Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

If you are a migratory bird hunter, share your New Hampshire duck hunting tactics here.

Moderators: JustinNH, Ross R

Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby HeritageHunter » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:39 am

I scored a few gift cards this XMas and this past season I used a bunch of dekes that were over 20yrs old and had only one make it to the end of the season. So I was hoping to get some suggestions on goose/duck dekes. I am looking for floaters only, my budget is about $250 bucks, and I figure I need at least 1 doz ducks and 6 geese to get started. So I figured I will throw out to the forum and hear what everybody has to say...
Keep the tradition alive and take a kid hunting!!!!

Honor our soldiers. Their sacrifice has given us our freedom.
User avatar
HeritageHunter
State Moderator
 
Posts: 567
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Southern NH


Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby mojo » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:08 pm

Opinions on decoys will vary greatly...it's like opening up the Ford/Chevy/Dodge/Toyota truck debate....

My advice would be to get whatever you can afford. Guys were killing ducks long before flocking, HD paints, and picture perfect molds were the norm. Just think about the type of hunting you're likely to do, and then go from there. For example, if you walk into spots then weight and size will be a factor. If you beat them up and toss them in the boat or bag, then the paint durability will be a factor. If you're hunting bigger water you'll want a weighted keel and decoy that will ride well in the water but will weigh more.

I use some older G&H super mag black duck and mallard dekes. There are a lot of better looking decoys out there, but the paint on G&H will last forever, they ride awesome even in big chop/wind, and they are very visible due to their size. I prefer to always have some blacks in the spread as the silhouette stands out from a distance.

Avery (GHG) are cheap and they make a good variety, but I've heard they have some issues with paint. I have some woodies by them and they have held up fine so far but they were made before they started making them in China and selling them cheap.

My divers are old foamers with cedar heads that are older than me. I got from my dad and repainted them. My geese are cheap flambeaus that were all I could afford when back in college. They suck, but I've shot geese over them.

My dad has some Cabela's real image mallards that look incredible but the paint started to chip on the first hunt.

My advice would be to spend more on the goose decoys and get a good brand, and use whatever is left over to get cheaper duck decoys. A dozen mallards are cheaper to replace than solid goose decoys.

In the end it's going to matter much more where you set up and how well you conceal yourself. If you're in the right spot and well hidden, the ducks won't care whether your dekes are GHG, Cabela's, bigfoots, or flambeaus....
mojo
hunter
 
Posts: 244
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:15 pm
Location: New Hampshire

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby Mike M. » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:55 pm

I agree with Mojo on the decoys. Everyone is going to tell you something different. Personally, I'm a herters guy. I'm not a big fan of plastic duck decoys so I don't know what I would buy if I were just starting out today. G&H are good decoys though that have nice size to them and good paint jobs.

For goose decoys I would highly recommend big foot floaters. They are very nice, large, realistic looking decoys that are well made and have good paint.

What I mean when I say they have good paint is that the paint actually stays on the decoy. No flaking, peeling with G&H and bigfoots.
A serious reduction in the population of black ducks would mean the end of waterfowl hunting for the majority of the New England sportsmen.

Rachel Carson, 1947
User avatar
Mike M.
hunter
 
Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:09 am
Location: MA

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby Hevi-D » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:19 pm

GHG Over-size series.....put them in a 6 or 12-slot bag and forget the paint issues.
User avatar
Hevi-D
hunter
 
Posts: 178
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:20 pm

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby capt1972 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:40 pm

mojo wrote:Opinions on decoys will vary greatly...it's like opening up the Ford/Chevy/Dodge/Toyota truck debate.....



Toyota? Really?
Image
User avatar
capt1972
hunter
 
Posts: 2215
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:36 pm
Location: Seacoast NH

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby HeritageHunter » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:00 pm

Mike and Mojo thanks for the info. :thumbsup:

To be honest I was hoping to get a bunch of responses. Back in my "Lurking Days" :lol3: I got a lot of info from guys debating calls, decoys, etc.

So I was leaning towards the Big Foot floaters and now i am sold. What bag do i get to carry them(Avery?). I read on one of DHC's other chats that Big Foot dekes do not fit in all bags.

Keep the suggestions for duck dekes coming. GHG caught my I and at the price in Cabelas I can get a couple of different species.

Should I have several species in my spread? I have seen ducks and geese together but never noticed if woodies, teal, mallards, etc will feed/rest together.
Keep the tradition alive and take a kid hunting!!!!

Honor our soldiers. Their sacrifice has given us our freedom.
User avatar
HeritageHunter
State Moderator
 
Posts: 567
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Southern NH

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby mojo » Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:23 am

Toyota? Really?


Haven't met too many Tundra owners huh?


I was going to recommend bigfoots for geese as well. My partner has them but this is the first year we've hunted over them so I wasn't sure on their durability. They definitely look good and ride well, and the paint doesn't seem to be an issue....and we just toss them in a standard decoy bag.

Regarding the slot bags, I honestly can't stand them. I'm in a hurry and I don't like to baby my gear. Duck hunting is hard enough without treating every bit of my gear as precious...that goes for the gun, the dekes, and everything else. I often walk in to spots as well so I need a bag that can fit on my back and is not bulky to carry. I like to wind em up, chuck em in, and get moving.

As far as species and variety, it's really going to depend on where you hunt and what species you are likely to encounter. You won't see geese in tight flooded timber, nor divers, but you will see woodies and mallards. You're less likely to see woodies on bigger water but you will see more mallards and blacks. You won't see woodies on the salt but you'll see plenty of blacks, buffleheads and a mix of just about everything else. Set up for the type of area you're hunting. It's good to have a decent variety so you can hunt a variety of areas, but that doesn't mean you put out every decoy you own.....

As for teal, I have a dozen, and I set a few hens out just because they're small and easy to carry, but really it won't matter. Teal decoy well to other decoys and often mix up other species. Most puddle ducks will...

I tend to put out a distinct cluster of black ducks, a separate small group of mallards, and sort of connect the two with a smaller cluster of both. I like to put the geese out further in the most visible area as they REALLY stand out and help with visibility. Divers are separated out as well for visibility and simply because I don't want to shoot the other decoys when they come in low and fast :biggrin:.

A good thing to do is after the action has slowed and before you pick up your spread (or when you're retrieving a bird), take a far walk out and look back at your setup from a distance. You'll be surprised at how different things look from the birds' perspective and it will give you better ideas of how to set up next time. If you hunt with a buddy have him stay hidden as well...you'll be surprised just how visible he is sometimes and it will give you a better idea of proper concealment.
mojo
hunter
 
Posts: 244
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:15 pm
Location: New Hampshire

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby duck envy » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:27 pm

Been lurking here a lil bit, but figured I may as well jump in.
I can tell you that the GHG Pro Grade mallards that I hunted over the later part of this season, seem to be real nice. We tossed them into big decoy bags, busted ice off them throughout the hunts and tossed them onto the bank, into the boat and into the truck. We didn't baby them. The paint held up great so far. I figured for sure that the paint would chip when I was chipping ice off them, but it didn't.
I just received a pair of GHG oversize "duck butts" ($15), a pair of GHG "skimmer ducks" ($17), a pair of GHG "headless feeders" ($15) and a box of the GHG Pro Grade Wood Ducks ($35). They all look to be just as good of quality as the first box of mallards I bought. Best part was that they were all on sale. So, minimal money spent and also helps ease my worries of whether or not they will last for the "long run".
Just because I wanted to make the decoys last as long as possible and because I'm a bit anal in the care of my stuff... I bought a couple of the Averys 12 slot decoy bags to store all of the above. I figure this saves on paint wear and plain ol' keeps things organized.

Besides the decoys themselves, the decoy weight system makes a big difference in time to setup and tear down a decoy spread.
I sprung for the J hooked 8oz weights and rubber snubbers to go on each decoy ($20-something per dozen). Nice to be able to wind up the weight and just clip it on the keel. No weights coming loose and getting tangled in the rest of the gear. I know the 8oz (or 7.5 - whatever they are) may be a bit heavy for a duck decoy on the pond, but with the way the ice was grabbing our lines on the river, I figured the extra weight was helping at least some to keep the decoys in position.

I'm real happy with them and the ducks (mallards and blacks) sure seemed to like them. We had a lot of ducks land in the spread and not one bird said it didn't like the decoys. :biggrin:

So, there's my two cents for what it's worth.
Last edited by duck envy on Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
duck envy
hunter
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:45 am
Location: NH

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby NHDuckHunter » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:17 pm

capt1972 wrote:
mojo wrote:Opinions on decoys will vary greatly...it's like opening up the Ford/Chevy/Dodge/Toyota truck debate.....



Toyota? Really?

I was going to say the same thing!! Who throws Toyota in to that mix?


Here's my decoy take, I lose stuff. If I don't lose stuff, I enevitably break things. If somehow the stars align, and I don't break or lose my decoys, the guys I hunt with shoot them. I buy new decoys often. I buy the GHG because they are cheap and look great new. I also love the fact that they are coming out with variety packs now. I just bought three different variety packs when they went on sale at a shop in Maine just south of Portland that I will not name. Now I think I have an awesome looking spread. It'll last a few years, then I will realize my 4 dozen decoys are now just 2 dozen and I will paint the two that are left, and buy new ones.
User avatar
NHDuckHunter
hunter
 
Posts: 1279
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:28 am
Location: New Hampshire

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby Mike M. » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:49 pm

heritage hunter do you hunt inland or coastal or both?

I would start out with a dozen mallards, and a 4 pack of big foot goose floaters. If you hunt coastal areas get a dozen black duck decoys. In coastal areas I put out more blacks than mallards. I will be honest with you, you don't need a lot of decoys to hunt in many places. I rarely put out more than a dozen and a half ( I hunt mostly coastal and inland in MA). There are many days when I don't even put out a dozen.

As for bags, it's really a matter of preference but I do like the individual slot bags. Keep in mind most of my decoys are hand painted so I do take a little more care with them. I bought all of mine before Avery was in business. My bags are made by a lady in New Jesey named Diane Svelling. She makes the bags herself one at a time. Her site is customdecoybags.com Here goose decoy bag fits big foot floaters nicely.

In time you can add to your species spread like adding a few greenwing teal and wood ducks for early season and goldeneye and bufflehead for later season if you gun coastal areas. If you think you'll hunt sea duck someday you'll want to add eider and scoter decoys. As you can see it's an addiction and in due time you'll probably have a ton of decoys.

As for decoy rigging, I like a slighter thicker decoy line. Inland I use 6 oz strap weights with 6-8' of line. coastal areas I use 16 oz loop style weights with 20' of line. Sea ducks I use 5lb navy style boat anchors for weights and 30-60' of line.

Good luck. :beer:
A serious reduction in the population of black ducks would mean the end of waterfowl hunting for the majority of the New England sportsmen.

Rachel Carson, 1947
User avatar
Mike M.
hunter
 
Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:09 am
Location: MA

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby Benny8 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:05 pm

[quoteMy bags are made by a lady in New Jesey named Diane Svelling. She makes the bags herself one at a time. Her site is customdecoybags.com][/quote]
Not to hijack the thread, but Mike, is she still doing it? I read on another thread that she was taking money but not fullfilling her end of the bargain.
HH, have you thought about saving your gift cards for other gear and try making some of your own decoys during the off season? Just some food for thought. It is fun and very rewarding shooting birds over your own creations. What ever you decide, best of luck.
Benny8
hunter
 
Posts: 649
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:10 pm

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby Mike M. » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:32 pm

I just assumed she still was Benny after checking to see that her site was still up and running. I haven't bought any decoy bags in years. I hadn't heard anything about people paying and not getting their item. That's interesting.
A serious reduction in the population of black ducks would mean the end of waterfowl hunting for the majority of the New England sportsmen.

Rachel Carson, 1947
User avatar
Mike M.
hunter
 
Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:09 am
Location: MA

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby HeritageHunter » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:58 pm

Duck Envy welcome to the addiction.

This past season I only hunted inland but I am hoping to give coastal a try next season if I can get some locations I can hunt that do not require a dog to retireve birds. I will definetly get some black duck dekes in case.

Benny8 building my own dekes sounds like a lot of fun, but I have no idea where to begin.

I figure get the gear to start and go from there.
Keep the tradition alive and take a kid hunting!!!!

Honor our soldiers. Their sacrifice has given us our freedom.
User avatar
HeritageHunter
State Moderator
 
Posts: 567
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Southern NH

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby mojo » Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:20 pm

I am hoping to give coastal a try next season if I can get some locations I can hunt that do not require a dog to retireve birds.


Dog? That's what your partner is for. I'd put my buddy Phil up against most anyone's labrador. He's brought back a few birds from some insane cover this season. He's a little slow but his drive is second to none (reformed deer hunter) :yes:

Joking aside, I've been hunting the coast for the last 4 seasons without a dog. I usually have a kayak with me just in case, but the spots I hunt I now know well and time them with the tide so that bird retrieval is always possible....although it can still be a pain. Definitely be careful with a dog or without......that mud can be nasty. Thankfully I'll be getting a pup this spring, which will really change my hunting possibilities in the coming years, although he'll still be a little too young for next season.
mojo
hunter
 
Posts: 244
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:15 pm
Location: New Hampshire

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby Benny8 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:56 am

HeritageHunter wrote:
Benny8 building my own dekes sounds like a lot of fun, but I have no idea where to begin.


A good medium to start with is foam. Most of the time you can get it free, if not, the 2" blue or pink from home depot is ~$14 and you can get about a dozen decoys from it. The decoy forum on DHC has a sticky at the top called foamer process 101 and 202(?). Very good information. Also www.workingdecoys.net has a wealth of information. Good luck and if you do delve into decoy making and you have any questions, shoot me a PM. Aaron
Benny8
hunter
 
Posts: 649
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:10 pm

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby capt1972 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:40 pm

NHDuckHunter wrote:
capt1972 wrote:
mojo wrote:Opinions on decoys will vary greatly...it's like opening up the Ford/Chevy/Dodge/Toyota truck debate.....



Toyota? Really?

I was going to say the same thing!! Who throws Toyota in to that mix?



thank you, that's what i meant!
Image
User avatar
capt1972
hunter
 
Posts: 2215
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:36 pm
Location: Seacoast NH

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby KillerKowalski » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:49 pm

This is reply to the recommendation for Diane customdecoybags.com

I hate to say it, but I have fell victim to Diane now. I ordered a bag a month ago and she promptly cashed my check. Three weeks later and three e-mails I still have not received a bag or any communications from her. I am greatly disappointed.

Google her name and see all the different forums of her taking people's money and never fulfilling orders.
User avatar
KillerKowalski
hunter
 
Posts: 1921
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:25 pm

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby tgs » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:23 pm

Diane has NEVER been fast. I have six of her bags and just ordered a seventh, but not looking for it tomorrow. I will be very surprised if you don't get your product...

I shared your same frustration with my first order, like it or not, that's how she does business. Her product is nice and most that order from her know that's just how it is.
"Pass a Tradition Along"
User avatar
tgs
hunter
 
Posts: 708
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:38 am
Location: Shapleigh, Maine

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby KillerKowalski » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:30 pm

Fast or not communication is key in a retail business. Plus, the Google results prove I am not the only one having a problem. Took another forum members money for 14 months! C'mon. That is not how we do business in a America. Appropriate actions will be taken. I have given her enough opportunities to contact me. This is ridiculous. I wish I would have Googled before making the purchase, which is why I am informing others before a purchase is made.

Another forum member posted that she did issue a refund. The refund check was denied by his bank and labeled as fraud. His bank would not honor it and he was out the cash on five bags.
User avatar
KillerKowalski
hunter
 
Posts: 1921
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:25 pm

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby Mike M. » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:14 pm

That's unfortunate. I own about 6 of her bags and never had an issue. That said, 14 months is ridiculous. I know people are busy and all but it shouldn't take any longer to send a customer a quick email informing them of the status of their order than it does to write this post.

I wonder what kind of decoys the original poster of this thread ended up buying?
A serious reduction in the population of black ducks would mean the end of waterfowl hunting for the majority of the New England sportsmen.

Rachel Carson, 1947
User avatar
Mike M.
hunter
 
Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:09 am
Location: MA

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby killnkyle » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:21 am

I bought two dozen Flambeau Mallards when they were on sale at the store NHduckhunter was talking about. They were like $25 a dozen on sale and I think $40 regular price. I liked them because they came 6hens and 6drakes which I think is better for early on to have more hen decoys since the drakes don't have a whole lot of Plumage at that point. I heard the paint wasn't the best but I added a clear matte finish ( I think I used Krylon) which has kept the paint up pretty well, except for opening day when my buddy blasted one. I have yet to buy any black duck decoys because so far a small pocket of hen mallards has had the same effect for me.

I also really like the keels on the flambeau's they have a few more attachment points which makes it easier to get the dekes facing where you want them.
When you have shot one bird flying you have shot all birds flying. They are all different and they fly in different ways but the sensation is the same and the last one is as good as the first.
Ernest Hemingway
User avatar
killnkyle
hunter
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:37 pm

Re: Duck/Goose Decoy suggestions

Postby NHDuckHunter » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:56 pm

NHDuckHunter wrote:
capt1972 wrote:
mojo wrote: It'll last a few years, then I will realize my 4 dozen decoys are now just 2 dozen and I will paint the two that are left, and buy new ones.

Thats about right.... anybody looking for 2 dozen 2 year old decoys? I posted them up in the classified. :lol3:
User avatar
NHDuckHunter
hunter
 
Posts: 1279
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:28 am
Location: New Hampshire


Return to New Hampshire Duck Hunting

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests