is not easily conveyed in an entertainment-like format. Understanding how the same Four Elements of the Speech Mechanism are used to both speak and operate a functional call can go a long way in turning on the preverbal light in a student’s mind. Understanding not only what “Ring” is, but also understanding what causes “Ring” to occur in a call can only further reinforce that sought after but often times elusive sound. No matter what the subject it can be said that knowledge is a wonderful thing...but only if passed along! It can likewise be said that stupidity is often terminal, while ignorance can be cured with knowledge.

The last component a student must have is a functional and properly designed call. Without such an instrument, once again, the other components become meaningless. A functional call is one that is capable of producing the sounds demanded by the instructional material the student chooses. Because of the lack of manufacturing standards not all calls are functional. With musical instruments there are certain worldwide standards that make a trumpet a trumpet, a tuba a tuba and a violin a violin regardless of where it’s manufactured. With duck calls there are no such standards and consequently they vary tremendously not only from brand to brand but often from call to call of the same brand. One will never learn to play any musical instrument if he’s practicing on an inferior instrument or even the wrong instrument altogether.

A properly designed call must not only be functional as just defined, but also be stable and consistent in its operational characteristics; from the high-end Ringing sounds down to the softest of sounds. For a call to be useful as a learning tool it must operate the same way each and every time the same operational controls are applied. Calls that are traditionally “all over the place” only cause the student hours of frustration as he tries and tries to produce sounds in a somewhat consistent manner. He’ll never be able to answer the age-old question, “Is it me or is it the call?”

No, there is no “magic flute”! There are many calls out in the marketplace and many will, on a given day, call a few ducks. But isn’t it odd that the better callers seem to get the majority of ducks, especially on those days when the ducks seem really stale and almost impossible to call. What isn’t odd is that a very select few have the necessary components of design, function, stability and consistency to be judged winners in world sanctioned calling events. While most average duck hunters could care less about calling contests it should be noted that just as in other sports serious competition brings about demands for the best in both equipment and performance. There’s no reason why the average duck hunter wanting to improve his calling should not be the beneficiary of these demands and advancements in both equipment and operational technique.

Once again, there isn’t a “magic flute”! My best advice is to seek out a proven call that has a proven track record. Seek out meaningful instruction that will allow you the chance to become as good as you possibly can, regardless of your God-given level of talent. Invest in instruction that will allow you to get out of your call all that was designed into it. And lastly, be prepared to make that all important personal commitment to want to become a top-notch call operator. Understand and accept the fact that whatever you have been doing in the past just hasn’t been getting the job done. For if it had, you’d not be searching for that mythical “magical flute”.
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