Cut-Down Duck Calls: What Makes Them Different?

What is a cut-down duck call

How are cut-down calls different than other calls

Our picks for best cut-down duck calls

How do you blow a cut-down duck call

When to use a cut-down duck call

RNT Mondo Cut-Down duck call
RNT Mondo cut-down duck call – my primary duck call

A few years ago, I was in the market for a new duck call. I had tried many throughout my life, but never found one I really loved. During that year, I hunted alongside a party of hunters on a piece of public ground and noticed their calls sounded louder and “duckier” than mine. Not to mention they were killing more ducks than I was. Sure enough, they were all blowing a cut-down style call. Also, I noticed guides around my area had started using cut-downs, so I decided to do some research.


What is a Cut-Down Duck Call?

Cut-down duck calls are a type of call used by hunters to create loud and realistic sounds that imitate a mallard hen. Cut-downs get their name from hunters cutting their standard calls to create a more loud, raspy, and forgiving sound.

Today, many guides and hunters use cut-downs in all sorts of circumstances. Also, many major call manufactures now produce a cut-down style call due to their gain in popularity among hunters. There are many styles and features on this type of call, but they all seem to produce the sought after sound of a loud mallard hen.

How are Cut-Down Calls Different than Other Calls?


The primary difference between a cut-down and other types of calls is the structure. The tone board has been cut back and the bore (the hole through the insert) has been widened. Most hunters can identify them by their looks in addition to their sound. They have a distinct appearance due to the barrel being longer (typically), and less of the insert being visible when compared to traditional calls.



The sounds a hunter makes on a cut-down are different than the sounds of traditional duck calls. The table below emphasizes the differences:

Cut-Down Duck CallTraditional Duck Calls
Mid to High volumeLow to Mid volume
High volume feeding chuckleMid volume feeding chuckle
Short soundsShort or long sounds
Clean soundsClean or whining sounds

Best Cut-down Duck Calls

My primary cut-down call is the RNT Mondo. You can check out pricing and reviews on Amazon by clicking the image below:

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How Do You Blow a Cut-Down Duck Call?

Back Pressure:

Hunters blow a cut-down by creating back pressure from their diaphragm and abdomen, then blowing their pressurized air in short sequences. Due to the wide bore, hunters must create their own back pressure. John Stephens from Rich-N-Tone Duck Calls explains in the video below.


The best way to learn how to blow this style of call is to, you guessed it – to practice. Learning to blow a cut-down can be frustrating, but do not get discouraged. They require a different approach to calling that takes time to master. Once you feel comfortable, be sure to practice switching back and forth between your other calls. Switching between the two styles can be difficult if you are not prepared to adjust accordingly.

Types of duck calls: charts, explanations, and tactics


When to Use a Cut-Down Duck Call

Cut-Down Calls on Public Land:

The most common use of cut-downs is on public land. Using this style of call on public land gives hunters an advantage due to its loud and raspy sound. I have found that when I am using my cut-down and parties around me are not, I have more consistent looks from ducks and tend to be more successful than other parties. The ability to operate this style of call on public land has become more popular, so it is not uncommon for the entire pool to be barking at the same ducks.

Hunting Traffic Ducks with a Cut-Down Call:

An instance where using a cut-down is effective is when you are hunting traffic ducks. Traffic ducks are ducks that are flying over your location, but are not necessarily headed to your spread. Creating loud and raspy sounds to get the ducks’ attention and make them look twice at your spread can be extremely effective.

In many instances, your decoys and motion decoys are not enough to get a group of traffic ducks to show interest in your spread. Therefore, having a cut-down call available to create extra attention is key to bagging traffic ducks.

Hunting Unpressured Ducks with a Cut-Down Call:

One particular instance where a cut-down is less effective is when you are hunting ducks that are not pressured. When hunting ducks that are not pressured, creating extra attention can oftentimes be the worst choice possible. Unpressured ducks are comfortable where they are at, so creating loud and raspy sounds can make ducks uneasy about finishing in your decoys. I have found that sticking with your standard double-reed or single-reed call is best when hunting unpressured ducks.

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