Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

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Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby spoontang573 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:45 pm

I've always been a fan of "go big or go home" decoy spreads during the slow part of the early season. I define large spreads as 3+ dozen. I figure it'll take a lot of birds on the water to even get a look.

Am I off base? I know there are a lot of variables to consider, such as pond size and such. But I'm just using a typical open water pond as seen at most public hunting areas. Free roaming, AP's or blinds are all in play here.

Thought I'd throw out a decent hunting question and get away from the grade school drama.

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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby Shooting wide » Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:16 pm

I hunted over 50 or so decoys opening weekend. Mostly mallards, but some teal, a couple of wigeon, and a couple of sprig.

I got three Saturday afternoon and one Sunday morning.

I hunted over 12 teal decoys in a ball and 4 mallards in openings of the pickleweed on Wednesday. No calling at all other than the occasional whistle

I got 6.

Same pond at Grizzly, just 50 yards apart, big open water with some tules at my back facing east.

Personally, I prefer a go light sort of approach. Less to haul, and let guys trucking in 75 dekes hammering their hail calls for a teal flare them off and to me.

But that is just my preference.
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby clampdaddy » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:32 pm

Not saying its necessarily the thing to do but a couple years ago on a warm November morning I watched an old timer set up across the pond from me with nothing but a pair of sprig deeks and he did amazingly well.
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby slowshooter » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:54 pm

If people are running around the system chasing full straps, there's no right answer. The only way to know what works best is to repeatedly hunt an area to figure it out. Folks that only chase birds at the refuge with last week's best numbers are always at a disadvantage, since they're a week behind the birds and lacking local experience x number of hunts under current conditions.
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby Portuguese Duck Slayer » Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:05 pm

Put out less than half the amount of decoys at my blind this year..... west side of suisun marsh. Couple dozen sprig, dozen widgeon, couple spoons and 3 mallard (this club doesn't see many). Hard to tell if the reduced numbers make a difference so far.... one thing I will say is it looks much more "natural" in setting. I've hunted this club for the past three years and have never seen 100 ducks grouped together on any pond. Most guys toss out 4-5 dozen.

Even when I hunted the refuges..... never packed in more than a dozen or so. Never saw a need.
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby norcalweaz » Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:07 pm

I'm simple/lazy and usually just hunt over 12 or less. A lot of the time it's around 8. Don't always do great but when the guy with 100 deeks gets a couple more birds, though I don't believe it matters the amount, he earned them. Another way to look at it is would you want to go to a bar that was full of people or the one with a few people where it was easier to get a pint.
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby Portuguese Duck Slayer » Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:09 pm

norcalweaz wrote:I'm simple/lazy and usually just hunt over 12 or less. A lot of the time it's around 8. Don't always do great but when the guy with 100 deeks gets a couple more birds, though I don't believe it matters the amount, he earned them. Another way to look at it is would you want to go to a bar that was full of people or the one with a few people where it was easier to get a pint.

:thumbsup: That is good logic!
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby Sgtstadanko707 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:17 pm

Every location is different. That is what determines how many I will put out. I take 2 dz and if I need lees great. Go out to the blind and we run about 500 ducks and another 100 geese. So I guess you can say size matters.
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby speczilla » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:54 pm

Hunting a refuge in November? I'll take my 11 feather flex over anything else. Mobility is key on those warm November days with sparse crowds.
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby Silverwidgeon » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:42 pm

Depends, if the weather has been light and the levee's are good, I can bring a cart, and carry quite a few deeks np. If it's muddy as hell I carry em in, then it's 2 dozen max!
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby callinfowl » Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:22 am

norcalweaz wrote:I'm simple/lazy and usually just hunt over 12 or less. A lot of the time it's around 8. Don't always do great but when the guy with 100 deeks gets a couple more birds, though I don't believe it matters the amount, he earned them. Another way to look at it is would you want to go to a bar that was full of people or the one with a few people where it was easier to get a pint.


Yup ! :thumbsup:
I'd like to put 3 decoys on a jerk cord in the pond this season.............nothing more ! :yes: :yes: :yes:
The birds see it all, big spreads little spreads ,Spinners.......I say go simple , throw a few on a jerk cord and tone down on the calling. :yes:
Lifes to short to sweat the small crap !
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby #4Buckshot » Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:29 am

Well clampdaddy, that probably was, or, could have been, me.
It's worked, for me, for well over 50 yrs. Decades ago I started out with 11 but have went to 6 or less for the past 20.
I can't tell you why, or how it works but it does. Adequate calling also helps.
Also sometimes, no matter how good of a "hole" you think you've found, you can find yourself 50..75...100 yds from where a mini-flyway exists and when you only have a few blocks to pick up, you can "change" your day in minutes before the action stops.
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby clampdaddy » Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:54 pm

#4Buckshot wrote:Well clampdaddy, that probably was, or, could have been, me.
It's worked, for me, for well over 50 yrs. Decades ago I started out with 11 but have went to 6 or less for the past 20.
I can't tell you why, or how it works but it does. Adequate calling also helps.
Also sometimes, no matter how good of a "hole" you think you've found, you can find yourself 50..75...100 yds from where a mini-flyway exists and when you only have a few blocks to pick up, you can "change" your day in minutes before the action stops.

Without being too specific and possibly giving up one of your spots, I'll just say that it was at one of the San Luis units. After seeing how well a tiny spread could work, I lightened up and started carrying out six spoonie blocks and one bull sprig.
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby Calikev » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:56 pm

Not sure what the right number would be but I personally like to go small. A few pairs of decoys and that's it for most of the pothole hunting we do.

If I'm hunting more open water then I will decoy up a bit. I tend to use larger spreads to block out areas to funnel the birds to where I want them. They don't always come into the decoys and rather avoid them which means you can use those blocked out areas to directionalize birds to you.
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby duxnbass » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:47 pm

I know its not November yet but hunted yesterday with a pair of gaddys and three spoon dekes and shot well.
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Re: Decoy spread size during the November slowdown

Postby Hunter222 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:19 pm

I've only been at this about 40 years but I've still got a lot to learn. My calling skills are marginal and I always consider using my decoy spread as a deflector instead of an attractor for wary birds. Obviously conditions dictate the strategy. When duck's don't want to fly over the spread, which is most of the time, I shape it in a way that the one's avoiding the spread end up flying over me. A few good quality decoys set just at the edge of my kill zone brings in distant duck's that come in cautiously, circle around looking for the blind, keeping a safe distance on the edge of the decoys and SMACK!! I thump em from the outside! I spend more time blending in than setting up decoys. I'm going to the refuge light tomorrow with a trio of mallard floaters and little group of standers just for the heck of it. See what I can deflect my way.
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