By Josh Boyd
While many new waterfowl hunters often find themselves under the impression that success comes as a byproduct of a lanyard full of high-dollar duck calls, this simply could not be further from the truth. While one can certainly hang $1,000 worth of various duck calls from their neck, success can be found just as readily with a couple of 30 dollar calls, and a wealth of enthusiasm.
Successfully calling and working ducks has far more to do with finding a call that you can blow well than it does the name or price tag on a hunter’s call of choice. In fact, there are currently many economically priced duck calls on today’s market that will get the job done in earnest.
The following are 10 budget duck calls that every waterfowl hunter should be familiar with.
Hayes Whisky Barb Wire Series
The Hayes Whisky Barb Wire series of duck calls are extremely versatile and relatively easy to blow. These calls are constructed with an acrylic barrel and a double-reed poly insert. Perhaps the best quality of the Whisky Barb Wire series of calls is that they feature a somewhat quiet, raspy low-end, while also ringing clear as a bell when blown with force.
Echo Poly Timber Call
If you typically hunt flooded timber and are looking for a call that can draw the attention of ducks passing through the treetops, then the Echo Poly Timber Call should be worthy of your consideration. The Echo Poly Timber Call comes in both single and double reed variants, both of which produce warm, coaxing calls that should turn ducks on a dime.
Zink Power Hen 2
The Zink Power Hen 2 is a wonderful call for any waterfowler on a budget. The Power Hen combines the tonal characteristics and versatility of a single reed call, with the simplicity of use associated with calls of a double reed construction. This call is also capable of getting much quieter than one might imagine and is perfect for finishing reluctant birds.
Haydel’s AR-19 Redleg Double Reed
Haydel’s Game Calls is a company that is synonymous with duck hunting, as the company has been producing quality duck calls for more than four decades. The company’s AR-19 Redleg Double Reed carries on this tradition and is an excellent all-around call. The AR-19 Redleg Double Reed is capable of subtle operation when finishing ducks, and can be cranked up to appeal to passing migrators as well.
Buck Gardner Double Nasty Poly
If you prefer a call that features a high level of rasp, then the Buck Gardner Double Nasty is for you. This call retains its rasp at any volume, and is more than capable of reaching out to distant birds. The Double Nasty Poly’s reeds are also guaranteed not to stick when wet, thanks to the use of a Spit-Tech Toneboard.
Hayes Last Rights
The Hayes Last Rights is the ideal choice when you need a little extra range. The Last Rights is a hybrid between a loud timber and open water call, providing ringing notes, while also maintaining a significant amount of character. This single reed call should make the perfect addition when hunting over flooded fields and sloughs.
Zink Nothing But Green Poly
The Zink Nothing But Green Poly duck call serves as the polycarbonate version of Zink’s flagship acrylic call of the same name. The Nothing But Green is of a double-reed construction, and is easy to blow, for both beginners and experienced callers alike. This call also features Zink’s signature No-Stick Tone Channel, which allows it to maintain full functionality, even when wet.
Echo Poly CutDown
If you are looking for a little something different, that provides a distinct sound to diversify your calling from that of others in heavily hunted areas, then the Echo Poly CutDown should do the trick. The Poly CutDown presents loud “barking” quacks and maintains its rasp, no matter the volume at which it is blown.
Duck Commander Jase Robertson Series
The Duck Commander Jase Robertson series duck call can be purchased in both wood and acrylic constructions, with the former producing a mellower tone, while the latter presents a somewhat crisper sound. No matter your choice of material, the Jase Robertson series duck call is among the easiest blowing calls on the market.
Haydel’s DR-85 Deceiver
The DR-85 Deceiver is Haydel’s top-selling call, and for good reason. The DR-85, is a double-reed call that features a floating wedge for personal tuning. This allows hunters to slightly manipulate the call’s tonal characteristics to provide the exact sound they are looking for. The DR-85 Deceiver is also extremely easy to blow and can be purchased for little more than the price of a box of steel-shot.
More Call for Less
In the world of duck hunting, it is all too easy to find oneself tied up in purchasing the latest and greatest in gear, often at an exorbitant price. However, it is not necessary to take out a second mortgage in order to fill a limit of mallards. In many instances, a $40 duck call will perform just as well as a $150 call, in the hands of a dedicated hunter. After all, it is highly unlikely that a duck can tell the difference from 100 feet in the air.