DECOYS DUCKS AND GEESE   Leave a comment

Duck Hunter 0001

Huntable water comes in two categories: open water and ponds. This allows us to have a plan for water wherever our hunt is to take place whether or not it is a place you have been there previously.

A basic set up in a pond situation consists of two bunches of decoys, separated by about 20 to 30 yards.

Set them up with the wind quartering over either shoulder of the hunter. Try to avoid dead away or sideways and never with the wind toward your position.

Unless the wind is going away, the result will be that you will spend most of the time pass shooting. The theory is that birds will land in the gap between the decoys.

Prepare for mallards that are notorious for landing at the edge of a set. With two sets of decoys you effectively establish three landing areas. The idea is to position birds for a shot as opposed to giving them a landing area. Hunters need to know exactly where ducks are going to land.

Good hunters like to use a duck/goose spread in the majority of locations. For a set up on a bank, run about 30 to 50 goose decoys in a kind of rectangle shape just slightly above the blind. Begin just to the side of the shooting position about 15 yards and then run them four or five deep out about 40 yards. That way if the honkers decoy to the edge they are still in range.

Begin placement of the decoys where they come up to within ten yards of the bank. Place the ducks heavy right up to 10 or 15 yards from the blind. Then tail them off out to 60 or 70 yards from the bank. The spread gets thinner until it is just a single line. The result is an L or the old “Diver Hook” with a heavy concentration right in the pocket.

Mallards tend to decoy to the back of goose decoys. The set up is not natural but it works well for both mallards and geese. It is not anything you would see in a marsh, but then you are setting up for a position to shoot. If you are not in an open water situation, you can forget the goose decoys.

Early in the migration run an even number of hens and drake decoys. Later run 80 percent hens 20 percent drakes. The hens lead the migration and the big drakes are the last to migrate.

If planning to hunt geese in an open field keep the majority of decoys behind you. Most open field goose hunting occurs early. The hunter sits on the downwind end of the spread. The spread is a shallow wide horseshoe. Place four or five sentry goose decoys just down wind of your position. It simulates geese that have just landed and are walking their way into the flock.

All of these spreads demand a large number of decoys and some maintenance on them. A tip for waterfowlers is to use a little soap and water and some Armor All instead of repainting and buying new decoys every year. They will be a little shiny at first but after a couple of outings their perfect.

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