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.


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Fishing Report from TPWD (Apr. 17)

GOOD. Water slightly stained; 64 degrees; 1.09 feet below pool. The water levels came up 3 feet after the recent rains, and the flood gates are open with more water coming down the river. Most of the creeks are muddy and stained. Bass are fair from the flooded bank out to 5 feet with frogs, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits. The mid range fish are hit-and-miss with Carolina rigs, Texas rigs and shallow running crankbaits. The deeper fish have gotten up off the bottom and they are swimming around, just hard to catch at this time due to the rising water. Navigate with caution watching for floating timber. Also with water being this high, lots of the boat lane buoys are almost underwater. More rain in the weekend forecast. Report by Stephen Johnston, Johnston Fishing.

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