Decoys

Duck Hunting for puddlers like Mallards, Sprig (Pintails), Black ducks, Widgeons, Woodducks, Teal, and other ducks.

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Decoys

Postby BayleeWatson07 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:50 pm

I am not sure if this is the right section for this or not, if it is not right then please move it to the correct section. I am no professional or anything, as a matter of fact I am pretty new to waterfowl hunting. Do you really need a LOT of decoys to kill the same number of ducks? My cousin, the guy who introduced me to waterfowl hunting; he has like 76 mallard decoys, is this really necessary? He says if you ever hunt really big water, then you need all of these. Can you kill the same number of ducks with about 2 dozen decoys?
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Re: Decoys

Postby woodduck31 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:23 pm

although the consensus with most duck hunters is you never can have enough decoys, at least that's what we tell our wives.

I've used anywhere from 200 to none and shot limits on both. I started one hunt to teach my son who was new to duck hunting at the time how to decoy birds. We went without any decoys at all and hunted along a small river. We found a mallard out milling around that responded to my call and we were able to get him to decoy to no decoys at all. We propped the drake mallard up on a forked stick in the small river and started building our decoy spread till we had 9 dead decoys propped up on sticks when we finished our 10 bird limit of 5 each that year. I hunted quite a bit with 200 decoys for several years and steadily as I got older carried less and less decoys out. It occurred to me that we were limiting as often, maybe more often when we used less than a dozen decoys than when we used 200. The biggest issues that come into play are location, visibility, and species recognition. There is no one size fits all, every region, every stretch of river, every cove and point on a lake is different and birds react differently to a variety of stimulation. Private ground hunting is a whole different ball game and a lot of the pressures that can influence birds are not the same. For public ground sometimes being different than the last 30 decoy spreads with 3 spinners is more effective. Year in and year out my two boys and I have a 5 bird average per hunter per trip. keep in mind, we are duck hunters and we will shoot just about any species of duck which makes reaching the 7 bird limit we have now easier. We hunt nothing but public ground where pressure is significant. It is purely accidental if I hunt the "X" as we hunt on foot and generally in one of two spots. Most of the time we do pretty good putting enough ducks in the decoys even though they had no intention of coming to our spot. Most folks in our part of the world have replaced the ability to decoy ducks with the "chase the X" mentality, they are more intent on finding where the birds want to be and shoot the hole out for a few days and chase the roost down again on another stretch of river.

It may take 200 decoys to get birds to work on some days, some days they won't even take a second look at 200 decoys. Most of the time we use a dozen decoys or less and do just fine. You will find as you gain experience that things are just different every place you go and part of the battle is figuring out what works where you are.
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Re: Decoys

Postby IdahoSkies » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:41 pm

I think what you will find is "it depends." By that I mean, it depends on where and what you are hunting.

Geese need lots of decoys. Puddle ducks however, it has been my experience do not. I am by no means an expert, but from my experience half to two dozen decoys (6-24) seems to be the sweet spot. Put them were ducks like to be. Decoys are really about confidence. Decoys in a spot that ducks dont want to be wont work. But decoys in a spot where that ducks are interested in will make it more likely that they will drop into the spot you want, rather than just out of shotgun range. Numbers don't change that. Especially for puddle ducks.

However, if you want to bring in LARGE flocks, you will need large spreads. If you are satisfied with flights of one to ten or so, then 6-24 decoys will be just fine.
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Re: Decoys

Postby BayleeWatson07 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:36 pm

Well I knew that it depends on where you are hunting and stuff, but I have never seen 100 mallards together so it just seems unrealistic.
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Re: Decoys

Postby airborneduckhunter » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:57 am

yeah they do flock up like that big and bigger. it all depends on where you are. where are you from/hunting? your best bet is get out where your hunting and watch how the birds do in your area and base your spread on what you see.
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Re: Decoys

Postby honkerhuntin » Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:07 pm

i tend to gravitate toward bigger spreads, especialy when field hunting. i have hunted over 15 dozen full body duck deeks, mainly because i like big spreads. but i have done just as good with 2 dozen. i think that if you are on the "x", the amount of deeks wont matter and long as its a realistic size. if i scout a field or a pond and see numbers in the thousands and groups of weveral hundered at a time, i use a big spread.
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Re: Decoys

Postby BayleeWatson07 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:17 am

I am in Georgia. I mostly hunt Lake Oconee.
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Re: Decoys

Postby Sir Remington » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:02 am

I go by size of water and time of year, small water = small spread, also early season = small spread, but the bigger the water and the later it gets the more decoys I use. Then late season I take out only my best decoys and back to small numbers. I prefer green head gear due to realism some say that the paint is crap, a decade ago when I started duck hunting I bought a dozen mallards from green head gear and they have not chipped yet, however the new models are losing paint a little faster. But above all is age most older guys go with less because they know there are bigger fish to fry other than large spreads, calling, concealment, shot placement, etc. But I'm 19 and my veins are still to full of piss and vinegar so I drag out every decoy I can because honestly setting and picking up decoys is the 2nd best thing in the world, just be hide shooting ducks!
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Re: Decoys

Postby krazybronco2 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:34 pm

BayleeWatson07 wrote:I am in Georgia. I mostly hunt Lake Oconee.

wont really need puddle duck decoys for GA you need lots of divers. right now i am repainting all of my puddle ducks but 6 shovler (they have white) 14 mallards and 5 woodies. for where i hunt i need a pretty big spread i plan on having around 3 dozen divers and a dozen or so puddle ducks and would like to add to the diver spread. i say divers because just about every spread you see in GA has mallards and we dont get that many mallards so it looks unnatural. the hardcore duck hunters in GA use divers because they work and you dont even have to know how to blow a duck call. one other thing for big water is geese GA is full of them as well so 1/2 dozen goose floater or full bodies right next to shore but a little bit away from the ducks will help your spread and maybe get you a few geese to come look at your spread.

but one puddle duck decoy i would get for GA is 1/2 dozen woodies. once you find the X use the woodies to give them something to focus on and hopfully decoy right in front of you instead of landing just outside of gunning range. the local woodies dont like big water they like small bodies of water so if you scout a creek or beaver pond be on the look out because there will be a pile of them in the smallest body of water.( saw 15 in a pocket of water about the size of a 3/4ton truck)
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Re: Decoys

Postby Rick Hall » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:49 pm

krazybronco2 wrote:the hardcore duck hunters in GA...


Are all chasing the same flock of ringnecks around Lake Seminole.

Sorry, couldn't resist.
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Re: Decoys

Postby krazybronco2 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:07 pm

Rick Hall wrote:
krazybronco2 wrote:the hardcore duck hunters in GA...


Are all chasing the same flock of ringnecks around Lake Seminole.

Sorry, couldn't resist.


couldnt answer that one cause i dont get that far west i mostly hunt the 3rd largest lake east of the mississippi. but if it was my guess it still is.
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Re: Decoys

Postby stealfeathers » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:55 pm

My grandpa has always taught me not to get comfortable in the blind until you find how they want your decoys. (They being the ducks)

He always ends that lecture by telling me a story when he was hunting in a spot where he always threw out at least 5 dozen decoys. He was having a time decoying birds and kept having to go out and change the spread. It was 11 oclock before he killed the first bird of the day over all of his 3 hen decoys he had left in the water.

So i always try to initially set out a few more than i think i need, and rip some out quick if its not working. That being said you cant add more decoys if you didnt bring em, but you can always pull some out.

I would say if your new to duck hunting and your not able to drop cash on tons of decoys right now then focus on making the ones you already have more realistic. Jerk strings, weezle balls, etc.... Also, learn how to call, and learn how to call good. Its free, just time consuming. Put in a duck hunting dvd and mute the volume. Practice calling at tips and tails. Use your imagination. Hope this helps!!
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Re: Decoys

Postby noweil » Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:44 pm

I use way fewer decoys now than I did when younger and kill plenty of birds. 3-9 goose floaters and maybe 2 or 3 duck decoys on the side kills lots of ducks and geese from early season till the end. 5-12 duck decoys in ND to kill limits of birds. A dozen goose decoys in the field will kill them from August till January. Location is the most important thing. If you are in the right spot you don't need decoys. When the geese are really decoy shy 2 full bodies work well.
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