Duck Decoy Tips
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Duck decoys are of many types like resting decoys, sleeper decoys, feeding decoys, flutter wings decoys, prop-up shell decoys, windsock decoys, and swimming decoys among others. Many of them are motion decoys. Decoys are made to resemble snow ducks, Bluebills, Mallards, Teals, Red heads, Eiders, Goldeneyes and Mergansers to name a few species.
Some of the best places to hunt for ducks are the small places often overlooked by most waterfowl hunters. Good duck hunting places include secluded ponds, drainage ditches and out-of-the-way potholes. Other places are prairies, wetlands, grain fields, flooded cornfields, and croplands, slow moving streams and cut grain fields. These waterfowl honey holes are great duck shooting hotspots.
The best techniques for duck hunting involve using a decoy spread that is a mix of different duck species with the most number among the lot being of those types that abundantly frequent the area, sprinkled sporadically with small clusters of other types. The total number of decoys to place at a particular spot is really a subjective issue and it is best to get a mentor and take advantage of his judgment. The thumb rule is not to have lesser number of decoys; however, this may not be true in every case. In every case there should be enough place left around the decoys to let ducks in flight to land. Having a good blind and duck call is of great value for successful duck shooting.
Waterfowl are wary and suspicious by nature and avoid places where the decoys appear lifeless. Therefore, for a higher rate of success in duck hunting whether in water or in the field it is necessary to make the decoys appear live and have motion. Motion will serve to make the birds comfortable in landing close to the decoys and allow better and accurate shots to be placed.
There are many water fowling tricks and products to help bring about life like motion in duck decoy spreads. For example, decoys appear unnatural in water on a windless day because live ducks cause ripples in the water as they swim around whereas decoys donít. Now there are several ways in which these ripples can be mimicked. One of them is by using jerkstrings. These strings operate just the way they sound. The decoyline is tied to a weighted keel decoy and is threaded through a two-pound weight. Any hunter can make his own weight(s) or use some that are commercially available at an affordable price. Once the decoy is placed in water, the hunter can jerk the decoy line from a distance, which will move the decoys in water to give them motion and create ripples in calm water on a windless day. If desired, many decoys can be tied together to give motion to all by jerking a single string. This is also a good way to involve non-shooters in the duck hunt.
There are battery operated shaker decoys available which serve the same purpose. They shake on their own at predetermined intervals. If the location of the hunting spot is such that the hunter has to stand in water, he can move his legs to create ripples in the water caused by feeding ducks.† However, he needs to be careful to avoid excessive movement that may alarm the passing birds and expose his presence to them.
Another rather primitive but nonetheless effective method is to throw a small rock or pebble among the decoy spread just as flying birds are approaching. The real trick is to create a semblance of motion and a natural look of live birds feeding in the water.
A perfectly cam decoy spread just does not look natural.
To add motion to field decoys one of the best methods is flagging. Among the many different types of flags available, there are two that are most commonly used. The first is a pole flag and the second is the hand flag. Pole flags are usually mounted on 8 to 15 feet high poles and also serve to keep the movement away from the concealed hunter. Handflags are attached to short poles and are used when the birds are closer. When the birds are at a distance of about 100 yards or less, it is best not to hand flag.
Flapping wing decoys are yet another type. These decoys, similar to hand flags, recreate motion that is similar to ducks stretching their wings and are placed away from the hunter in order to draw attention away from his place of concealment. It is important to make sure that the motion is not too excessive when the birds are flying overhead.
Motion stakes are used to create an illusion of natural motion even when†† wind speed is as low as ten miles an hour.† The stakes also act as prop ups to support shell decoys to give them a full body appearance. A hole needs to be drilled in the decoy before fixing it to the motion stake and the slightest breeze will give lifelike motion to the decoy allowing it to move left, right up and down. The stake itself is height adjustable and is driven into the ground.
Windsocks are used especially for snow ducks and can be mixed with full-bodied decoys to add realism. An ideal ratio would be one windsock to every dozen full body decoys.
Spinning wing decoys are another type that help add motion to your duck hunt and are renowned for their effectiveness in fields and also in water. These are full body decoys that have battery-spun wings. However, there are a few things to be kept in mind while using these decoys. A spinner decoy should have a matte/ non-reflective surface to avoid any reflection in the sun. When multiple spinners are used, they should be set at different heights. The spinners should be turned off when the birds start approaching the spread.
Posted November 30, -1 by Justin Ott