Jeff Wallis hunts along the Colorado River near his hometown of Yuma, Arizona, and makes and sells his own call lanyards. The company moniker, Widgnwhackers Custom Made Lanyards, is a tribute to his favorite quarry. Wallis often sets up specifically for wigeon, and over the years, he’s learned a thing or two about calling these quirky ducks.
“The predominant sound you hear from wigeon is the wha-wee-wee whistle made by the drakes,” Wallis says. “Occasionally, you’ll also hear a real nasally quack from the hens. There are certain days when they’re really vocal, and others when they aren’t.”
Wallis prefers to use the Sauvie Island Wigeon Whistle, a handmade call that can be purchased on his website (widgnwhackers.com). “I use air from the diaphragm with this call,” Wallis says. “It’s not a puff from the cheeks, and it takes some practice. But it really mimics drake sounds.”
Wallis believes wigeon, especially in the southern portion of the Pacific Flyway, are a little harder to call than mallards. He usually calls sparingly, even when flocks seem to be responding to his calls. “If I’m talking to them and they’re talking back, I just call from time to time,” he says. “But if they start to flare or climb out, I back off and let the decoys do the work. I usually set my wigeon decoys in small family groups along with coot decoys, and I mix in a few gadwall decoys here and there as well.”