Small vs. large set for late season

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Small vs. large set for late season

Postby mr.green » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:04 am

Anyone have an opinion of using a lot of decoys vs. small groups at this time of year? Experiencing a lot of fly bys without any decoying in.
Would love to see some pics if anyone was out today.


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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby duk_hunter155 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:49 am

My opinion is on bright days that's most likely what happens weather is the key. In front of or during bad weather they will decoy, early in morn they will decoy but when the sun comes up and no weather take those long shots because that's all your going to get for the most part unless they are divers then they will decoy in any weather if you have their attention.
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby papageno » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:01 am

Late season, i use a rig of half a dozen cork deeks.... Works great even on bright days. Its the cork, not the number of deeks. Too heavy and expensive for any more. I would rather put out one corker than a hundred plastics.
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby RangerX » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:13 pm

papageno wrote:Late season, i use a rig of half a dozen cork deeks.... Works great even on bright days. Its the cork, not the number of deeks. Too heavy and expensive for any more. I would rather put out one corker than a hundred plastics.


Interesting; what is your theory behind that (other than how they ride)? What do you think about higher quality plastic decoys, such as those that are fully flocked or have flocked heads?

Late season open water where I hunt, big spreads work pretty good... however, as we already know, finding the flight path of the birds and where they are feeding is most important.

For puddle ducks, I hunt over flocked heads and fully flocked blacks... I've seen a big difference in the past two years, which I believe is a result from the flocking.

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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby papageno » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:42 pm

THis practice is certainly only for puddlers... Rivers and lakes where they get shot at heavily. I havent tried the fully flocked deeks. i would think you would have good results with them, too. I believe that Its the glare off the plastic that turns them off. They pick up a glare as they circle the spread. If they dont see it, theyll come in with a little gentle calling.

The last couple of weeks the birds have been very wary because theyve been around a while. we had them looking hard but not coming in... Next time, we put out the corks and, although there werent many around, they circled a couple of times and finished just fine. Ive been doing this for many years in heavily hunted areas with what i believe to be great success.
This coming week, you wont need to do this because there should be plenty of new birds around. I also recomend staying later in the morning in heavily hunted areas. Birds will get accustomed to flying later, just as they do roosting after lst. They know they will get pounded early. They have really been heavily hunted the last couple of weeks and they know how to avoid it.
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby mr.green » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:44 pm

Thanks. Any opinion on weather mixing in goose decoys helps or hurts? I had about 10 geese set up up river of my duck decoys so the ducks would land in a certain spot but no ducks would commit. Just trying to evaluate all aspects of what might have gone wrong last hunt.


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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby RangerX » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:48 pm

papageno wrote:THis practice is certainly only for puddlers... Rivers and lakes where they get shot at heavily. I havent tried the fully flocked deeks. i would think you would have good results with them, too. I believe that Its the glare off the plastic that turns them off. They pick up a glare as they circle the spread. If they dont see it, theyll come in with a little gentle calling.

The last couple of weeks the birds have been very wary because theyve been around a while. we had them looking hard but not coming in... Next time, we put out the corks and, although there werent many around, they circled a couple of times and finished just fine. Ive been doing this for many years in heavily hunted areas with what i believe to be great success.
This coming week, you wont need to do this because there should be plenty of new birds around. I also recomend staying later in the morning in heavily hunted areas. Birds will get accustomed to flying later, just as they do roosting after lst. They know they will get pounded early. They have really been heavily hunted the last couple of weeks and they know how to avoid it.


Good point on the glare...

I've noticed similar behavior around the heavy hunted spots here in Vermont... late morning and afternoon hunts around the refuge areas produce very well with a handful of deeks and almost no calling... cover is also essential... we started noticing birds circle once and dump in once we added flip-top doors to the top of our blind... seems once they circle 2-3 times, they know something is up.

Most of the time, I'll use 18-24 decoys for puddlers, though, in the late season up here, when everything starts to freeze, we'll throw everything out, as we typically see much larger flocks and concentrations. Works well if you can bare the cold...

I
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby RangerX » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:54 pm

mr.green wrote:Thanks. Any opinion on weather mixing in goose decoys helps or hurts? I had about 10 geese set up up river of my duck decoys so the ducks would land in a certain spot but no ducks would commit. Just trying to evaluate all aspects of what might have gone wrong last hunt.


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Depends... are you hunting for geese as well? In a large decoy spread, mixing them can be natural looking... and work.

If you are hunting just ducks, I'm not sold on using geese as an effective tool...confidence, maybe... but I've never experienced any conclusive evidence...

If hunting for both geese and ducks I'd seperate them, ducks will tend to land with their species... Geese typically setup behind the goose decoys, so don't set them up too far...usually the far end either side so you can get a passing shot... for geese (cans) calling is important... they'll typically decoy to where you are calling, more so than ducks. Keep that in mind...
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby papageno » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:19 pm

Ive never been decisive about this. If its an area where gees typically are, why not use them next to your duck spread.

i will say that this year in maine i hunted with ful bods only on a frozen marsh pond area. Geese occassionally rested on the spot, and when i set a few goose ful bods next to the duck deeks, the ducks came by better. The geese never showed, though.
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby RangerX » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:22 pm

I've used full body geese on a point/beach before, agree there... looks very natural, certainly can't hurt anyone's chances.

Hunting geese on the water is always hit or miss for me... we do the best on small ponds and lakes with resident geese, places where we know they will be at certain times.

Much more fun and productive in the fields I think...plus you can drive the trailer out and not get wet.
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby papageno » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:20 pm

RangerX wrote:
I've noticed similar behavior around the heavy hunted spots here in Vermont... late morning and afternoon hunts around the refuge areas produce very well with a handful of deeks and almost no calling... cover is also essential... we started noticing birds circle once and dump in once we added flip-top doors to the top of our blind... seems once they circle 2-3 times, they know something is up.

I

With the corkers, they circle three times and then come in wings cupped.
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby RangerX » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:58 pm

Well, geno....You just convinced me to break out the llbean decoys my wife got me... :)
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby FFT » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:31 pm

Ive seen ducks stool into crab bouys. Not because someone was hunting them, but simply to find a companion. These are working gear for the crabbers. My point being that the quality of the decoy is less important than the obvious presence of the hunter.

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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby papageno » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:25 pm

Concealment is mandatory. Sme of the sloppy behavior you got away with on opening day wont work now, true.... However, i doubt a duck has ever been shot at stooling into a crab bouy. I believe that they recognize the plastic appearance and associate it with getting shot at. the basic plan is, as always, be where they want to be and dont scare them away.
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby DrakeH2oFowl » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:09 am

Your hide is more important than anything else IMO, not the number of decoys.

Buddy & I hunted a field yesterday morning over like a dozen Can shells & handful of FBs & birds just dumped in but wouldn't finish cause our blinds stuck out a little in the snow. We ditched the blinds & just laid in the snow under a white sheet & then they worked really nice. We then ditched that field for a different one, set up & started stacking birds. We had like 20+ between us so we invited a few other people in the afternoon to come shoot their Can limits. Ended with like 45 birds yesterday.

Rule of thumb I use is big area, big spread...Little area, little spread. Unless things are locked up, then I will stuff birds into a hole. Always have your most realistic decoys downwind near the landing zone too. Usually FBs, then shells can go further upwind, etc.
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby mr.green » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:30 pm

I really never thought I would get response that was given. Thank you all very much. We had a great hunt and enjoyed the experience. You are all correct in your info. I'm thinking if corks and a second job to support them. Without them we went minimal with some goose floaters and two big foot standing on the edge. I ended up with 3 geese and a mallard. It's amazing what advice is provided from this forum. Many thanks. ImageImage


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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby papageno » Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:52 pm

Right on Mr. Green!!!
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby RangerX » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:17 pm

nice work!
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby duk_hunter155 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:50 am

I hunted this past Sat and it just proved my earlier post on this thread it's all about the weather and conditions. Hunted the north zone had been planning all week to get out on Sat but Sat morning I awoke to find the temp at -1 so I pussyed out and called off the hunt disappointing my nephews. So went to the diner to meet friends and was looking outside at the bright sunshine thinking I made the right choice. But having nothing to do for the day I decided to take a ride to the launch ramp and see what the bird action was on the river. When I got there one one brave souls trailer was in the lot and I said to myself he loves duck hunting temp was all the way up to 7 degrees and it was 930 am. As I sat in my car at the launch ramp didn't see any bird action nor was there a cloud in the sky. The river was fairly iced up with open pockets between the ice flows. Then as I was about to leave thinking I made the right call a bull can landed right in front of me at the ramp. That is the only duck I have not yet gotten. So I watched it dive for awhile and then saw another group of about 5 canvasbacks land in the main river. I couldn't take it anymore so I called my nephews and declared the hunt was back on. So drove home hooked up the boat and off we went got back to the launch ramp at around 1130 tide going out. Still just the one trailer in the lot and temps now in the high teens. We were set up at 1230 with two spinners one scaup spinner and one pintail spinner, 6 pintails, 8 mallards, 1 black and 8 cannvasbacks.

And then it started birds coming in every 15 mins! Didn't matter what we were doing standing peeing, moving the boat, they just wanted in. At one point there was a cloud of cans that came right in and landed next to the can decoys. So getting back to my point, here it was a bright sunny day, three yahoo's moving around in the boat and all the ducks wanted was to come in. Decoys were touching each other didn't matter. The Canadian goose situation was even curiouser yet, coulds of geese constantly moving got on the calls and without any goose decoys called them right in to the duck spread wings all set again they like the spinners. My opinion is the white can decoys and the spinners make a huge difference, btw my spinners are wind spinners. More of my advise is take the remote controlled, with dead batteries and retire them. Get yourself some ureaduk wind spinners and if there are any ducks around you will get shots at them.

sorry just my 2 cents. If I knew how to post pics on here I would.
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby papageno » Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:12 pm

duk_hunter155 wrote:My opinion is on bright days that's most likely what happens weather is the key. In front of or during bad weather they will decoy, early in morn they will decoy but when the sun comes up and no weather take those long shots because that's all your going to get for the most part unless they are divers then they will decoy in any weather if you have their attention.


In this statement, you identify a specific hunting challenge - how to get stale puddle ducks to commit on sunny days after dawn. I responded with an solution to that problem that I have been consistently successful with. I believe it was also the gist of Mr. Green's question. I like hunting on warm sunny days just as much as cold miserable ones. Some seasons, the weather won't work for you (as it is now), so you have to play the ball where it lies. Although one will generally shoot more birds in good hunting weather, it is not the only determinant of a successful hunt.
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby papageno » Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:47 pm

RangerX.... How did the bean corkers work for you?
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby mr.green » Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:43 am

I haven't purchased any yet. Trying to do my homework first. I head to Maine every summer and will make a stop in Freeport to check them out. Finished the season in coastal with three geese and a bufflehead. The corks will be an off season purchase though. Do you use bean corks?


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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby papageno » Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:33 am

I use a small set of mallards and acouple of blacks and teal by guy named Ron Laber out of Cambridge MD. i got them in 2000. Ill post a couple of pics when i get a chance. RangerX was talking about beans. Theres a fellow who posts on the maine forum named Decoycarver who has been at it awhile and would probably carve you some. I hunted with him this year up there and hes going to teach me to carve this year. i want to add a couple of pinnie cork working blocks to my spread. Send him a pm.... Tellhim i sent you. hes in Brunswick.
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby RangerX » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:59 am

papageno wrote:RangerX.... How did the bean corkers work for you?


Our season ended in December; did not have a chance to try them out. Instead, I got together with a friend of mine who carves and I'm working on my first hand made decoy. Using cedar... about halfway through my first mallard. :) If I enjoy this, I'll probably buy some cork and do a small set of blacks to pass the time during the off season.

Thought about this post over the past few weeks, and though big decoy spreads are not always required, I've come to the conclusion that it really depends on where you are hunting and what the current bird count is. I've used anywhere from 6 to 100 decoys, I have most of my success with the large spreads during peak migration (puddle ducks) and typically am able to get anywhere from 10 - 40 mallards commiting to a spread when I've got an equal or bigger spread to show. Again, really depends on the time of the season, and what you're seeing for birds in a given area. Most important detail (in my opinion) comes down to scouting, it's really that simple for me. Find when and where the birds are concentrated and get setup.

When the Whistlers show up here in VT, it doesn't take much, 2-3 dozen on gang lines does the trick...

Regarding cover, most certainly important... however, I've found on the bad weather days, they are less concerned and much more willing to commit... even if your cover is lacking. Cover with the Whistlers much less important...
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Re: Small vs. large set for late season

Postby papageno » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:23 pm

I'll try to remember to take some close-ups, but here are a couple of pics of the corkers on a beaver pond in the fog from the other day.
decoys2.jpg

decoys.jpg


Love to see your work when it's done RangerX.
I've always gotten a kick out of local terminology for ducks. In New England, goldeneyes are 'whistlers'. Down in Maryland, we call them 'whiffers' (like the ball)… 'whistlers' are tundra swans down there. In NJ neither seems to have a nickname as there are very few of either around here. I can't stop calling scaup 'blackheads' - they don't know what the heck I'm talking about - 'broadies' is the most common name around here.

No doubt, if there are tons of birds in a big area, a larger spread is a better plan.
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