Duck talking

There are four duck calls that a duck hunter should know how to blow—the basic quack, greeting call, feed call, and the hail call.

As easy as it sounds, some callers never master a basic quack. They wonder why they have trouble getting the ducks to come into their spread. Ducks Unlimited queried guide Todd Heidelbauer about the quack.

“One of the first things my grandfather, (Frank Heidlebauer) taught me was to end my quacks. People use ‘qua, qua, qua’ when there needs to be a clean, crisp, ‘quack’ instead. Stick to the basics and end your quacks.”

Rod Haydel says the greeting should be a series of five to seven notes in descending order at a steady even rhythm … Kanc, Kanc, Kanc, Kanc.

“The feeding call has been described as ‘tikkitukkatikka’, raising and lowering the volume slightly,” said three-time world champion caller Mike McLemore.

The hail or highball call is an overused call in the minds of the top guides. Jim Ott of P.S. Olt Company says when you do use it, blow high, hard and loud.

Justin Beckendorf of the Double J.J. Outfitters was Texas State Champion in 2013 and placed as high as third in the World in duck calling.

“In the Mallard, you have three basic calls—the hail call, the single quack, and your feeding call. Being good at the calls is all about practice. Duck calling is not a natural ability. Anyone can do it, but to be good you have to practice.”

Everybody is going to sound a little different on duck calls. It depends on how hard you are going to blow the call. Find the call that works well for you.

Beckendorf uses two calls, a mallard call and a whistle. “Your pintail and teal drakes whistle.

“When you see the birds way off in the distance you always want to start off with the hail call which will be a loud sequence of calls. As they come in and get closer, you drop your volume. That’s when you will do some of the feeding calls.

If the birds are coming in you don’t want to do another hail call which is real loud and scare them off. “The biggest mistakes I see people make is over calling, and not knowing when to use a specific call.

Beckendorf described the first section of the duck season split as okay, but it was a little slow at times. They have just trickled in this year, instead of just showing up. “It was a little warm up north and they had little snow fall up in the plains. The ducks are taking a little longer to get down here. They will get here eventually; it’s just a matter of time and some colder weather.”

Second season of the split is now open and runs until the Jan. 31.


Tell us what you think!

Toledo Bend Real Estate

Toledo Bend Lake Email Updates


Visit our Toledo Bend Lake Sponsors!

Toledo Bend Lake on Social Media


Toledo Bend Lake Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.


Toledo Bend Lake Weather Forecast


Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 88

Monday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 72


Partly Sunny

Hi: 89

Tuesday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 71


Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 88

Wednesday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 73


Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 83

Thursday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 75

Toledo Bend Lake Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 6/27: 170.08 (-1.92)

Toledo Bend Lake

Fishing Report from TPWD (Jun. 22)

FAIR. Water stained; 78-80 degrees; 1.69 feet low. Fair. The water level is 170.4 with both generators running from 1-7:00 p.m. Water temperature at the dam is 78 degrees with surface temperature around 80. The back feeder creeks are stained, and the mainlake is clear with no rain again this week. Bass are in the full summer patterns heading to river bends and points. Early in the mornings as the sun comes up use topwater baits like Pop Rs, buzz baits, popping frogs, and spooks. Mid-morning as the fish go deeper transition to 8-12 inch ribbon tail worms and crankbaits in 12-20 feet of water. You can cast 8-12 inch dark colored worms to entice a bigger bass to bite on a Texas rig or Carolina rig. With the full moon this week, some fishermen are catching bass at night with the cooler temperatures. Crappie, bream and yellow bass are in the brush piles and lay downs in 15-25 feet of water. Crappie are biting best on crappie jigs on T-Bend’s favorite colors like monkey milk, blue ice, T-shad, and live minnows. Catfish are off in the channels and breaks. The shallow bluegill bite has been spotty as the water is getting hotter. Summer is here with air temperatures hitting the 100-103 degrees, so don’t forget to wear your sun protection and light clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. When on the water stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other potassium-packed electrolyte sports drinks, so that you don’t experience heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Remember to always keep your life jacket on while on the water and don’t forget to fasten your engine kill switch lanyard to your person when operating a motorized vessel on the water. Play it safe on the water, always inform your loved ones or a friend of your expected return time to port or home. Good luck and tight lines! Report from Captain Steve (Scooby) Stubbe, Mudfish Adventures LLC, Mudfish Rod Shop, Kayak and Fishing Guide Service

More Fishing Reports