Tune up

"When choosing a hand made duck call, take the time to visit the call maker and allow them to tune the call specifically for you," advises Greg Brinkley.

Shut your bill

"The fact is that we all like to call and feel like we are the ones responsible for bringing those birds in," says Rod Haydel of Haydel's Game Calls. "Kind of builds one's confidence. But sometimes the best call is not to call at all. Keep your calls sounding natural sounding by sticking with the basics. Fancy calling is best left on the stage." Todd Heidelbauer of Heidelbauer Wildfowl Calls agrees. "People try to do too much. If you can only do one call, make it a series of six or seven quacks, and just change their length and volume."

Read the ducks

Greg Hood of Southern Game Calls believes that learning to read a duck's behavior is the number one priority. "People focus on blowing so much that they ignore the big picture. Don't worry about blowing until you know what the ducks want to hear. Do they need a slow greeting? An excited greeting? It's more important to control the birds with calling than to stick with a rigid calling routine that doesn't work." Hood also wants new callers and hunters to realize there's a great deal of satisfaction to be had from controlling the birds, not just in the number harvested. "It's not just about numbers, it's about skill and satisfaction in calling well," he says.