My preferred goose call is a battered old flute I’ve used for years. Although it’s easy to blow and makes realistic goose music, it’s also rather long and bulky.
A more compact call that easily fits into a coat pocket would be preferable, such as a short-reed.
Unfortunately, short reed goose calls can be difficult to master. Because of their compact size, they require a lot of air pressure to operate.
I have two or three languishing in a box in my basement that I can’t make a single decent note on.
Last season, I embarked on a quest to find an easy to blow short-reed that I could actually call geese with. It also had to be affordable, around $30, because there was no way I was going to plunk down a bunch of money for a call that I may or may not be able to operate.
During my search, I discovered a trio of affordable, easy to blow short-reeds.
The first is Primos’ Honky Tonk. It’s an attractive, ebony call with a silver band that sounds as good as it looks.
I was immediately able to make honks and double clucks with it since it requires minimal backpressure to operate. It quickly became one of my favorite calls. A free lanyard was even included.
The Field Proven Raptor was the second call I tried. I felt it required a bit more airflow and backpressure to operate than the Honky Tonk. Even so, the cream-colored Raptor was still fairly easy to blow.
It’s also really loud, with a deep tone and realistic pitch that reaches out and touches long range geese.
The third call I tried was Zink’s Power Clucker or PC-1. For me, it was the easiest of the three to operate, as it requires minimal air pressure.
Within seconds of picking it up, I was making realistic double clucks and honks. It breaks clean and crisp, with clear tones. Volume is also easily controlled, allowing the caller to switch from loud to soft sounds effortlessly.
The PC-1 is available in wood, transparent smoke and Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades camo finishes. An instructional DVD with tips from goose calling champion Fred Zink is also included with some models.
On the DVD, Zink explains how to correctly hold a short-reed, demonstrates proper mouth and tongue placement (trumpet players will have an advantage) and discusses air pressure management.
He also describes the various goose sounds honker hunters should be familiar with and able to mimic.
According to Zink, waterfowlers should hold the call in the “L” formed between the thumb and forefinger of their strong-side hand to control pitch. The off-side hand is cupped over the call’s barrel to control tone.
Zink suggests hunters place the call to their lips as if drinking a bottle of water to ensure a proper air seal. He also recommends not only listening to goose sounds when practicing, but also goose rhythms and inflections. Doing so will add an extra measure of realism to the overall calling sequence.
Jarrod Spilger writes an outdoor column for The Independent.