As a writer and reviewer of products I believe I have a duty to show readers new items and new vendors. I especially like to bring forward small companies working to gain a hold in the marketplace with their innovation and creative thinking. Falling Feathers Game Calls is one of those companies. Kory Cribb started making calls in 2010 and has a deep passion for duck and goose hunting in Illinois, southwestern Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas. His pedigree is unique: though he hails from a small farm in northern Illinois, he has traveled the world with missionary parents. Being home-schooled allowed for time to hunt, and in his youth he began to learn the craft of call making.
One has to appreciate that the handmade process of producing a call in this case is predicated on the emotional, social, and fraternal investment by Kory. These are not mass-produced, but rather personally assembled and tuned calls offered in only two iterations: acrylic duck or goose. Falling Feathers duck calls come in 13 different colors, but only one style known as the double-reed Sidewinder. Two wooden versions of the Sidewinder are available: Cocobola and Osage Orange. Their goose calls come in eight colors and are known as the Hellfire. What Falling Feathers has created is a commitment to two calls across a variety of colors.
I am writing about the Sidewinder duck call. Right after I received the call, I realized this company had learned a few things about presenting their products to their consumers. The call comes in a branded box and included a decal, black rubber wristband, and a metal leg band. My version of the Sidewinder was white and is deeply engraved with black highlighting to really make their “All or Nothing” logo pop.
The call is small in my hands at just under four inches long. A quick look in the belled end shows one of the reasons for this call’s high-quality sound. The hole is not just drilled out, but actually trumpeted from the interior to the outside. The exhaust port is three quarters of a inch wide. The double reed uses a dimpled second reed that effectively keeps the reeds from sticking together and allows them to work in concert. The acrylic insert is 2.3 inches long and uses a rubber urethane cork wedge to secure the two reeds. A slight sloping of the tone board also ensures the reeds do not stick and produces a high quality sound. There are no slits or notches which are a sure indication a call may have needed modification to keep it from sticking. The mouth piece has a 5/8-inch-wide opening and is rounded with a good feel and easy placement. A single O-ring seals the two halves tightly. The overall weight of the call is 1.2 ounces.
So how does it blow and sound? My repertoire of calls is typical, and really puts the call to task. I learned to feed chuckle in the blind with my father. He was a great caller and if a call fights me to get the sound out I have a problem. I felt the Sidewinder allowed me to draw the sound out rather than forcing me to push it out. The mouthpiece was comfortable and I noticed as I began to adjust my lips the call responded. I believe one of the reasons for this is that the reed is just barely inside the mouth of the call. This provides for subtle changes at the reed with your tongue and lips. It has a smaller feel on my lips, but one I appreciated because I could use this to my advantage. Some may consider this call small for their use. Feed chuckles were excellent with good soft and moderate volume available, but quick response to my tongue movements. Hail calls have volume, but I don’t think this is a high-volume call. It will work very well in the marsh or open fields, but there is no need to over-blow the call. In fact, I thought the call was capable of telling me when I was over-blowing with reed feedback. This is an intimate call with lots of possibilities for the beginner or well-practiced caller.
The “lonely hen call,” though, was wheret he Sidewinder really excels. I started off with a high-pitched hen that I did not like at all, but soon realized how easily I could make this call sound more duck-like and this is a compliment to its design. This is a call that can improve your calling because it is responsive, so the lonely hen with some mouth and exhaust adjustments is beautiful. It sounds like a duck. There is a clean, fresh quack, with some rasp, but not too much.
The Falling Feathers Sidewinder double-reed duck call was introduced into the market because it sounds great, is competitively priced, and built with a hard-core fusion of experience, passion, craftsmanship, waterfowl knowledge, and dedication to doing one duck call right.
Images by David Vaught