Beginner Field Decoy Spread

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Beginner Field Decoy Spread

Postby Bozo_Drake » Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:23 am

I live in Montana and work in North Dakota. Just getting into waterfowl hunting. I’ve always done more upland. I bought a couple dozen full body geese, a dozen full body mallards and a dozen goose shells. Oh yeah and two Mallard mojos. I’m pretty clueless but I scouted some fields near the Missouri River in E Montana with a ton of geese feeding and set up in them early the next day. They didn’t seem to pay any attention to my spread. Granted there are a lot of factors at play but just seemed like I didn’t have enough for them really to notice or care.

Searching around online sounds like people view 6-8 dozen decoys minimal for a field hunting spread. Is that really the case? Any guidance on how many full bodies vs silhouettes/socks?


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Re: Beginner Field Decoy Spread

Postby Dep6 » Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:10 pm

I think your close with the numbers. I know our spread we use when we go to Canada, is about that PLUS, 6-8 dozen silhouettes, plus another 5-6 dozen silosocks as well. As for Mallards we do 3-4 dozen plus I think a dozen Pintails.
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Re: Beginner Field Decoy Spread

Postby Rick Hall » Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:43 am

Might be the spinners are putting the geese off. Know geese hate them farther down the flyway and guys either shut theirs off with remotes or place the spinners where they can reach up and turn them off when geese are spotted.

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Re: Beginner Field Decoy Spread

Postby Dan R » Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:47 am

I’ve been chasing these guys for 30 years and have learned more each year. My best advice is-
Turn the spinners off when the geese are coming. They hate em. If you’re not seeing ducks, get rid of them completely. Match your decoy amounts by what you’re seeing. During migration periods if you’re seeing large amounts of birds then a big spread is necessary, otherwise a couple of dozen are fine. If the geese in your area are accustomed to small groups, then go that way. We like to use socks, ONLY when you have wind otherwise they’re going to hurt you. Silhouettes are the way to go and mix some full bodies amongst them. I’ve used shells, socks, full bodies, etc. and Silhouettes are the ticket. If you’re seeing ducks, put the full body ducks off on one end. Good luck!
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Re: Beginner Field Decoy Spread

Postby Bozo_Drake » Wed Dec 25, 2019 4:26 pm

Dan R wrote:I’ve been chasing these guys for 30 years and have learned more each year. My best advice is-
Turn the spinners off when the geese are coming. They hate em. If you’re not seeing ducks, get rid of them completely. Match your decoy amounts by what you’re seeing. During migration periods if you’re seeing large amounts of birds then a big spread is necessary, otherwise a couple of dozen are fine. If the geese in your area are accustomed to small groups, then go that way. We like to use socks, ONLY when you have wind otherwise they’re going to hurt you. Silhouettes are the way to go and mix some full bodies amongst them. I’ve used shells, socks, full bodies, etc. and Silhouettes are the ticket. If you’re seeing ducks, put the full body ducks off on one end. Good luck!


So here’s a scenario. I was driving through Eastern MT on my way back to work yesterday. Highway goes along the Yellowstone. Between Miles City and Glendive almost every single field was full of geese. Groups ranging in size from 50 to several hundred or maybe even a thousand (I have no idea, just a buttload of geese). I think it’s because it’s been unseasonably warm so the river isn’t frozen yet and they are all cut grain or corn fields but I’m pretty sure it’s more or less like that every year around this time. If I was wanting to field hunt those geese what would I need? I understand that in that situation it’s probably just more is better but what would be the minimum field spread you would need to pull birds. By next year I’d like to have:

-1 dozen sleeper shells & 2 dozen full bodies for the hole and around my layout
-5 dozen silhouettes
-depending on wind maybe another 2-3 dozen silo socks

I’m hoping I can fit all that in a pickup with a camper shell and set up myself in less than two hours. Is that a realistic plan?

P.S. If anyone is trying to shoot a buttload of geese we should hit E MT late season


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Re: Beginner Field Decoy Spread

Postby dakotashooter2 » Thu Jan 02, 2020 2:22 pm

That should be enough decoys. Remember fields don't start out full of birds, every field used by the birds has a first flock that comes in . On average that's usually a couple dozen birds though bird do feel more comfortable with numbers . I've set 6 dozen bigfoots, 5 dozen silhouettes and prepped my blind in an hour but it never hurts to be too early. Speaking of blind you have not mentioned what you use. I recently added a few super magnum shells to help cover my blinds when nothing else is available. Don't use the mojos unless you are specifically targeting geese. Get a goose flag if you want the movement to draw attention then stop flagging as soon as you turn the birds. I don't now how far into Montana you hunt but if you are close to the ND border beet fields can be a big draw when the temperature drops. I live in eastern ND and the geese will abandon corn for beets when it gets below freezing. Its just another possible location to check out. If you are going to focus on ducks in the fields as you build your spread instead of buying duck FBs buy shells. I have a couple dozen GHG mallard FBs and about 4 dozen mallard shells and the birds cant tell the difference and the shells are cheaper (watch Scheels for a sale). The shells are much easier to transport as they take up less room.
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