John's Journal...

Calling All Ducks by John E. Phillips with Eli Haydel

Day 5: How to Hunt Diving Ducks, Hypnotized Ducks and Non-Workable Ducks with Eli Haydel

Editor’s Note: While chasing webfoots though the marshes and wetlands of southwest Louisiana for the last 50+ years, Eli Haydel, the founder of Haydel Game Calls and one of the nation’s leading duck callers, has learned how to read ducks as well as a postal worker reads dogs and knows which will bite.

Diving Ducks:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewHaydel considers diving ducks like bluebills, redheads and canvasbacks the easiest ducks to read and call. "Once these ducks hear a call and decide to come into the decoys, they generally will come in without any hesitation," Haydel comments. "Even though shotguns are going off, and their companions are tumbling from the sky, they'll often light in the decoys. These ducks don't require much calling. All that's usually needed is a guttural, garbled sound like a feeding call to bring diving ducks down."

Hypnotized Ducks:

Haydel also has a classification for what he terms a hypnotized duck. "A hypnotized duck will fly away from the decoys and then circle and return to the spread at the same height it was at when you began calling," Haydel explains. "When you call to that bird a second time, it will turn at about the same spot and fly over the decoys again at the same altitude. I've seen a hypnotized duck follow this same pattern through eight different passes over the decoys. Each time the hunter thinks the duck will light down in the decoys, the duck won't. The hunter with his calling has trained the duck to come back to the decoys when the duck reaches a certain spot in the sky. To bring this duck down, you must let it fly past the point where it normally turns back to the decoys, which generally is much farther away from the blind than the bird has flown before. Then call to that duck loudly with a pleading call to come back. Also give soft, feeding quacks as it comes into the decoys. Sometimes this technique will de-hypnotize a duck and bring it into gun range."

Non-Workable Ducks:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewHaydel utilizes several tactics, especially late in the season, to convert non-workable ducks into working ducks. By the time waterfowl reach Louisiana, hunters will have tried every trick known on them. If a flight of mallards comes toward and goes away from the decoys, rather than utilizing a mallard call, Haydel may blow a pintail whistle or a bluewing teal call. If Haydel hunts late in the season, he may use a variable-tone call. He then can sound like two-different ducks calling from the water at almost the same time.

"If you're hunting in an area with a lot of hunting pressure, listen to the calls the other sportsmen are giving," Haydel advises. "Don't call like the other hunters do, because if their calls aren't working for them, then that same calling won't work for you. For instance, most hunters give a seven- to nine-note comeback call. However, I think I'm more effective giving a five-note call. To effectively work ducks, don't give any-more calls than are absolutely necessary to bring the ducks into the blind. If ducks are working and are committed to your decoys and to your blind, leave the birds alone."

AmazonTo get John E. and Denise Phillips’ Kindle eBook, “The Best Wild Game & Seafood Cookbook Ever: 350 Southern Recipes for Deer, Turkey, Fish, Seafood Small Game and Birds,” click here. Or, go to, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.




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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Check back each day this week for more about Calling All Ducks by John E. Phillips with Eli Haydel"

Day 1: Knowing How to Make the Ducks Sit Down Right in Front of You with Eli Haydel
Day 2: Learn the Rules to Begin Calling Ducks with Eli Haydel
Day 3: Making Mallard Duck Music and Pintail Playing with Eli Haydel
Day 4: Calling Teal and Gadwalls with Eli Haydel
Day 5: How to Hunt Diving Ducks, Hypnotized Ducks and Non-Workable Ducks with Eli Haydel

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Entry 746, Day 5