The average duck call is basically a reed instrument that is carefully assembled and designed to produce the proper tone every time. Of course, dedicated hunters have always expected something more than average from their calls, and this is why the artistically designed instruments are much more than just another piece of hunting gear.
Expertly Crafted Sounds
A good duck call is not a generic item that is made without quality control. Experts know that even the smallest changes affect the sound. The most sensitive part of the call is typically the reed, and the tones it produces change depending on its length and thickness. The sounds possible from the calls also rely on whether the model has a single, double, or triple reed.
The barrel also impacts the tone. The sound emitted depends on the barrel's thickness and the type of material used to form the call. Wood is the most common material for the barrel and a classic choice, but some models are crafted from acrylic, plastic, and ivory, as well as rubber, metal, or antlers.
Distinctive Hunting History
Duck hunters were known to use their voices and homemade calls as early as the 1600s. Before the availability of commercial models, it was not uncommon for young ducks to be captured and their sounds used to lure in other ducks. The first patent for a commercial duck call was given in 1870 to Elam Fisher, whose most famous model was the Tongue Pincher Duck Call.
Adaptions to the original design began as soon as 1900 and they included changes to both the design as well as the material. Many calls were soon available in plastic, rubber, and wood. Mass-production improvements and a law prohibiting the use of live animals increased the popularity of the call and helped to draw attention to the gear.
Additional improvements took place over the 20th century. Calls became more ornate and decorative, the first double and triple reeds appeared on the market, and the models that are known as the Arkansas style and the Louisiana style were the most commonly known versions.
In 1936, the first World Championship Duck Calling Contest took place in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and continues as an annual event today. The first winner chose to use his voice rather than a call and received a $6.60 hunting jacket as his prize. Only one other winner in the nearly 100-year history of the championship used their voice instead of a call.
Valuable Collectors' Item
Duck calls are not just hunting gear. Many hunters pass them down for generations and collect vintage models and desirable pieces for display. Some basic vintage duck calls are available to collectors for as little as $15 each and can be found at auctions and through dealers. The most intricately carved or rare models sell for $10,000 or more.
Many collectors choose a category for their collections. Some prefer to seek out specific brands, models made during a certain era, or those sold within a specific region. Other collectors want only single or double reeds or those crafted from wood or plastic. The variety and lengthy history of duck calls make it easy for anyone to shape their collection in a manner that appeals to them.
Duck calls are a great gift item and a smart investment for any hunter. A well-crafted call is something that is kept at the hunter's side for a lifetime. At Over Under Clothing, our duck calls take advantage of the best of classic and modern designs for an elite version that every hunter will appreciate. Visit our website to learn more.