Goose Calls Are My Weakness

March 23, 2009 by  

By PJ Maguire

Erik dblkluk Myre calling to some late season geese

Erik "dblkluk" Myre calling to some late season geese

My first goose call was a Knight & Hale Double Cluck. I don’t believe that I ever got that call to make a single honk. Now that I am older I realized it was not the call, it was me that had the problem. My father bought me a Big River flute shortly after he found out how terrible I sounded. I think anyone who’s ever owned a goose call has owned a Big River flute at some point in their life. I wish I could find that old Double Cluck today, now that I know how to blow a short reed, pick it up and let it rip.

I started blowing a short-reed goose call about three years ago. At that time, I was just one of a few goose hunters I knew that actually blew one. It took me almost a full year until I felt really comfortable on a short-reed. When I finally mastered the “Fat Boy” goose call, it was the biggest accomplishment of my short life. Recently, my world has been crashing down around me as I have realized everyone and their mother can now blow a short-reed.

One of my college roommates used to buy goose calls on E-bay like a day trader with stocks. He had several lanyards full of calls before he realized goose calls were not the most liquid investment. He still managed to buy low and sell high and personally owns more calls then anybody else I hunt with.

I am always in the market for a new goose call. Either it is my human urge to never be satisfied, or the weakness rubbed off on myself. Whenever I am at a sporting goods store I have to sample the goose calls. I am always looking for a deal and have found some great goose calls through the Pro Shop here at Nodak Outdoors.

Matt Jones calling tuning his goose call before the hunt

Matt Jones calling tuning his goose call before the hunt

One question that often comes up in the world of short reed goose calling is acrylic vs. wood. Personally I try to have an acrylic and a wood call on my lanyard when I take to the field. Typically, I use the acrylic to get the attention of the geese at vast distances, and then use the wood call for softer clucks and moans when the geese are close. There are many different types of wood short-reed goose calls and if you pay close attention, you will notice the different sounds each type of wood produces.

Some short-reed goose calls have wood barrel and acrylic inserts; like the Feather Duster goose call available through the Nodak Outdoors Pro Shop. These goose calls combine the soft tones of the wood with the volume of the acrylic. Short-reed goose calls are versatile by nature, allowing hunters to mimic the many different sounds of the Canada goose.

I have been encouraging my dad to switch from a flute to the short-reed, but he does not have the time to change. Many older hunters are stuck in their ways or do not have efficient time to learn how to blow a short-reed. Although it is not the rule, goose hunting seems to be a passion of the younger generations nowadays. I believe this correlation comes from local goose populations exploding within the last decade.

The last couple years Minnesota has been establishing a Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls type dynasty; leading the nation in goose harvest the last decade. In 2004 hunters harvested more geese than Mallards, shooting roughly 234,000 geese in Minnesota. I bet if you asked an old waterfowler twenty years ago if that was possible , he’d tell you that you’re nuts.

And here we are, it’s now 2005 and a hunter has literally hundreds of calls to choose from. If you’re not sure where to start, there are almost as many opinions as geese in the sky available in the goose hunting forum. But I’ll tell you what, from Western North Dakota to Southern Illinois, there are some goose hunters who can blow short-reed goose calls nowadays. And as the season roars on and the birds become more educated, good goose calling can make the difference from flaring and feet in your face. Good luck to everyone for the rest of the season!


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