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University » Articles » Talkin’ Ducks with Jason Campbell

Talkin’ Ducks with Jason Campbell

by Darren Digby of Cajun Outdoors Magazine

duck-hunting-gueydanIt’s like a yellow brick road for duck hunters, or at least that’s the state of mind I was in as I raced down Hwy 91 between I-10 and Gueydan en route to the rendezvous with my host for opening weekend. Based in the east zone, it’s not often I get an invite to jump in a blind for the west zone’s opener and I’m usually left twiddling thumbs at home or trying to get up at some ungodly hour to take part in a public land opening day. To make the invite all the sweeter, I was to share a blind with two-time Louisiana state duck and speck calling champion Jason Campbell and his lease partner Avery Pro-Staffer Chuck Ragsdale. Campbell, a member of both Avery and Rich-N-Tone pro staff, had generously offered to host me in his blind south of Gueydan; who in their right mind could refuse such a proposition?

Campbell and I spent some time that afternoon with field prep activities, brushing the blind and setting out decoys and I was thrilled to pick his brain hoping to gain some insight for taking on the ducks of the Louisiana rice belt. Though the bulk of the birds seen that afternoon seemed to be holding just north of our field, the small turned over portion we’d set up in was littered with feathers. To our untrained eye the feathers seemed to belong to some sort of large brown duck, be it mallard, mottled or gadwall, a promising sign nonetheless. Upon our departure, we observed mottled ducks dropping into the pond seemingly to rest for the night. Later that evening I sat down with Campbell to cover the basics for others to consider as they hit the ag fields this season.

Considering his obvious aptitude for calling, I was anxious to see how Campbell transitions between the competition stage and the blind. Most would agree that impressing judges is a far different ballgame than putting beaks on the strap. Heck, it seems that everyone in the public marshes where I hunt aspires to be the next world champion. I digress. “I usually carry two duck calls with me while in the blind. I’ll have one pitched higher and clearer like a Rich-N-Tone (RNT) Microhen in cocobolo and another tuned to be lower pitched and raspier like an RNT short barrel, also in cocobolo,” Campbell stated. “I’m partial to wood for the sound and feel of the call versus an acrylic or polycarbonate,” he added. Those two calls combined with a pintail whistle usually make up his arsenal when it’s time to talk ducks into joining his party of plastic on a given morning in the blind. Once birds seem to show an affinity to one of the calls, Campbell will make that one the go-to for the day but pointed out that every day is different.

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