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Decoying Ducks


Waterfowl hunters everywhere have their own methods of placing decoys. Form the number of decoys, to the type (Species) to the size and method of placement of these fake ducks. All of which are productive, and some are more so than others.

Whether hunting small waters or large bodies of water, the method to placing decoys can at times be a make or break scenario to your hunting success.

Personally, I prefer the old adage, ‘less is better’ when hunting smaller bodies of water. Beaver ponds, back water off bigger bodies, and along rivers, a small spread can work wonders. Small by my mind means less than two dozen, while as few as one dozen can also work. Typically I prefer the “J” style of placement. Where there is a line of decoys that extend out thirty or so yards from my blind and turn in front of my blind into a “J” shape. This gives the incoming birds ample landing area where they will try and land and bring them directly in front of the guns.

Another method many use is the “U” shape with the middle of the “U being the landing area. If there is one mistake made here, its making the shape too narrow. The “U” shape needs to be at least sixty feet apart to allow for several ducks at once to land in the opening. Spacing the decoys is critical to getting a good spread.

Whether you use a “J” or the “U” shape, make sure there is good spacing between your individual birds. This makes a few decoys look like a bigger spread. Good motion is also a great idea. The motorized motion and ripple makers are enough, here it’s easy to over-do it if you are not careful. A little motion is enough to bring birds into range.

If I am hunting bigger bodies of water, then I am not sure you can have too many decoys. It usually boils down to how many are you willing to put out and pick up. Anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred are all ok when hunting bigger bodies of water. Keeping the same shapes mentioned above, just adding more ducks into the mix.

As for size, I like the life size mallard decoys and adding in a few magnums for good measure. Mixing in a golden eye, and a couple of wood ducks also seems to help to calm down flying ducks. But it’s really up to your preference and pocket book here. Get what you like and stick with it.

Placing decoys is part of the challenge of hunting ducks. But the most fun is watching ducks commit to your decoys and calls – bringing home a good brace of waterfowl is a great way to spend a cold winter morning.