John's Journal...

Guns of the Waterfowling Pros

Barnie Calef – World Duck Calling Champion

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: To become a professional in anything, you need to study a professional in that area of expertise Click to enlargeand learn how he approaches his craft and what makes that professional successful. In the hunting world, you need to determine if a professional’s success depends on his skills or the tools the guide carries with him on a hunt. I’ve interviewed five waterfowl guides to learn what guns and shellsthey use and why. Barnie Calef of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has won the World Duck Calling Championship three times. When he’s not calling ducks and geese, giving seminars on calling ducks and geese or videoing hunting ducks and geese for Hunter’s Specialties, he’s guiding duck hunters.

“I hunt with a Benelli Super Black Eagle,” Barnie Calef says. “I like the Super Black Eagle because it’s rugged, it can take the tough waterfowl environment, and its inertia-driven and not gas-operated. It has a ComforTech system that lessens the recoil considerably. This gun is easy to take apart and put back together again for cleaning. I have a lot of confidence in this gun because I put a tremendous number of shells through this gun every season, and it has never let me down. I shoot either the Winchester Xpert High Velocity or the Winchester Super X HigClick to enlargeh Velocity. To take ducks at 30 yards or less, which is the range I prefer to shoot at, I need plenty of small shot traveling at high velocities. I like innies and outies when it comes to shot. In other words, I like shot that passes all the way through the ducks. If I’m shooting ducks over decoys, I prefer No. 4s or sometimes I have shot Click to enlargeas small as No. 6s. If I have to pick one shot size to shoot ducks and geese over decoys, I’ll choose 1-1/8-ounce shot of No. 3s traveling at 1,550 feet-per-second. I believe this is the most-lethal shot that a waterfowler can use to take both ducks and geese.

“If I’m hunting just ducks and not geese, I prefer 1-1/16-ounces of No. 4s or No. 6s, traveling at 1,550 feet-per-second. Now if geese come by, and I want to take the geese, then I have to put larger shot in my gun to take the geese. So the No. 3s are a compromise load because I can take both ducks and geese with them. My favorite compromise load is a 3- inch No. 3 shot traveling at 1550 feet-per-second. If I’m shooting passing ducks that are turning toward decoys, I can probably step up my shot size to No. 2s and shoot 3-inch shells with 1-1/8-ounces of shot.”

Tomorrow: At the Other End of the Flyway – Louisiana’s Jeff Poe and Texas’s Chris Lee

Check back each day this week for more about "Guns of the Waterfowling Pros"

Day 1: Bob “Rip” Clark and Jay Cavanagh of Canada’s Dog ‘N Duck Outfitting
Day 2: Steve Bierle – the Creator of Hunter’s Specialties’ Bad Medicine Goose Call
Day 3: Bob “Spoonbill” Clark of Canada’s Dog ‘N Duck Outfitting
Day 4: Barnie Calef – World Duck Calling Champion
Day 5: At the Other End of the Flyway – Louisiana’s Jeff Poe and Texas’s Chris Lee


Entry 492, Day 4