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How should I set out my decoys?

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 Posted 2/15/2012 4:14:00 PM

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I have a dozen mallard decoys and six wood duck decoys and I was just wondering how I should set them out to be effective.
Post #766975
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 Posted 2/20/2012 2:56:34 PM

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Your setup should be determined by the location you are hunting and the direction of the wind.  With a smaller spread, you have more leeway as to how you set your decoys.  Normally you want to have an open landing zone out in front of you with decoys somewhat wrapping the sides of that zone.  When I am running a small spread, I normally just toss out the decoys somewhat randomly, just like you would see real ducks loafing on the water.  If you commonly see mallards and wood ducks sitting together, you will be fine mixing them, but if you don't, I would keep them apart in your spread with maybe one or two mixed together.  Easiest way to do it is to set up and watch how the birds react.  If they are drawing away, don't be afraid to move decoys around.

"Never a better sight than the sun rising over the marsh and ducks working the decoys."
Post #767091
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 Posted 5/24/2012 1:51:45 PM

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I never mix species up. I keep them in family groups but with a couple on the outside. Just like you see real life ducks, they stick to the species, but there are always some loners that will swim in the outskirts of the other species.
Post #768251
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 Posted 7/4/2012 9:29:44 AM

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Are you having success with the species being seperated? You mentioned that real ducks "stick together", however this is somewhat true more in spring/mating months then it is in the fall.

For example where I hunt (also in Minnesota) I honestly use actual mallard decoys for about 2 weeks, as soon as I see divers I switch. This being said we still shoot plenty of mallards/woodies over a all diver spread.(bluebills, cans, goldeneyes, ring neck, ect..) In my opinion once the actual migration starts its about moving south, and staying energized to do so. Ducks flock with other ducks to loaf, rest, and feed often in the fall.Safety in numbers id guess. I also shoot mallards in the fields over just goose decoys.

I get the family groups idea, however those groups are usually disolved as soon as season starts, as well as the migration. A flock of 20 or so ducks of any species usually arent one family of birds. Its usually a mix of different families of birds who have been shot up as season has begun.

But if youre happy with the successes youre having with them seperate, then Id leave it. dont fix something that isnt broken!
Post #768788
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 Posted 7/4/2012 5:48:47 PM

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As already mentioned, ducks will most certainly mix during the fall and will remain mixed until they start pairing off in the Spring. To say that duck species never intermix would entail that someone is either trying to pull your leg, or someone who is completely ignorant regarding waterfowl is making the assertion. I mean seriously, just look at the "Marsh Watch" in your DU magazine! It is true however, that some species are less likely to mix than others, but they certainly will do so when the situation/environment further dictates the behavior. Personally, I like using Wigeon decoys as they are an "advantageous species" and will readily impose themselves upon a given species especially if they are feeding or creating a feeding scenario (such as shovelers do when stirring the muck). Mix em up and good luck! Remember, ducks like to land into the wind, so set your dekes accordingly.

"When you hear my third shot.....that's your signal to take 'em."
-Phil Robertson
Post #768790
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 Posted 7/5/2012 1:22:26 AM

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I watched a wood duck drake follow a hen mallard all spring, and into the early summer - at the local park.

If your hunting big ducks in general - mix 'em.
If you are targeting wood ducks specifically - leave the mallards at home.


East Side Broteam - Life member.

"No, I don't own a suit and tie. I'm just a casual kinda guy" - Raymond
Post #768794
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 Posted 7/5/2012 9:02:12 AM

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Try your best to make sure you don't mix diver decoys with puddle duck decoys. The only exception is ringnecks, buffleheads, and blue-bills. I have seen them with puddle ducks on several occasions. Biggest thing is watch what the birds are doing. As far as wood duck decoys go, with them and teal, it is more where they want to be. Calling and decoying these birds can be done, but more often than not, it won't work. As said above make sure to have a pocket for them to light in. Good luck this season and make sure to post up some pictures!

Ben Perez
Burlington, NC
Avery Youth Field Staff
Lodge Creek Calls Pro Staff
Post #768795
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 Posted 7/5/2012 9:49:41 PM

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I'm a fan of loosely tossing out my decoys.  That way they look relaxed and calm, like real ducks loafing.  I might pair up a few drakes and hens but spread most of them apart.  I always mix my spread but woodie decoys I won't put out in the open water.  I keep them closer to the bank or brush in the water.  I mean put them where they can be seen, but to look realistic they should be within 3 or 4 yards of cover. Just my opinion.

A bad day in the blind beats a good day at work.
Post #768803
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 Posted 7/16/2012 10:29:59 AM

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also try tying a quarter or third of your decoys from the back this makes the spread look more realistic. The only time you see ducks all facing into the wind is when the wind is blowing reallt hard, in this case pick up those tied from back, and when there about to jump and fly.

One shot, one kill!
Post #768945
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