Shooting Mystery is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How to Blow a Duck Call: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

How to Blow a Duck Call

Duck calls are essential for all duck hunters – you want to lure in waterfowl as quickly as possible.

I remember being taught how to blow a duck call for the first time; I thought it was like magic when a few ducks suddenly appeared in the area I was in!

Of course, it did take a lot of practice. If you’ve tried it yourself, but haven’t found success yet, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve answered your call for help, and I’m here as a guide on how to blow a good duck call.

Today, I outline how you can best do duck calls plus some important additional information below!

What Does a Duck Call Do?

The main purpose of a duck call is to attract ducks in the surrounding area.

This instrument mimics the quacking sound that ducks make, making it easier to make them think they are communicating with other ducks.

The sound makes the duck believe another one of their pack is calling, making it go to wherever the sound is coming from.

From there, the duck is within hunting range for the hunter.

Duck calls are most useful during migration or feeding season, when flocks of ducks are most likely to be found.

What You May Need:

Reeds or whistles. That’s it!

That’s all you’ll need to learn how to blow a duck call! I’ve even tried using my hands, but it’s a bit more difficult.

How to Blow A Duck Call: The Step-By-Step Guide


A basic duck call for duck hunting is easy enough to master. You can practice with the five steps below:

1. Start with the Right Training

Start with a basic quack before you go into other duck call techniques. Learn a basic duck call – a quack – and how to execute it with a whistle!

Activate your diaphragm to get enough air for the duck call.

Once you have the diaphragm down, try saying various words that end with “it”. 

  • Whit and dwit worked well for, but I’ve also tried the word ticka
  • Dugga is an acceptable word substitute for a duck call.

Don’t worry; I, too, was worried about sounding quite funny just saying these words in the middle woods.

Try sounding those reference words out with your diaphragm activated. Do a series of quacks with those words!

Try a couple at first, then add to it. Whit, whit, or ticka, ticka, will work well.

PRO TIP: Think of the song “Three Blind Mice” and sound your quacks to the tune!

2. Pick the Right Tools

A duck caller can have different tools. However, you want to pick out a suitable material for you.

You’ll find reeds or whistles in polycarbonate, acrylic, wood, and high-impact plastic.

I’ve had the most success with polycarbonate and acrylic duck calls, but it also depends on you. All will make different duck sounds that are perfect for a duck call.

It’s a tall order to experiment with all these materials, so you can search up duck calling tips in your local area.

See what other ducks you can lure in with different duck call materials!

And also, you can opt to use a high-quality choke when you go duck hunting.

3. Use A System

It’s time you turn the series of words into a system you can use for duck hunting. Practice your rhythm, cadence, and hitting the right sound.

The duration of a duck call can VARY.

I sometimes do the 1-2-3 note duck call procedure, where the first duck call is the longest.

It gradually grows shorter upon the 2nd and 3rd call. You can call along to a melody.

What matters is that you have a RHYTHM for your calls!

4. Improvise Duck Calls with No Tools

No tools for the duck call? I can teach you how to blow a duck call with your hands:

  1. Put one hand over the other. Pivot the edge of whichever hand is on top, then align the thumbs.
  2. Inhale from your throat before attempting a duck call.
  3. Put your lips over your knuckles and blow hard to make the duck call. There should be enough space for the air to go through, but not too much that the duck call sound escapes.
  4. Move the tips of your fingers slightly. If you get the hang of it, you can do a duck call with all your fingers raised, save for the index finger.

This method took me a lot of practice, so don’t worry if you can’t get it down on the first try.

5. Learn How to Blow Different Kinds of Duck Calls

There are four types of duck calls: a greeting call, comeback call, feeding call, and a lonesome call.

You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the three main types of calls:

  • A greeting call has four to nine notes. Follow the call with some silence. If the greeting call is done right, the ducks will be curious and make their way toward you!
  • Comeback calls speak for themselves. If ducks don’t respond, start this call. Don’t let it run too long – try a short set of quacks first. A duck might not respond to long calls!
  • Feeding calls can be challenging. With enough practice, however, you might lure in a duck or two. Do a two-note sound, a brief pause, then end with another note.

Finally, you want to lure in a duck by being a LONESOME HEN.

Or at least, that’s how your quack will be received. A lonesome call can consist of three to five quacks and vary from note to note.

Nothing gets a duck interested in a call like a hen in need of company!

Some Considerations When You Do Your Duck Call

Some Considerations


A realistic duck call is a way to go.

Most duck-calling techniques copy the hen mallard call. Hen mallards are vocal in the wild, so most calls model their sound after a hen.

A hen mallard duck call won’t just attract hen mallards, but other bird and duck species as well!

I’ve tried this call while dove hunting for the first time to see if they actually work. Next thing I knew, after a while, a few doves flocked around the area!

Hopefully, the way you do your duck call will pique enough interest for different bird species!


Male mallards will have different calls compared to the typical hen quack.

To get the most out of your hunting, learn when to use a comeback, feeding, or lonesome hen call.

Frequently Asked QuestionsFrequently Asked Questions

Can I Use a Duck Call for Purposes Other than Hunting?

Of course! Duck calling isn’t just meant for hunting.

They are meant to attract ducks and other birds for birdwatching, photography, and other recreational activities.

How Often Should I Clean and Maintain My Duck Call?

I personally clean my duck call after every use outdoors.

Proper cleaning maintenance is important to ensure your caller works properly. Otherwise, it may not produce the sound and will not attract any ducks.

If your duck caller is not producing the right sound, you may want to have it replaced.

What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Blowing a Duck Call?

Some mistakes I’ve made is blowing too hard or improper positioning of the mouth and hands (when using my hands).

As a result, the sound was distorted and unnatural, and therefore, didn’t attract any ducks.



I hope I helped you master a duck call!

Seeing a duck around you after trying the duck call is a pretty satisfying feeling! It shows that, somehow, I did it right!

Remember these duck calling tips and research on some additional information and you should be fine!

Practice making sure you get a realistic quack for different ducks.

About the author