Pinkfoot calling is normally the easiest of the three main species to master. I use a Solway pinkfoot call, as I find it really easy to use and one the most realistic on the market. The main call of the pinks is the distinctive and easily recognised “wink wink”, this is achieved by blowing a double tap of two short bursts of pressured air through the call, remembering to still finish each note with the tongue at the roof of the mouth. I also extend the double tap to multiple ones to create a “wink wink wink”, this helps break the call up and prevents it from sounding to regimental. Back pressure isn’t as important with a pinkfoot call, the high pressured air from the diaphragm is enough to produce the sound and get the break in the call. The spare hand can be very affective at changing the pitch and help give the “wink wink” and “yank yank” sounds. It’s also important to master the grunts and feeding calls of geese. These are achieved by doing throaty growls while blowing lower pressured air through the reed, and almost wobbling the air through the call to get a varied grunt. It’s a case of mixing these together when calling pinks to make the most natural sounding call.
A greylag call is a bit more rough and ready, as they don’t usually have a crisp call like pinks. Back pressure is more important with these depending on the make of call. I used a Greylag Hammer for a number of years, but now primarily use the Solway greylag as it’s easier to blow and sounds more realistic. Calling greylags is a mixture of high-pitched calls with added grunts right the way through. There aren’t any set patterns as the birds have such a vast vocabulary. I find the easiest way is to have a blend of high pressure air going through the call almost like a “daaa da da da”, which breaks the sound to create the main call with the help of the D. This can be altered by changing the amount of pressure, but still getting the call to break and again moving the second hand to divert the airflow. The tongue is used to separate the notes and to keep the call flowing. The best way to get the right sound is to listen to the birds and try to replicate the erratic call.
Canada Goose (Short reed call)
Most people will agree that the third and final goose on the list is one of the most difficult calls to master. The foundation of a Canada call is a series of honks and clucks. The honk is a slow build-up of a grunt, with a cluck – a crisp break in the call at the end of the note. The best way to get a honk is to do a long steady “whoop” into the call as the P helps the airflow go from a grunt to a cluck. Clucks are the same but a shorter version, more of an “up” sound. Once the foundations are mastered, it is again a case of mixing the different calls together, changing the air pressure and hand movement to create a full sound of a pack of geese feeding. I use a Zink Power Clucker, these are great, however, they are a sensitive call, which takes practice and experience to feel when the note is going to break from a grunt to a cluck.