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Fish- N- Hunt

How do you set up your decoys?

9 posts in this topic

I have 18 mallard decoys, 2 feeder mallard decoys, 12 wood duck decoys and 12 green wing teal decoys. This is a total of 44 decoys, I normally just through them out how ever they come out of the bag. Is there a certain strategy that I should be using when setting out decoys? Should I put all species of decoys together in there own family groups? I have ducks fly over, but I really don't have many that actually lock in. Should I be using the v-formation like field goose hunting? Can anyone please give me some help with this?


Thanks

Fish- N- Hunt

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I like to call my spread the "meat pocket". You need to have some place for them to land otherwise they will land on the outside or just do the "flyby" your decoys. I have some to the right, center, left but most importantly you have to have "lanes" for them to follow into the pocket. 90% of the ducks that decoy in front me follow those "lanes" right into the blind. I used to just throw them out of the bag to but taking time putting decoys out can prove for some great shooting.

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I'm no expert but what works for me is make 2 groups. Ideally, you want your back to the wind when you're sitting in your blind looking out so I set up one group a little to the left and one group a little to the right of the blind with a open lane in the middle. If the wind is comming from behind, the ducks should (not always) come in right at you, giving you the best shot possible. If the wind is blowing accross from either direction, set up accordingly, ducks will usually land into the wind so if you give them a good lane into the wind, you might get more set wings comming down.

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Farley and duckbill hit it right on.

Gotta have a pocket.

I do not subscribe to the theory that you need to separate species. I just throw them out in 2 groups, larger concentration closer to the blind and then taper the groups outward with the wind. I like to leave about a 10 yard gap or pocket between the two groups. If I use my spinner, I will place it on the inside of a group closer in towards the pocket.

I also avoid having my groups too close into the blind. I'll try to have the nearest decoy 10 yards out and the furthest about 40. That way, I am not only decreasing my chances of being caught by weary eyes, but I also now have a guage for making clean kills. If the birds are within the spread, they are within range.

Ducks do not like to land over the top of other ducks, so having this lane or pocket wide enough for the largets flock that you would expect or hope to come in as being the key.

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I'm beginning to like a cross wind more and more especially when hunting shorelines with trees but actually any of them. I think the ducks commit better when they have open water in front of them as they land into the wind. Birds are frequently more apt to land closer to the edge of the first decoys they encounter as they come in. If you stretch your decoys out you run the risk of far shots or out of range ones. Sure they may have more visability when they're out further and more ducks may come into your spread but if all you get are marginal shots at best your not much better off. Cross wind put several small groups 5-10 yds out with space between then put some groups 20-25yds out out from the pockets leaving kind of a .'.'.' (W)pattern with each mark being an irregular group and no birds between them. That set up works well on puddlers and divers. Basically a trial and error deal. Some days nothing works well and you could just as well use 3 decoys and the next you need the big spread. Gotta love duck hunt'n!!

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I'm always changing things, trying new spreads. I let the wind tell me how to set them up. Marsh hunting I like going with 3 lazy groups. Puddlers, teal and geese. When I'm hunting open water (cross wind) I like a J pattern with 6 buffles bunched in the pocket. With the wind on my back I like to go to 2 groups on each side with lines going out. Amazing how the mallards like to land with the bluebill dekes and the bills land with my puddler decoys.
I have about 10 different species of decoys out. Mostly for my scenic view, I don't think the ducks really care. once in a while a certain duck will come in and try to sit with its own kind. Just keep changing things till it works. Pay attention to the wind and don't be afraid to go out and change things during the hunt. Moving a couple of decoys could be the difference in goin home skunked or limiting out.

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a lot of good information. I think the most important being if it does not work change it. there is something they do not like or something they are seeing. A couple of things that I know are : If the lines going out from your decoys points to the boat or blind that is what the ducks are looking at. I ahve had good success with either shooting perpindicluiar to the birds flight or setting the landing zone off to one side. Scouting payoffs more than anything else. Mimic the birds on the water. If you see bb,mallards, and teal than your set should consist of the same. Be DIFFERENT from everyone else-- ie learn about the birds and behaviors ie do not mix swans and geese, or others that do not play well together. The last bit is to keep a journal of time, date, weather, decoy set-up, birds saw etc. gives you a great refereence point for the following year.

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Don't do many times with decoys (usually jump shoot) til the bills come down then I'll bust an inch of ice and set up dekes in J formation paying attention to the wind. Another thing when bustin ice bring with some saranwrap tear off pieces and put a rock in it toss on ice by dekes. I believe the ducks think it is open water. Those can be picked up when picking up dekes. The reason I think the saranwrap makes em believe the water is open is I've seen many times they try and land just like on water but end up sliding and going a$$ over tea kettle across the ice. It looks really funny. Anyone else tried that?

------------------
Goosin now but Ice is coming soon!!
GRIZ

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I've heard of hunters putting a big blue tarp on the snow and ice with decoys on it. I guess it looks like a pocket of open water from the air. Haven't tried it yet.

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