Duck Whistle: Why Every Duck Hunter Should Own One

If you have ever hunted next to or scouted nearby a waterfowl refuge, the infamous sound of a mallard hen on the water has left your ears ringing for days. Her quacks are loud, raspy, and carry a long distance. But if you listen closely enough, you can hear other ducks feeding and communicating with one another as well. More specifically, you can hear soft whistles coming from teal, pintail, widgeon, and mallard drakes. These species of ducks will respond to traditional duck calls, but they can be more closely imitated with a duck whistle. Learning to blow a duck whistle creates realism in your spread and increases your chances of having a successful hunt, which is why every hunter should have one on their lanyard.

Easy to operate

Unlike traditional duck calls, duck whistles do not take years of practice to master or sound realistic. My guess is that if you devote your drive to and from work to practicing, you can be making realistic whistles within a week. Also, duck whistles do not require much lung capacity. Therefore, the sounds will be created by maneuvering your tongue and releasing short breaths of air into the call. When practicing, focus on creating the most realistic sounds possible. If you are unsure how to create the different whistles ducks make, check out the video below.

Compliment to traditional calls

Just because you learn to blow a duck whistle and it proves effective for you does not mean you should forget your single-reed and double-reed calls. Instead, pairing the two together can fool even the most wary ducks. If you find yourself hunting among others and you are maybe not the best caller in the group, but you sound realistic on a whistle, then you should time your whistles alongside the other hunters’ calling. By doing this, you create a natural sound and appearance to circling ducks. I have found that when other hunters in my group are calling, creating the sound of a mallard drake on my whistle works stellar.

Using a duck whistle for pintail

Anyone who has worked a group of pintails knows how challenging they are to decoy. Oftentimes, it seems like traditional duck calls just aren’t quite enough to get them to finish at your feet. However, when called at with a duck whistle, they seem to be much more responsive and willing to work your spread. Maybe it is because they feel more comfortable around other ducks the same species as them, but no hunter really knows why this is. Mastering the pintail whistle can be challenging for some hunters who are beginners. But practicing and being able to imitate them will pay off the next time they circle your decoys.


Using a duck whistle for mallard drakes

You are half asleep in your blind on a slow day, and you startled by the notorious sound of a mallard drake whistle overhead. We have all been there, and when we hear this sound we know exactly what it is. Unlike a mallard hen who makes loud, raspy, bark-like quacks, mallard drakes tend to make more of a deep whistling noise, especially while circling your decoy spread. Hunters can imitate this noise on most duck whistles, and it is an easy sound to learn. It seems like every season I call in several single mallard drakes by only using a duck whistle. Overall, the whistle of a mallard drake has proven to be the most productive sound I can create on a duck whistle for many years.

Effective on pressured ducks

If you are looking to change your approach because the birds you are hunting are pressured, adding a duck whistle to your lanyard is a great start. Many hunters do not utilize this type of call, so you can certainly set yourself apart and be different than other parties if you blow one. Also, the sounds produced on this type of call tend to be softer and not as aggressive as single-reed and double-reed calls. Therefore, pressured ducks will be more likely to respond because they are not being called at with a loud and aggressive call.

Many species of ducks whistle

Many species of ducks across North America communicate exclusively by whistling to one another. On the other hand, species like mallards and gadwall communicate primarily by traditional quacks. However, I have observed that most ducks will respond to a duck whistle, regardless if that is their main source of communication. By learning to blow a duck whistle effectively, you are opening yourself up to being able to call all species of ducks, just in a different way than you may be used to.

Ducks that whistle in North America

  • Pintail
  • Widgeon
  • Teal
  • Mallard drake
  • Black Duck
  • Wood Duck

Most popular duck whistles

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