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Premium Duck Calls: Are They Worth It?

As waterfowl enthusiasts, we all know how expensive it can be just to go out and kill a few mallards. You’ve got your waders, jacket, gun, decoys, dog, etc.… the list goes on and on. So, should you spend that extra money on a premium duck call, or should you go with the cheapest one you can find? Will spending the extra money on that premium call really make a difference in the amount of ducks you’ll be able to work down into shooting range? If these are some of the questions running through your head as you’re gearing up for this duck season, don’t worry. We’ve got all the answers for you right here. Now, let’s get down to business.

Will a premium duck call make me better at calling ducks?

Yes and no. First, we have to determine if you’re a beginner or if you’ve been blowing a duck call for some time now and are reasonably comfortable with calling. If your hunting buddies won’t let you blow a duck call when you hunt with them then you’re probably still a beginner. ;)

For Beginners…

No, buying a premium duck call will not instantly make you a better caller. Being able to blow a duck call well enough to work birds into shooting range takes practice. No one has ever picked up a duck call for the first time and sounded good!

You can think of premium duck calls as finely tuned musical instruments. They have the ability to sound incredible, but it’s up to the musician to practice and learn how use them. Duck calls, much like musical instruments are in fact tuned. They require the right amount of air pressure to vibrate the reed and produce that “ducky” sound to bring ‘em downtown. If you provide too little or too much air pressure, then the reed will vibrate too slow or too fast creating an undesirable pitch that is sure to flare birds. The best callers are the ones who have the most control over the air pressure they push through the call.

What a premium duck call will instantly do for a beginner is speed up the learning process. This is due to multiple reasons.

1. You’re invested in the call. You’ve spent the extra money and bought that high-quality premium duck call. When you buy something nice for yourself with your hard-earned money, you’re much more likely to use it than if you were to buy something cheap. This will incentivize you to practice with the call more often than you would if it were a cheap one. The more you practice, the better caller you become.

2. You get what you pay for. Calls like Dead Bird’s DNDare extremely smooth and forgiving. This makes it very easy for beginners to pick up on the basics and produce good tone quality without having to work very hard. A premium call will also make it easier for you to naturally flow through cadences without having to fight the call. Having a call that is smooth and easy to blow is critical when learning proper calling techniques.

3. Premium calls make premium sound. Even if you have mastered air pressure control on a cheap call, it’s still not going to produce that same quality ducky sound that a premium call would. When you buy a cheap call, you sacrifice quality. Plain and simple. Owning a call that sounds really good when you put the right amount of air through it will enable you to quickly train your ear to those deadly ducky sounds they just can’t resist.

More Advice for Beginners

Duck calls can also be compared to shoes. Not everyone wears the same pair of shoes because everyone has difference preferences. What we can agree on is that there is a clear difference between lower end and higher end brands. For example, the quality of a Walmart tennis shoes does not compare to the quality of tennis shoe that you would find at a store like Foot Locker. When we go to buy a pair of shoes most of us are going to either go to a store like Foot Locker that sells your “premium” shoes or we’re going to go to a store like Walmart that sells cheaper shoes. Each store has different brands but all of them are going to be on a similar level of quality. Footlocker will have your Adidas, Nike, Asics, and so on, while Walmart will have your look alike off brands. Whether you chose to go to a low end or higher end store for your shoe shopping, you’re going to try on different brands of shoes in the store so you can pick the ones that you like best. Most of the time you’ll pick the ones that are the most comfortable, look the coolest, or make you feel best. Sure, a Walmart shoe will do the same job as a pair from Footlocker, but you’re going to sacrifice comfort and quality.

The same goes for duck calls. There are several premium duck call companies out there and they all make great duck calls. It just comes down to you figuring out what characteristics you prefer to have in a call. Much like any person has several pairs of shoes, every duck hunter has several different duck calls. At Dead Bird our goal is not to knock off the other premium duck call companies. We simply believe that you should add a Dead Bird call to your premium arsenal to give you the best chance at success.

The best advice that can be given to one trying to experiment with the differences between premium calls and cheap calls is to go and try them out for yourself! You try on your shoes before you buy them, and you should also try out your duck call before you buy it! There’s nothing wrong with seeing if a product is really what it’s hyped up to be. A good quality duck call will sell itself when put to the test.

The good news is, most premium duck call companies like Dead Bird offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This enables you to try out the calls and see if you like them risk-free. If you order a call and decide you don’t like it for any reason or if you just feel like it’s not worth the extra money, you can send it back for a full refund. Additionally, most stores that sell top shelf duck calls will allow you to try them out in store before you buy. This is a huge advantage and allows us hunters to experience the difference in quality and craftsmanship of a premium call before we actually buy it. This will make you feel more confident that the extra money you’re spending is well worth it.

For Intermediate to Advanced Hunters

If you’ve become addicted to duck hunting and comfortable with calling, then you should already be blowing a premium duck call!


This is where a premium call can really shine. You’ve got all of the technical skills you need to really unleash a premium call’s full potential. You have mastered air pressure, various cadences, and know when to turn up the volume. As we mentioned earlier, you get what you pay for and premium calls produce unmatched tone quality. For an intermediate to advanced caller, a premium call is going to instantly make your sound better. You will also find that the operating ease of a premium call like Dead Bird’s Meat Headwill make it far easier to transition between cadences and execute complex calling strategy that may have been more difficult for you to master on that cheap call. So, what are you waiting for? Why not buy a quality call and instantly become a better duck hunter?


While premium calls are a great choice for anyone immersed in waterfowl hunting, they will not make a beginner instantly an expert at calling. Learning to blow a duck call takes time and practice. What a premium call will do for a beginner is speed up the learning process.

As for intermediate to advanced hunters, you will instantly sound better if you pick up a premium call due to the extreme difference in quality between a premium call and a cheap call. You already have the skills and practice to really make that premium call excel at its full potential.

Bottom line, if you’re serious about duck hunting then you don’t need to waste your time buying cheap duck calls. It’s the most important tool in duck hunting before you go bang. So, pick up a premium call and get to quacking!

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