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A Quick Solution for Cleaning Your Duck Call in the Field

Buddy, can you spare a buck?
  • photo by James Overstreet
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  • Take a dollar bill and gently pull it under the reed.
  • The primary culprits of call grime may be sugar-based foods or drinks.
  • You have to treat the reed with the utmost care.

"Simply take a dollar bill and gently pull it under the reed," Haydel says.

"This will usually clean the call of food particles well enough to allow you to continue using the call. When you get home, use dental floss to get in there and clean it out more thoroughly." And if you want your call to really sound good, use a $100 bill while cleaning it.

"People don't think about all the particles that can get caught in a duck call," Harlan says. "If you are in the blind eating, or drinking coffee or soft drinks, those things can all leave a buildup on the call's reed. And that can alter the sound of the call or make it stick and cause it to lock up."

The primary culprits may be sugar-based foods or drinks. These products can be sticky to begin with. Mix them with healthy doses of saliva and you've got the equivalent of syrup, or paste, coating the reeds and other components of your call. It does not take much of a buildup to cause the reeds to stick, which negatively impacts the sound.

"After you rinse your call, take a piece of dental floss and insert it from the front end and pull it all the way back, between and under the reeds," says game call maker Eli Haydel of Bossier City, Louisiana. "If you hunt a lot, clean your call regularly during the course of the season."

If call cleanliness is mandatory, attention also should be paid to the condition of your call's reed or reeds-depending on what type of call you use, single- or double-reed.

"One of the biggest problems people have with duck calls is that they open it up to see how it's made, and then they take the tip of the reed with their finger-pulling the reed straight up, sometimes to where it lies on the top of the stopper-and snap it real hard," Harlan says.


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