Which goose call is best?

Learning to call geese can be extremely rewarding but also very challenging. Geese “talk” more than any other waterfowl, and their complex language can take even the best hunter a long time to master. A goose call helps build that bridge, but calls also take practice and patience.

For decades, flutes were the standard for most hunters, but over the past few years, short-reed goose calls have become the go-to because of their ability to generate over 20 sounds — nearly twice that of a normal flute. There are other considerations when it comes to goose calls, but for overall ease of use and effectiveness, the Buck Gardner Canada Hammer 2 Goose Call is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a goose call

Types

There are four types of goose calls. Flutes were the long-time standard, and while not as loud as other types, many hunters feel they produce the most realistic sounds. Resonant-chamber goose calls are easiest to blow, but they are very limited in the number of sounds they can mimic. Tubes are short, made from plastic with a rubber collar. They make good sounds but are difficult to learn and master. Short-reed calls are the newest style and resemble a short flute. They are loud, and an expert user can make up to 20 calls with one.

Different sounds

While most people are familiar with the nasal honk of a goose, a hunter quickly discovers that there are many more sounds a goose makes. Geese can hiss, cackle, bark and even make a sound that mimics a kazoo.

Meaning of sounds

Not every honk or hiss means the same thing. It can vary by species of goose, but it can also depend on the situation. Some geese make the same sound when threatened, when being welcoming, and even when calling a mate. It takes time, research and practice to learn these nuances.

Goose breeds

In addition to the better-known Canada goose, there are cackling geese, snow geese and other species. You need to be familiar with each species to make sure you are using your call correctly. You also need to know the specifics of each goose species, since some can only be hunted at certain times and hunting others is illegal regardless of the time of year. 

What to look for in a quality goose call

Material

Most goose calls are made from wood, acrylic or polycarbonate. Some custom-made calls also are manufactured of nylon, glass and other polymers. Wooden calls produce softer sounds but absorb moisture. Acrylic calls are more durable, and polycarbonate units are louder with sharper sounds.

Tuning

Being able to tune your goose call is important for your overall success. Your ability to make high and low sounds is dependent on the barrel length and reed taper, so making the proper adjustments easily is something to look for in the call of your choice.

Electronic call

If you are willing to pay extra, an electronic device that mimics the sound of a flock of snow geese is available. It comes with speakers, an amplifier and remote control. Keep in mind that the use of such devices is limited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, so make sure you know the rules.

How much you can expect to spend on a goose call

Polycarbonate and wooden goose calls cost between $20 to $40, while those with patented reed systems run $40 to $60, and up to $100 if handcrafted from hardwood. Acrylic goose calls cost between $130 to $160, and electronic calls can exceed $300.

Goose call FAQ

What’s the best way to store a goose call?

A. Once the call has been cleaned and separated, place the parts on a towel or in a soft bag that is stored at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. This will protect all the parts until you use it next.

How do I hear the real sounds of geese?

A.   Nothing can take the place of hearing real geese for you to get a better feel for how to make your goose call sound. Cornell University offers online recordings at its website for the ornithology lab.

What’s the best goose call to buy?

Top goose call

Buck Gardner Canada Hammer 2 Goose Call

Buck Gardner Canada Hammer 2 Goose Call

What you need to know: This goose call produces excellent sound quality and is easy to take care of.

What you’ll love: This goose call seals in air to improve over sound and tone of the calls. The short-reed design can be hand-tuned for both distant and close-range sounds. It is very easy to maintain, clean and reassemble.

What you should consider: Some hunters have struggled with the instructions for adjusting the reeds.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top goose call for the money

Primos Canada Goose Flute Call

Primos Canada Goose Flute Call

What you need to know: This goose call is an affordable option for anyone looking to stay within a budget for an easy-to-use model.

What you’ll love: This American-made call makes it easy to blow with a unique flex-end hose that creates instant backpressure. A patented reed system allows the unit to be disassembled and reassembled easily. It makes the loud sounds associated with Canada geese.

What you should consider: There is no instructional video to accompany this goose call.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Primos Honky Tonk Goose Call

Primos Honky Tonk Goose Call

What you need to know: This easy-to-use goose call has a reputation for attracting flocks to your decoy and hunting spot.

What you’ll love: This goose call is designed to be easy to blow. A patented reed system lets the hunter easily disassemble the call, clean it and reassemble it. It is designed with patented ditches that keep it from sticking together.

What you should consider: The plastic can be a little delicate, and some users have reported breakage.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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