Down time at work, cold front last night, and a pretty good season so far have all combined to allow me to share some experience. I said experience... Not knowledge. What follows is the ramblings of a hunter on the pros and cons of some of the equipment I am most/least impressed with. It seems this time of year everybody comes on asking about different decoys and gear and I thought I would clear up some questions with some things I've found of particular use.
Yes: Carhartt Helmet Liner http://www.carhartt.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... tId=111789
Been impressed with it so far after a couple seasons. Out of the way when it needs to be, doesn't add bulk at all.
Least impressed with: Tanglefree Buck Gardener Signature. Garbage. Sorry, Tanglefree... and Buck... But these decoys DO NOT hold up. Great mold, but the paint... Lordy, these dekes have to be handled with care. If they had my name on them, I'd call Tanglefree after one hunt and tell them to take my name off. This drake is in the best condition of the ones I have.
The hens paint scheme is pretty sloppy but they do ok. I kept the hens in my spread because well, they have a tan plastic underneath so when they scratch its not too noticeable. And they're hens... The drakes I'll have to either decide to repaint or turn them into coots or snows. We'll see.
Most impressed with: Hot Buys. I know I know... It doesn't make any sense. I was just complaining about poor paint quality and now I'm recommending Avery. Shutup. Well, these decoys hold up very well. Not Hot Buy II's, Hot Buys. This is a very well though out deke for sure. I keep them on some homemade Texas Rigs and jostle them about on long walks and toss them in the truck bed and they still look pretty dang good.
Some random things I've found success with, always looking to share some ideas:
--Old socks cover flocked or unflocked goose heads well and protect from usual little scratches associated with transport. And they're usually free
--Weedeater line makes a good decoy line. Just sayin.
--Instead of an anchor, tie the bungee/shock cord end of a jerk rig on a well planted mojo stick. Lighter, packs easier, and can use a mojo on the stick or not.
--Pluck a few breast feathers on a duck before just breasting it out. If there is a good amount of fat on the breast, pluck the entire breast and breast out the bird with "skin on". Marinade (I've been doing a lot of teriyaki lately) and grill first over medium/medium high heat skin side up. This allows some of the fat to trickle down into the meat. Then sear the skin on the hot side of the grill until slightly crispy. This will definitely rival the variations of bacon wrapped duck with very little added effort.