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ironman

variety in decoy spread

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ironman

I just got re-hooked on ducks last fall and am really trying to do this right. For deks I have alittle over two doz mallards and 4 woodies and 4 coot. I'm planning on adding some magnum mallards. Maybe some geese and was thinking of adding other duck species. Here comes the questions:

when adding magnums and lifesizes whats the best layout...mix the magnums in or seperate them?

Will different kinds of decoys bring in different kind of ducks better than just mallards?

If I have a bunch of different kinds whats the best way to set them...keep the mallards in the front of the bus and the pintails in the back only or should I celebrate diversity and let them all mingle?

I have many more questions but these will do for now

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mwktrapper

Definitely mix the sizes together. Look at a flock of mallards and the birds will all be in different sizes. I even like to mix different brands in that they all have a little different shape. As far as mixing species, you don't have to mix puddle dekes. Most puddle ducks will work into a spread of mallards. It won't hurt to add different species into the spread though. If I've scouted out a spot that is full of wigeon for instance, I will add a few wigeon into my mallard spread. It doesn't matter a whole lot if you mix them in or keep them seperate...I've seen birds sit both ways.

As far as hunting divers and geese along with the puddlers, keep these seperate. I usually will set them up in two different splotches with a pocket in between them. One thing I have learned is to set up so the geese don't have to fly over the mallard decoys to land. The ducks will usually fly amongst and over the geese when the geese will usually avoid the ducks and land only with geese. This is just a dominance issue. This is a good thing to remember when considering the wind and how the birds will work your spread.

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ironman

The geese would just be bonus birds. How would you layout the divers with the puddlers. I've heard in the past to have the puddlers in close and the divers out at the end. Should they also be in that "j-hook" I hear and read so much about?

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mwktrapper

You can use the J-hook if you like. I will never tell anyone that one setup is better than another because they each have their time and place. For instance, say if I'm hunting an island in the middle of a slough that is very visible. I would probably use the U setup just because the spread is already visible and it gaurantees a close landing for the birds. But if I were hunting a long shore, I might decide to run the J-hook, with the long part jutting out as to make it all the more visible. I won't determine a setup until I am there that morning, considering all of the conditions present.

If you're going to run divers and mallards, and you want to do your J setup, I would first set it up as a U, with a splotch of mals on one side, then a pocket, and then a splotch of divers on the other side. Then, to complete your J-hook, I like to run a longline of divers (the dekes with the brightest white that you have) off of the end of your diver splotch. These are usually the dekes that the birds first see, follow the line, and then plop down in your pocket. If you feel like the birds aren't seeing you, run your line out further. If the birds are landing at the end of your line, then pull it in closer.

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ironman

Awesome tips...thank you, anyone else out there kinda want summer over?

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wooduck26

Here a pic of my spreda the 2nd weekend (?) or it may have been the 3rd weekend....mix it up!!!

aaa55aa5.jpg

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waltinader

you should mix in some white decoys, ones that stick out from distances like canvasbacks and bluebills. A lot of people only use them late season but i think they work great for far flocks to see them. Early season put enywhere from 1-5 the later it gets keep adding.

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mwktrapper

That's a good tip Walter. Although we rarely see snows, we'll almost always add in 2 or 3 into the spread. Walk several hundred yards away and you won't see a single decoy except for the white decoys. They'll put a glow in your spread.

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wooduck26

Quote:

you should mix in some white decoys, ones that stick out from distances


Wich exaclty the reason I use Drake Pintail decoys on the outter edge of the spread....and wigeons mixed the main mass of decoys.

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FOOT

The absolute best decoy I have is a white Egret with a yellow bill. I set out about 12 deeks on the water and then put the Egret decoy off by itself where any passing duck can see it.

In fact, in Reno bottoms (backwaters Mississippi) there is a down tree where the root system sticks about 6 feet above the water. I place the Egret at the very top and sit back and wait. It really brings them in. grin.gif

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ironman

Keep the tips rolling in..the pic was uncalled for, I nearly knocked myself out when I went in for a closer look. That and the fever is creeping in a little earlier this year. I'm cautiously optimistic about confident deks...I use alot of coots...I should pick a egret or heron or both. I suppose the black coots dont stand out too well, never really thought of that.

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tealitup

I have used an egret for a couple of years now. I place two of them at different portions of a marsh. You get the light color that you want in decoys out front. I have also heard of putting crow decoys in a spread in the field. I have never tried this however.

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Sartell Angler

we usually like to put out our two plastic crow decoys a ways from our late-season field goose spread...don't know how much difference it makes but it can't hurt IMO.

SA/wdw

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hanson

I must be doing something right because the rest of you guys sound like you hunt the same way. grin.gif

The area I hunt, we see a lot of Ringnecks. Usually, thats what we're out hunting anyway, the mallards end up being a bonus. We usually don't go for a big decoy spread, typically 2-3 dozen. The mallard decoys go in close to the boat, a small group to the left and a small group to the right with a couple stragglers in front. Then the bluebill decoys go out off of one of the groups of mallard decoys. Which side depends a little on wind direction. There will usually be a small group next to the mallards and then I'll string them out into the slough aways. Usually at the very end of the string, we'll place some canvasbacks or goldeneyes for visibility as mentioned previously.

This basic setup has been working for us for a number of years now. A good variety of ducks have come into our dekes also- redheads, bluebills, ringbills, goldeneyes, buffleheads, canvasbacks, green-wing teal, blue-wing teal, gadwall, wigeon, mallards, a lone scoter and gorgeous hooded mergansers.

The last few years, we've been able to send a drake green-wing teal, drake gadwall, drake bufflehead, pair of goldeneyes, and a pair of wood ducks to the taxidermist. No duck bands yet though. frown.gif

The only ducks that end up being a little leary are the larger flocks of mallards. Loners, pairs, and small groups will come in no problem. Perhaps its my calling... grin.gif

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magnumthunder

Mallard closest, divers in deeper, geese over open water. I just leave 10 x 20 open patches in them.and run the gees at least 4 in a row. I will hook 3 of them together for a neat little swimming affect. Why would you want coot dekes? They annoy me enough without decoys for them.

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outdoor ran

I'am a big fan of placing a small flock of different ducks off to the side of the big spread. I like to take 7 or 8 bufflehed dekes later in the year and buch them up really tight (almost touching) and put them off to the side. Looks so dang real from a distance. I do the same with teal in the early part of the season. Works for me anyway.

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eyepatrol

I've got mallard, bluebill and goose decoys. We mainly hunt the point of a peninsula. So, early in the season before the 'bills come down I'll set out the 'mals in two small groups on the shoreline/bay side of the point. I'll put the geese in 3 separate, staggered strings parallel with the shore on the main lake side with about 5 yard gaps between each string.

Later in the year when the divers come down I'll put the divers on the main water side of the point, then leave a 20 or so yard gap, then bunch the 'mals together, then a 5-10 yard gap and then string out the goose decoys in a 2-wide or 3-wide string.

After the divers have gone through, then I'll flip my setup around from early season and put the 'mals out on the main lake side of the point and the geese on the shoreline/bay side of the point. My object at that time of year is to get as much exposure as I can to draw in those big northern mallards. The geese at that time of year, although VERY big, are secondary to me as I've typically gotten a few by that time. Mallards on the lake I hunt are a little tougher to come by as the locals really prefer the sloughs and ponds, so I don't get that many through most of the season. So that's why I put the mallard deeks on the main lake side of the point, to get their attention and because I usually haven't shot that many up to that point.

Oh, and I do have 4 woodie decoys, but it doesn't seem to do a darn bit of good no matter where I stick them.

Anyway, that's my mix and setup. And one other key to my hunting divers....I got a string of 5 bluebill deeks hooked up to put right at the gap between the 'bill and 'mal deeks. I only have the front one weighted and the rest blow in the direction of the wind. Both divers and puddlers will follow that right in to the gap. Geese I don't think like it too much as it seems to confuse them on which side to come in on. Typically though, they'll come down the main lake side as they don't like to sit into or swing over ducks.

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