Types of Duck Calls: Charts, Explanations, and Tactics

Type of duck callDifficultyVolumeRaspiness Range
Single-reed MediumMedium-HighLow-MediumMedium-Long
Cut-downHighHigh HighMedium-Long

Staring over a glass counter, trying to pick and choose which duck call to blow can be an overwhelming process. Making things more interesting, the guy behind the counter pulls one out and makes you envious of his calling abilities. I’ve been in this situation many times, and it has led me to choosing the wrong call on two occasions. If I had known before hand what I was looking for, I believe I would have made a better decision and ultimately made a purchase that was suited for me.

This article compares the three most common types of duck calls, how they are structured, and when to use them. By doing research before you buy a call, you will eliminate your chances of going home with something that doesn’t fit your needs.


Single-Reed Duck Calls

Type of duck callDifficultyVolumeRaspinessRange

Structure of a single-reed duck call

A single-reed duck call has one reed located on the tone board. When people picture a duck call, a single-reed is what they are likely imagining. The barrel length and bore width varies across this style of call, which makes each one unique.

When you should use a single-reed duck call

Hunters use a single-reed duck call when hunting open water, timber, and even for competition calling purposes. This type of call is more challenging to blow, which is why you typically see experienced hunters blowing them. When hunters want to produce a wide-variety of sounds, they blow a single-reed duck call.

Duck Migration Maps

Most popular single-reed duck calls

  • 737 Chief
  • RNT Daisy Cutter
  • Echo Calls Pure Meat
  • J.J. Lares Magnum Hen Call

Double-Reed Duck Calls

Type of duck callDifficultyVolumeRaspinessRange

Structure of a double-reed duck call

A double-reed duck call gets its name from having two reeds located on the tone board. The front reed is slightly shorter than the back reed, which makes them more forgiving and harder to overblow. The outward appearance of a double-reed is often similar to a single-reed, but they become less comparable when looking inside.

When you should use a double-reed duck call

Double-reed duck calls are effective when hunting any type of puddle ducks. Additionally, this style of call is great for beginners that are learning the art of calling ducks in. That said, many experienced hunters still keep their double-reed close because they are dependable and easy to operate.

Most popular double-reed duck calls

  • Echo Meat Hanger
  • RNT Alpha 2
  • Duck Lander Conartist
  • Power Calls Impulse AA

Sign up to have migration updates and duck hunting articles delivered directly to your inbox

They're circling now…
Take 'em! Success

Cut-Down Duck Calls

Type of duck callDifficultyVolumeRaspinessRange

Structure of a cut-down duck call

A cut-down duck call has a longer barrel, wider bore, and the insert is less visible when compared to single-reed and double-reed duck calls. However, the outer appearance is not the only difference when doing a comparison. On the inside, the reed is typically longer and the tone board has been “cut back” to produce a more duck-like sound.


When you should use a cut-down duck call

Cut-down duck calls have become popular among hunters in all types of situations. In the beginning, they were used primarily by public land hunters in the timber. Nowadays, most hunters have a cut-down on their lanyard regardless of where they are hunting. These calls are not the easiest to blow. They take many hours of practice and instruction to blow effectively.

Most popular cut-down duck calls

  • RNT Mondo
  • Power Calls Ignition
  • Rolling Thunder Brute
  • Kirk McCullough Basic

Calling a group of ducks into the decoys is an intense, satisfying, and exciting experience. Not to mention your hunting buddies will appreciate you and maybe even cook you breakfast if you get them close enough. That said, it all starts with choosing the right duck call for your situation. By no means am I an expert caller, but I do believe I have chosen the right setup for my hunting style, which leads to more ducks in hand.

Find the Ducks!

Sign up to have migration updates and duck hunting articles delivered directly to your inbox

They're circling now…
Take 'em! Success

Duck-Tracker is a member of Amazon associates and Bass Pro Affiliate Program. In English, this means that if you end up purchasing a product we mention in one of our articles, we might be eligible to earn a small commission at no extra charge to you. This revenue helps us keep the site up and running. Thanks for your support!