Diver Hunting?

Duck hunting for diver species like Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ringnecks, Eiders, Goldeneye and other diver ducks.

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Diver Hunting?

Postby Rick.B » Thu Nov 28, 2013 8:37 pm

Hey all,

I'm just looking for some help in regards to what is needed to hunt divers? How many dozen decoys do I need to start and should it all be one species? Or is a combo pack ok, like a pair cans, a pair of bluebills, and a pair of redheads?

As of now I have NO diver decoys, only mallards.

Any and all help is appreciated!

Thanks
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Re: Diver Hunting?

Postby woodduck31 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:09 am

you need to be more specific as to what kind of area you are hunting and what type of divers frequent your area. Lots of guys will put out hundreds of diver decoys, I rarely put out more than a dozen. If I'm hunting multiple species I will have a representation of each species I expect to see.
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Re: Diver Hunting?

Postby Rick.B » Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:32 am

Woodduck,

We have cans, bluebills, redheads, buffs, and goldeneyes. I hunt in SW Wisconsin, I do tend to see more bluebills and cans than I do the others, but I do see them.
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Re: Diver Hunting?

Postby ScaupHunter » Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:33 pm

Put out what you see. Same ratios and rough spread size. You don't need hundreds of decoys to kill divers. Put the buffleheads a bit away from your other decoys. Also any GE decoys separate them from the main spread a bit.
Last edited by ScaupHunter on Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Diver Hunting?

Postby Rick.B » Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:49 pm

Would it be ok to get 2 of the combo packs? Then I would have 4 cans, 4 redheads, and 4 bluebills. Do you think that is a decent start?
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Re: Diver Hunting?

Postby woodduck31 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:58 am

I've shot all of those divers over puddler decoys on occasion, but there is no doubt that they decoy better to their own kind. Goldeneye are definitely looking for other goldeneye and to consistently decoy them, goldeneye decoys make a lot of difference. Last week we weren't sure if the GE were in yet, so only took 4 decoys to put upstream from our regular spread which consisted of wigeons and redheads. That was enough to decoy a dozen groups of GE, so you don't really have to flood the spot with species specific decoys, but divers do like to see themselves. We have a dramatic increase in bufflehead coming in when we have a hen heavy buffie spread. I like to have 3-4 drakes and 7-9 hens when I target buffies.

I do a lot higher ratios with hen decoys and dirty drakes (immature drakes) when hunting divers. Since Divers take so long to mature you have a lot higher numbers of hens and immatures in a group of live birds and having decoy spreads that reflect that relaxes the birds a lot more in our neck of the woods. This is the first year I've tried a redhead spread and it's already brought in more redheads than we have ever decoyed in the past, it consists of 8 decoys, three of them mature drakes, two dirty drakes and 3 hens. Where decoying redheads in the past has been a very inconsistent deal, we had more redheads in the decoys last week than we have ever had in the past. The more I use a hen heavy spread for divers the more I like it.

It's hard to get hen diver decoys from manufacturers in ratios that I like to use, so I'm always converting drakes to hens.

It's not a tough thing to get swing passes from divers that put them within 40 yards, but we like them in the decoys for higher percentage shots with hard headed divers. We don't have a boat to chase down cripples nor do I like chasing my dog down river 300 yards on every cripple, so getting the birds close and dead is a must. Our decoys were set out 15 yards last week and nearly all the birds we shot fell within a couple of yards of the outside edge and several in the decoys. Not very many guys around here actually decoy divers, most are pass shooting off of islands and corner points on the river, but we like the birds over the decoys, feet in our face. A mixed diver pack of decoys is a great idea, but I'm sure most of those are drake heavy. It will improve the odds for sure, but make sure that you try to simulate what you see on your stretch of water.
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Re: Diver Hunting?

Postby Rick.B » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:18 am

Woodduck,

Thanks for all the helpful information.

Here is what I am looking at getting,

http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/product. ... basket.jsp

What do you think? Is this ok for a start or should I invest in something else?
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Re: Diver Hunting?

Postby woodduck31 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:25 pm

that's a pretty good buy on diver decoys, especially with the drakes and hens. it's a start, but I'd like to have a half dozen of each species.
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Re: Diver Hunting?

Postby Rhock19 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:21 pm

Rick are you planning on hunting the Mississippi river for divers? I hunt in the pool 9 area for divers and use about 150 diver dekes. Theres guys with more and guys with less. Doesnt matter if you are where they want to be. But i just started diver hunting this year. What me and a friend did was hit craigslist hard for used decoys. We had none to start with and ended up with 150 and only about 200 bucks in the hole. Have a variety spread, cans, bluebills, redheads, goldeneyes, buffleheads, ringnecks. Might be the way to go, they are expensive new!
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