Few things are as thrilling as seeing a duck or group of ducks respond to your calling. The truth is, though, a great majority of hunters simply don’t possess the skill on a call to cause a strong, positive response from ducks. I want to divulge to good callers and not-so-good callers a trick that if executed properly will almost definitely incite a positive response from ducks. The trick…splashing. Depending on the hunting situation, it may be difficult to splash the water without remaining concealed, but be assured, if you can accomplish it, more times than not you will be amazed at how well ducks respond.
Why does splashing work?
Keep in mind, when I say “splash” I am intending to distinguish from “kicking the water” for purposes of creating movement. Certainly, movement in your hunting rig is important and is justifiably discussed and marketed extensively. But here, I am referring specifically to the sound of water being thrashed. The sound is super effective because it is especially natural and almost never encountered by ducks unless in the presence of live ducks. Unless you’ve observed up close a significant congregation of ducks feeding, you simply could never believe how much racket they make apart from vocalizing. It’s bazaar, actually. I am continually amazed when I deer hunt in swampy areas and am able to observe ducks silently for hours how loud they are. The truth is, it is almost impossible to distinguish feeding ducks from deer running in the water. What they’re doing to make so much noise is of less concern to me than the fact that they’re doing it.
How to execute splashing?
Remember, splashing is about the noise. Unless it’s heard it won’t work. In order for it to be heard, keep in mind two things: splash in such a way there is one loud “CRASH” instead of a constant “sloshing”; and, also make sure to splash the water when ducks are near their closest point to you. Obviously, unless splashing is accomplished without being detected visually, it is counterproductive. For this reason, I try to reserve splashing for when ducks have just passed into the wind almost directly overhead. Doing so provides the best chance of both being heard and not being seen.
If you can pull it off in the situation you’re hunting in, splashing the water aggressively can produce amazing results. I discovered this tactic while kicking water in the manner that is common when hunting timber. Over time, it became very clear how well ducks respond to the racket of splashing water. Then, after critically observing areas of significant concentrations of ducks, it began to make complete sense to me why splashing is so effective. Over the years, I have experienced amazing results from splashing the water in all sorts of situations. In fact, I’ve noticed that when using a jerk string, splashing can achieve greater results than when the ducks simply see movement. I mention this to point out that there are ways to accomplish splashing besides kicking the water. Regardless of how you accomplish splashing, I encourage you to give it a shot. You’ll be glad you tried it, I promise.
Hunting tip by Fowl Life Team Member Keith Allen.