Waterfowlers seeking to improve their calling skills would be wise to receive instruction from accomplished callers, not necessarily the guy next door. A number of learning tools are on the market, with three of the most recent additions being Rich-N-Tone's calling package The Right Stuff. Hosts Butch Richenback and John Stephens, both former world champions, lead you step-by-step. Available on CD or cassette tape by calling 888-RNTCALL. On the video side of the ledger, Will Primos and staff have developed The Truth 1 -Incoming-Ducks & Geese. Primos can be reached at 601-366-1288. And finally, Louisiana call maker Shane Roten is offering the video Fowl Language. Call 318-377-8169 for details.
Call selection, practice are key components
Over the years, Charles Petty, a Georgia native, has won just about everything there is to win in the world of competitive calling, except the finals in Stuttgart. He is now also involved in a northeastern Arkansas waterfowl guiding operation. At age 51, Petty is the voice of experience.
"People should not be intimidated when they are learning how to blow a duck call, because they are not going to learn, not going to get better, if they don't get that call out and practice," Petty says. "One of the most important things is getting a call capable of making the right sounds. If you don't have a good call, you are going to have a lot of difficulty."
"Get a call that you feel good about, that you can have confidence in," Petty adds. "Different people like different kinds of calls. But, the more you practice with that call, and the more time you put into it, the better off you are going to be. And that goes for people who are just starting out, and those who have been calling for years."
Help from Haydel
Brand new to the market is "Waterfowl Workshop," in CD and cassette versions, offering personalized instruction from Rod and Eli Haydel, who produce the popular Haydel's Game Calls line. For details, call 318-746-3586, or check out the company's Web site at www.haydels.com.
Team up for better calling
If melding sounds to create a convincing medley is one of the keys here, so may be the level of duck-calling proficiency. Two accomplished callers will most definitely have more impact than one, and so, too, may two callers of average skill. A wide variation in talent, though, may cause problems, according to at least one other highly regarded caller.
"I think it's better to have a team in the blind where both callers are of the same caliber," says 1985 world duck-calling champ Mike "Big Guy" Keller of Kansas City, Missouri. "It's easier to complement each other that way. If one caller is much better than the other one, the guy who's not as good may get intimidated and not know what to do." Learning what your partner is capable of doing, and then making the most of your combined skills, takes time and patience. The benefit of being able to simulate an entire flock of ducks is well worth the investment.
"Two accomplished callers in the blind are definitely an advantage," Keller says, "but if you don't hunt together all the time, you probably aren't in sync. The more you hunt with someone, the more you are going to get in sync."