Late Season Decoy Spread?

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Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby thebigh20 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:03 pm

Just curious what kind of decoy spreads you guys are using at this point in the season? What is working or what is not? I know it certainly depends on the numbers you see while scouting, location etc... but in general what types of deeks and numbers are you guys putting out for ducks on the Snake River? Grateful for any input!
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby swanpig » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:28 pm

During the last two weeks of the season if I'm hunting on a river I either put all my decoys out (48) or I put out my 3 best hen mallards spaced about 15 yards apart. I also do not use my robo ducks unless I'm hunting in a field.
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby waveslider » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:29 pm

It's funny. We thought we had it dialed in and then got spanked. I honestly think it depends on what the ducks are expecting to see. If you are setting up in a spot that lots of birds are using, then they expect to see more. If you are on a small puddle, then just a few.

What I can certainly tell you is that if you are hunting "local" ducks that have been around a while, they are definitely starting to pair up. Puddle ducks and divers alike. So that means they DON'T want to be around other ducks so a small spread is useful.

If you are hunting a spot that has a lot of migrators, then pack'em in tight.

I got to break away and get a good look at the river the other day and I will tell you to be VERY careful in a boat. There are huge icebergs floating down the river and I'm not talking about thin sheets of ice that inconveniently drag your decoys downriver, but inches thick chunks of ice just below the surface that will tear off a lower unit or possibly even rip or dent a hull.
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby thebigh20 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:16 pm

[quote="swanpig"]During the last two weeks of the season if I'm hunting on a river I either put all my decoys out (48) or I put out my 3 best hen mallards spaced about 15 yards apart. I also do not use my robo ducks unless I'm hunting in a field.[

Has the 3 hen spread worked for you? That sounds great to me! Floating ice is a pain on floaters and if I only had to take care of 3 I say :thumbsup: . The spot I am thinking of hunting, just as soon as I can break away, has been holding hundreds of mallards as of the last 3 days i checked. I can drive to this spot and hunt from shore, so thankfully I don't have to worry about becoming the titanic!

Waveslider I would say they are migrators and they have been stuffed into this little cove in the morning and the evenings I did my quick drive by scout. I was half tempted to not use any decoys, which is totally against my nature. because i am bit of a decoy geek! I also was thinking of a couple floaters and using resters and sleeper full body's on the shore, so I didn't have to worry about losing deeks to the ice!

This situation probably won't matter too much, but after they get blown out I want every advantage I can get! So thank you guys for the advice! Happy hunting!
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby Slidellduckhunter » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:16 pm

I have to agree with waveslider on both counts, decoys and ice. I've started hunting the small bank areas of the Snake looking for those singles and pairs with only 4-6 decoys and these are spaced a bit and paired up, usually with 2 hens off to the side. This seems to be working. I did this as several hunts ago the larger number of decoys on the large water did not work. On my last hunt this past Friday I was strapping down my 10 footer on the trailer and noticed the tip on one of the outboard's propeller blades missing, a fresh break. That was either from some of the possible submerged ice or ice at the ramp (of which there was lots, some 6" thick). Either way I have to be more careful but the point is the ice will bite you. The cold water and air temps will make the aluminum props very brittle also (it's only a 5HP). Now the bummer is the propeller is on backorder until end of February.
Do you know why Cajuns don't hunt elephants? Because the decoys won't fit in their pirogues!
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby Idahoryden » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:38 am

Have the prop reshaped instead of buying a new one. I have mine reshaped every year and it costs about $40-$50 and is as good as new. Kind of the major setback to running a prop on the Snake all year, but I like the extra HP I get with mine.
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby bobcanoes » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:10 pm

We have been having luck using lots of Full Body decoys where posible, Goose decoys off to the side, no Mojo, and minimal calling.
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby Snapshooter » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:12 pm

I've hunted 4 days since the 9th on the Snake (10-14 birds/day) and here is what I've seen/learned.

1) Ducks are paired up.
2) Try to set pairs...in each species.
3) No real duck will be closer than 25 feet to the bank. Set the majority of dekes 20 yards out.
4) Set mixed spreads... with species grouping. We've used mallards, widgeon, goldeneyes( only two) and 4 coots (closest to bank) in every spread.
5) 30 total decoys is all you need on the main river.
6) For 1/2 hour after shooting hours it is red hot. 5-25 bird flocks. Then...nothing. No boats on the river moving the ducks.
7) Teal mojos set 2 feet off the water for the first 20 minutes, then turn them off.
8) No calling is necessary.

Good luck to all!
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby Snapshooter » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:19 pm

I would agree with bobcanoes...goose floaters would really be nice. But I think you need at least 6. I have seen many geese and ducks grouped together on the main channel with the ducks nearer the bank. Also, the first day we used 6 full bodies on the ice and did Ok. Never set them again and did better. I just haven't seen ducks sitting on the ice on the main.
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby Slidellduckhunter » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:23 pm

Idahoryden wrote:Have the prop reshaped instead of buying a new one. I have mine reshaped every year and it costs about $40-$50 and is as good as new. Kind of the major setback to running a prop on the Snake all year, but I like the extra HP I get with mine.


The prop is small and for a 5HP and it may not be worth it but I really appreciate the suggestion, I will look into it. :thumbsup: I took it out today to try out and everything seemed okay. I can only get 1 or 2 more hunts in before the duck season ends so I'll suffer this one out. Thanks!
Do you know why Cajuns don't hunt elephants? Because the decoys won't fit in their pirogues!
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby thebigh20 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:31 pm

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Yeah definitely seen the geese and ducks together.

"no real duck will be closer than 25 feet to the bank. Set the majority of dekes 20 yards out."

That's interesting because in the area where I am hunting the mallards are sitting tight right off the bank, under overhanging trees etc..

I am picking up a half dozen fully flocked super mag mallards from Body Language Decoys this Thursday! I have to use them before season ends. I will try to pair them up with some dakota hens and see how it goes. I am going to have them do some repaints for me at the end of the season.
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby MountainGreenhead » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:42 pm

Most of the Mallards should be close to the shore unless they just recently landed at that spot. If you watch birds on the far side they will even crawl up on the shore to eat the Russian Olives. I love hunting stretches of river with a flat bank with overhanging olive trees. The birds will decoy a little upstream and pass right in front of the shooters.
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby thebigh20 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:08 pm

Went out this morning on the Snake with 6 super mag mallard floaters and a dozen full body mallards on the ice and got my limit in the first 30 mins. I floated my one man pontoon across a little channel to the wide shallow spot in between islands. Probably not the smartest thing I have ever done (lots of ice) but I felt safe the entire time. There were at least a hundred geese sitting on the ice when I floated up in the dark. It was hard to really see cause of the dense fog. I set up and literally laid on the ice in the middle of the river, water is 2-3 feet at the deepest all the way across at this spot, threw a white mattress cover over me ( dont tell my wife :smile: )and picked out just easy shots at green heads. It was over way too fast as the ducks continued to pour in as I waited for some geese to come back. It was still fun to watch them work and study their behavior. Be careful out there, the main channel looked treacherous!
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby waveslider » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:23 am

bobcanoes wrote:We have been having luck using lots of Full Body decoys where posible, Goose decoys off to the side, no Mojo, and minimal calling.


We are still calling to singles and threes. Pairs and big groups get the silent treatment unless they are super skittish and circle 20 times (which there's a lot of that going around right now).
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby Snapshooter » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:14 am

Well, we are done on the Snake. Got froze out. Too much ice and too thick. At the point we could set decoys, we were so far from the bank that decoying ducks were out of range. Looks like we had our last hunt for the year.

Regarding ducks up under the olives, or close to the bank...I haven't seen that on the main channel. I have seen that off the main and in coves/slackwater.
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby mojocoot » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:43 am

One small group (4 floaters close to ice shelf and 6 sleeps on edge of ice), and then a few pairs sprinkled up and down stream from that group with a lone hen or two. No mojo. Little bit of calling, but more just guiding them in with some soft quacks. Come back calls on singles and small groups have been working well. Been the magic ticket the last two weeks.
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby Slidellduckhunter » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:05 pm

Snapshooter wrote:Well, we are done on the Snake. Got froze out. Too much ice and too thick. At the point we could set decoys, we were so far from the bank that decoying ducks were out of range. Looks like we had our last hunt for the year.


Snapshooter, by chance did you launch early this morning from Walter's Ferry and hunt the point on the first island? If so that was me putt-putting by about 8AM. My #1 and #2 spots downstream were fairly frozen (very little open water) so I had to go to #3.

This morning was definitely my last hunt as I have to bounce out of town later this week, plus the choke lever on the carb on my outboard broke just when I started back and I had to tape the choke open - a pain.

Agree with the last 2 posts on decoys...few here and there and almost no calling. I also noticed if the mallard pairs are under the trees it is mostly off the main channel.
Do you know why Cajuns don't hunt elephants? Because the decoys won't fit in their pirogues!
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Re: Late Season Decoy Spread?

Postby hnt&fsh » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:32 pm

Hunted last Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday on the Snake. Lots of Ducks!! We were using fewer decoys than usual and a few full bodied on the shore/ice. Seemed to be effective. Very little calling. Just enough to get their attention and then maybe a few soft quacks or drake whistles as they approached. Sometimes no calling at all was the answer. I would really like to get back out for at least a couple of days before the season ends. However, I agree that with the wicked cold temps the river has gotten a bit treacherous. Lots of floating ice and then there is the submerged ice hunks that can really screw up a guys day. We run an outboard jet and we were going pretty slow (maybe 5-7 mph) working our way around a fairly large ice flow and I whacked a submerged ice hunk. Got to our spot was slowing down and tried to go into reverse.....you guessed it! No reverse, fortunately we were just coasting and only hit the bushes/shore going about 3 mph. The reverse gate was broke into two pieces! Fortunately with a jet you can still go forward so we could get back. The shift cable was also freezing up after sitting long spells (spraying it with WD40 and exercising it every so often while sitting fixed that). The boat is in our garage at night with no heat. Everyday we would get to the ramp and the water cooling impellar would be frozen so the engine would not crank. Out come the Mr. Heater heaters (2) and we would heat the lower unit for 15-20 minutes and away you go. Tried doing it at the house before leaving but the residual water would just freeze while driving! The things we do for a few limits of ducks! All that said, it has been some of the better hunting I have seen compared to the past few years. Be careful if you are on the river! That includes the boat ramps! :thumbsup:
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