Timber hunting for mallards and other puddle ducks can be some of the most exciting wing shooting a waterfowler can get. In this article I will discuss what I have learned that has drastically improved my timber calling skills.
Be an aggressive caller to kill more ducks in the timber.
When most people think of timber calling, they think of food chuckles and single clucks. Take timber calling to a whole new level, a level I call aggressive timber calling. Aggressive timber calling is sounding like 20 demanding hen mallards, at a volume level appropriate to the timber environment you are hunting.
Volume is your best friend and your worst enemy
When in the timber, volume is your best friend and your enemy. Each and every note you make echo’s off both the water and the trees, magnifying any mistakes and good cadences you might make in the excitement of circling mallards. This is no time for 20 note highballs using the latest and greatest competition call. Instead, use the nastiest, duckiest timber call you own. A call like the “Raspy G2” in your favorite material makes an excellent timber call. The Raspy G2 always sounds like a raspy and snotty duck.
The more good calling the better
My experience with duck calling is that the more good calling, the better. And the timber is no different. When I say good, I mean good. The timber is no time for a rookie to be playing his new toy. Allot of poor calling is a great conservation tool, but allot of good calling is a great harvest tool. The reason good calling in the timber is so important is because many times your decoy spread is small or hidden by the surrounding trees and vegetation. All you have to convince the mallards to decoy is your call.
Call as a team
I generally hunt in a group, and refer to the callers in the group as the team. Our team generally starts off calling with extremely fast hen greeting calls. If the birds respond and start coming closer, our team will transition into a rapid food chuckle mixed in with some quacks. If they start to slide just lean on them with a rapid food chuckle and feeding clucks, and toss out a rapid hen greeting if needed.
Conclusion-Once committed in the timber, mallards usually finish into very close range as the holes you are hunting are not large and limits come quick as the shots are hard to miss. I hope this article encouraged you to play a snotty hen mallard call in the timber and to lean on those mallards with aggressive timber calling. You and your favorite retriever will not regret it.
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