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 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


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 73

Monday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 66


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 76

Tuesday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 65


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 77

Wednesday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 66


Chance Rain Showers

Hi: 77

Thursday Night

Chance Rain Showers

Lo: 59

Toledo Bend Lake Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 12/5: 167.95 (-4.05)

Toledo Bend Lake

Fishing Report from TPWD (Nov. 30)

GOOD. Water stained; 59 degrees; 4.25 feet low. GOOD. The water level is 167.7 with no generators running. Water temperature at the Dam is 59 degrees. The back feeder creeks are stained and muddy with lots of Fall leaves floating on the surface, and the main lake remains clear. We were blessed with some rain this week 2-3 inches. Not much has changed on the pattern this week. Chatter baits are still producing in 3/8 to 3/4 ounce white, chartreuse, watermelon pepper, and red/black skirts. To cover a lot of water, use a square bill crank bait or a flat side crank bait and smaller rattle traps from 0-8 feet in shad and perch imitation colors and the Rayburn red traps are still working. For deeper Bass, cast a Carolina rig with a worm or lizard. Jigging spoons are still producing quality bass on 1/2 to 3/4 ounce (silver with a white or yellow accent tail feather or a deep diving crank bait in citrus shad and Tennessee shad colors). The jig and pig bite has been strong. Cast your jig to long tapering points that drop off into deep water, the best colors are black and blue, PB&J football jigs 3/8 - 3/4 ounce with a 3-inch matching color craw trailer, and a green pumpkin jig with a chunk style trailer. The Crappie bite is still good in 12-20 feet on the edge of the river channels using 1/16- and 3/32-ounce Wager Baits, #46 Bluegrass, #3 Monkey Milk, #09 Electric Chicken, #10 Black and Chartreuse and small minnows depending on the cloud cover and cooling night temperatures. Now that the lake is at a Winter drawdown, it's prime time to go out scouting for new areas for Springtime fishing. Look for areas like feeder creeks, ditches, man-made structures, creek bends and undercuts, etc. Reminder: Keep and extra set of clothes in a dry bag stowed away on your vessel just in case you get caught in the rain, heavy winds, etc. Hypothermia happens quickly. Good luck and keep casting forward! Report from Master Captain Steve “Scooby” Stubbe, Mudfish Adventures LLC, Orv

More Fishing Reports