Serious diver hunters only

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Serious diver hunters only

Postby longlakesd » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:27 am

I don't get it. Seems to me that divers are one of the most interesting birds and above all the most difficult birds to predict when it comes to hunting them or knowing the best way to setup for them. I have scouted and set up on an x where their has been rafts of 2000 plus bills and they seem to just change their mind the next day and go a thousand yards in some other direction and raft up. We typically end up with 1 or 2 bills per outing when we go out in NY but i am an experienced waterfowler and I know when days are good for mallards, for geese, yet after hunting divers for 4 years I have had very little success for learning hunt from hunt on what to do different. I know if you go out in most of my spot with the right wind, at our back with some precipitation its going to be a good puddler duck hunt, and that seems to always be the case. The only time I have limited out on scaup with a 2 bird limit was a few years back when a buddy of mine found a fresh raft of bills, it took 20 minutes. We were done. It was awesome. But does anyone else think this? Or is it just me ? we usually run 4 lines of 17 inch scaup foam urethane blocks I painted myself and made myself, with a 10 drake to 3 hen ratio. I know that divers in general don't like to fly over decoys and they are very species specific. And we set up accordingly. Its just that it seems too many times that we have that flock of 12, 100 yards out and they kinda give us a look but never finish. The other day for the first time we had a flock of 10 bills decoy and were 45 yards out when we only had 1 line out perpendicular to the boat with a wind parallel to the boat and shoreline. In this particulair case we were setup 5 or 10 yards further then we generally do setup from our decoy rigs. Could it be that we are setting our boat to close to the decoy rig? typically we only get single and occasionally doubles for bills that will decoy but we have good success with buffies and goldeneye. They just seem so hard to pattern or predict as opposed to geese or mallards. Also we hunt out of a 16 ft low profile lund fishing boat that i converted to a duck boat whcih has a scissor blind that pops up for us.
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby GREGS » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:17 am

I have the same problem with the bills.I have watched thousands skirt the outside of my spread when hunting out of a boat blind.GE's buffleheads redheads seem to commit no problem,but bills only here and there.
I have only been targeting divers about as long as you and have never gone with a guide or actually anyone who knows what they are doing.Kinda trial and error.
I have been having better luck hunting out of the layout with the bills. If you want to give it a try some time PM me.We hunt the same areas anyway.
Some of the other guys have been hunting divers out of the boat all their lives so I'll let them dispense with the advice, as I need it as much as you do. Good Luck!
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby 870 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:58 am

Are you closing the door for them. I always leave a door open as to give them a way out of the decoys. They want to see open water in front of them as an escape route. I set up to where my furthest decoy is in range. Most guys go with a C or J hook, I don't. Mine looks like a large sperm cells with multiple tails which are my long lines. My long lines aren't set in rows ether I stretch them out away from me I only overlap the decoy by three or four. I'll run two to three lines this way, one line stops and then their on the next line heading to where my singles are thus the feed. Also I keep my decoys close on the first line stretching them out between the second and third lines the farther you get away the thinner the decoy placement. Then I have a couple of Drake Can's I have on thirty foot lines I take down and set them at 100 yard and 200 yards to catch their eyes. They seem to pick up on the Cans and follow them to the lines and then to their death hehehehe
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby longlakesd » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:34 am

870 wrote:Are you closing the door for them. I always leave a door open as to give them a way out of the decoys. They want to see open water in front of them as an escape route. I set up to where my furthest decoy is in range. Most guys go with a C or J hook, I don't. Mine looks like a large sperm cells with multiple tails which are my long lines. My long lines aren't set in rows ether I stretch them out away from me I only overlap the decoy by three or four. I'll run two to three lines this way, one line stops and then their on the next line heading to where my singles are thus the feed. Also I keep my decoys close on the first line stretching them out between the second and third lines the farther you get away the thinner the decoy placement. Then I have a couple of Drake Can's I have on thirty foot lines I take down and set them at 100 yard and 200 yards to catch their eyes. They seem to pick up on the Cans and follow them to the lines and then to their death hehehehe
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Ok, I will try this setup this weekend and see if it makes a difference ... I will do 4 overlapping lines by only 3 to 4 decoys and then put more bills on single sets so I can make a cluster for them to decoy into, (in front of the boat). I like the looks of this spread though the more I think about it
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby 870 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:59 am

One thing I failed to mention is, I do step my lines, giving 10 to 15 feet between my lines as they stretch down from me. So as giving me enough room to drive through the lines heading down them, if that makes any sense lol I wish I could draw a pic it probably would make more sense lol
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby GREGS » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:37 pm

870, How often do birds just pitch with the cans?
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby 870 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:56 pm

If I understand the question more times than not . I've seen them come up to the Cans then turn towards the longlines. Now this has happened, you might have a hunter heading out or back in stop and pick up your decoy even with 30ft of line and a good weight on it. I wrote on the bottom of them, That I placed them there and to put them back lol :rolleyes: Small price to pay I guess. So far no one has taken the decoys :thumbsup:
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby toolmaker » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:21 pm

well you have to scout, and find where they have been feeding....places they have already keyed in on themselves...that's #1

#2 the more mass you have the more they want to pile into your spread. that's just a fact...watch flocks pile into other flocks and they run down the straglers to the mass and drop in nearby... if you have a small spread, you might pull small groups or pairs and singles...but the bigger flocks will keep going.....

I used to set 120 blocks for bluebills and we would pull birds easily...but It was just so much work..i went to a smaller spread. It may take a little longer, but the limits are so small, I can get it in one pass.....

its dynamic for sure..... feeding grounds, in between feeding grounds if there are a lot of birds in the area

sometimes there is like one flock of 50 birds in an area, you will have to be right on to gun them.... they wont splinter off much like the monster flocks, and there wont be as much trading back and forth with a small flock..

I also like to be set up on shore with a cross wind, letting the birds swing in parallel to shore and the blind and sail on out easy if they want to......big high bank shoreline with a steady wind straight out is tougher to decoy birds into

if you have ever scouted flocks on the water...they look like a big line.... they don't look like a big circle of birds.....its a long thin line

look at this flock with birds piling in... they are heading for the center of the "line" there is another line 50 yards beyond... they form long lines on the water...they want to see that when flying in low to your spread

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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby 870 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:09 pm

I hope this gives you a better idea of what I was talking about, defiantly not to scale. I do find for me I have better success setting up this way. To each their own Try this as a starting point make changes to fit your style
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby longlakesd » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:20 pm

870 wrote:I hope this gives you a better idea of what I was talking about, defiantly not to scale. I do find for me I have better success setting up this way. To each their own Try this as a starting point make changes to fit your style
Image



I like this setup ... almost what i had in mind from what you has described but this really helps .. thanks for your time and input .. probably one of the most trusted source for this info on here .. if not the most haha ... thanks a lot :thumbsup:
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby longlakesd » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:21 pm

Also how far is that pod from the boat ? that you setup in front
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby toolmaker » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:15 pm

longlakesd wrote:Also how far is that pod from the boat ? that you setup in front



looks like about 7/8" to 1" away......dont know that 870 does it!!! you know he needs to \get close!! his eyes arent what they used to be!!!

i have seen guys run lines right from their duckwater-tdb style boats.... decoys within 5 feet of the boat!!!

i dont usually do that because my boat doesnt look like a rock

be adaptive

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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby 870 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:49 pm

Tools right I bring them close enough so they have powder burns. My farthest decoys are in range
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby DukBum » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:58 pm

Alot of times we set the long lines parallel with the boat and we always leave the end open to give them a way out.We also have a half Doz super mag Blue Bill decoys that go on the furthest end of the long lines for eye candy .I like 870 ideal of setting the Drake Can decoys out to get the birds to notice the decoys.870 and Tool have given you some good info to go buy
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby DukBum » Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:15 pm

Another tip that you can try is add a few bufflehead or goldeneye decoys to your long lines it works :thumbsup:
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby longlakesd » Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:05 am

sounds good guys thanks for the info
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Re: Serious diver hunters only

Postby longlakesd » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:28 am

well hunted the lake and saw very few divers ... nothing like it was 2 weeks ago where we saw quite a few ... hopefully we get some new birds but we did try that spread and it was awesome for what should of decoyed did ... had a group of 8 bills decoy and they were 10 yards to the pod then they split but were just about shootable ... dont know what they didn't like but if we had our boat centered more on the spread itself instead of the pod we would of had a great shooting opportunity ....
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