Gearing Up: Making the Call

These reeds will blow the right notes all season.

Field & Stream Online Editors

** 1 Big Guy's Best**
Mike Keller, the 1985 World Duck Calling Champion, knows that not everyone can blow a single-reed call, so he made the Big Guy's Best Double. With its two reeds and short barrel, the BGB Double is easy to blow, even for non¿¿¿world champs. Available with a wooden barrel and polycarbonate insert or in pricey but classy all-acrylic. $50¿¿¿$130; 816-734-5749; www.bigguysbest.com

2 Rich-N-Tone Hunter
Guides around Stuttgart, Arkansas, swear by the Rich-N-Tone Hunter model, a cocobolo- or bocote-wood-barreled call with a polymer insert, when they need every quack to be right on key. Like all RNTs, the Hunter blows loud, soft, or raspy. This call has customized good looks at a below-custom cost. $15; 888-768-2255; www.rntcalls.com

** 3 Haydel's Ultimate Duck Kit**
At crunch time, when the folks at home are expecting a duck dinner but the bag is empty, I start blowing Haydel's DR-85. How two pieces of clear plastic can sound so much like a raspy hen remains a mystery, but the DR-85 is a call anyone can use. New for this year, it comes packaged in the "Ultimate Duck Kit," which includes a lanyard and the MP-90 whistle for making the dweeks of mallard drakes, the trills of pintails, and the whistles of teal and widgeon. $35; 318-746-3586; www.haydels.com

**4 Knight & Hale Fowl Mouth T-Lock **
The soft plop of your reed and insert falling irretrievably into the water is one of the worst sounds you can hear. It won't happen with Knight & Hale's T-Lock. The barrel and insert are threaded, screwing together to seal tightly. The "bone" reed tapers in the middle, reducing the chance that your call will stick. It comes in single- and double-reed versions; there's a goose call as well. $130; 800-500-9357; www.knight-hale.com

** 5 Remington Wingmaster Flextone Double Reed Mallard**
When I have to sing softly during a late-season hunt, I reach for the Flextone double-reed model, which makes ducky noises with a minimum of air. It's easy to turn the volume way down with this call and still sound right. $26; 877-993-4868; www.wileyduck.com; www.remington.com