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RumRiverRat

Diver Tactics Q&A Thread

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RumRiverRat

I would like this thread to be a Q&A style.

I have many years experience hunting divers in MN.

I hunted with a guy last season that had never been on a dedicated diver hunt.

After the first flock of 100 plus Canvasbacks repeatedly strafed the decoys he was hooked. It is a shame we could not shoot, there were some Big Bull Cans in the flock that would have looked good on the wall.

Diver Hunting is what I live for in the fall, I love duck hunting but divers are my passion.

Post your questions and hopefully myself or others here can answer them.

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jparrucci

I have seen many of flocks of divers that want no part of being anywhere near the decoys, they always want to be out in big rafts far from the shoreline. Any clues to get them to commit to you near the shore? I finally picked up some diver dekes (1 dozen bluebills and one dozen ringnecks.) I am sure this should at least improve my cause.

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RumRiverRat

jparrucci,

Two things:

Flagging, use a 3 to 4 foot dowel with a pennant shaped piece of fabric that is 24" to 30" long, black or gray on one side and white on the other.

When you see a large group of divers flying around the lake, wave the flag side to side continue until you see them coming towards you.

Decoy spreads, The key is making your decoys visible, Magnum and Super Magnum decoys with white on them, such as Canvasback and Goldeneye decoys.

Also divers are drawn to straight lines, place your decoys in the J-hook formation with the bottom of the J in front of your blind.

I run a straight single line of decoys roughly 75 yards out from the blind, I use GHG Oversized Canvasback Decoys and Oversized Bluebills on ganglines for the straight line. At about 35 yards from the blind I run another straight line 5 to 8 feet inside of the first line of the J. I use a variety of Cans, Redhead, Ringneck, Goldeneye and Bluebill decoys to fill out the hook of the J.

If I am on big water and hunting with 2 or 3 other people I have used as many as 10 dozen decoys.

I believe in using Oversized/Magnum/Supermagnums decoys if you do not want to put out a large number.

If you are using smaller decoys you need more.

I also find that a Diver Call helps to draw them in.

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BoxMN

RRR, same here, love those divers smile That is the main thing we hunt, except when we go to NoDak.

Biggest help we have tried and found to work, jerk strings. you can make your own cheap and it works better than store bought ones. That is for calm days of course, windy days you don't need it.

Cans are different than others, and bills don't like flyinig over land, they stay over the water. Ringbills fly over land more, big way you (I anyway) can tell differnce is by the way they fly from bills. Redheads are stoopid, but they get educated faster than others smile

Ringbill don't need or want a lead going out, but bills and cans almost need it to guide them in. I think most people group their divers too close together. You can spread them out, with a nice landing area. Also biggest thing, sit where the ducks want to be, if you can... smile thats new advice, huh? wink

...okay, I am rambling now, ha! Just thinking of the first diver hunt already, now that you got me going smile

edit jsut saw RRR's post. I'd add that always put goldeneye and buffie dekes SEPERATE from the main bunch. They rarely hang with other ducks, and usually not in flocks much bigger than 8 or so. We always put them on outside though, or out and in front.

For us, we don't like the mags divers as much. G&H standards are our favs. Used to like Herters 7200's but too hard to wrap in the ice. We now use herters and mags only on our long lines.

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Gordie

Drivers are by far my most favorite and this is a great post had one guy ask me about goose decoys and divers and I told him if you want divers leave the goose decoys at home in my experience the divers do not like geese or at least the decoys. so if I'm diver hunting I dont even think of geese

I also make sure that the drakes or at least the last three ofr four decoys in my line are the biggest decoys and are drakes as I feel they flock can see the spread that much faster.

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RumRiverRat

I also make sure that the drakes or at least the last three ofr four decoys in my line are the biggest decoys and are drakes as I feel they flock can see the spread that much faster.

That is another good point.

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HNTNBUX

Have you ever had luck on the Rum late in the season. I have not seen any divers at least close to town, the lake I usually hunt freezes quick and I am lost as to where to try late in the season.

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RumRiverRat

Have you ever had luck on the Rum late in the season. I have not seen any divers at least close to town, the lake I usually hunt freezes quick and I am lost as to where to try late in the season.

I have never tried to hunt the Rum other than early for wood ducks and mallards, I know of an area on the Mississippi that will usually produce divers in the late season, but the same area is usually thick with Mallards so I have a hard time deciding what to chase.

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Gordie

some of the best mallard shoots have been over diver spreads so I will typically set up for divers even on the river if I know they are in the area and mallards are the bonus and now a days you need those mallards to fill the limit most of the time

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HNTNBUX

Between the cool rainy weather and talking about hunting I can hardly stand being at work any more and it is only August. Thank God bear hunting starts soon. My daughter has been asking when we are getting the duck boat out of storage and ready for Youth Waterfowl, I think she is ready too.

I have not been on the Mississippi since I left the Sartell area looking for ducks. I have heard it to is crowded and shallow, or is that one of those spots you have to get to at 1am?

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troutkingmaster

This will be my first year diver hunting as well, I have pretty much the exact same setup listed above with 1 dozen bluebills and 1 dozen ringbills as well as a few buffs. with 27 dekes, how many decoys would you have on your long line. I was thinking about 14 on the line, then 10 for the hook of the J and the buffs out to the side? The buffs I have (3 of them) are oversized, would I want to put them at the end of the line, or maybe halfway down the line on the outside of the long line so they have a lot of visibility? Also do you prefer a crosswind setup with the longline paralleling shore or wind at your back with the line straight out in front of you?

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Muskie456

I have hunted all over north america for everything from early teal to late giant honks and green heads(never sea ducks). IMO there is not a pretty sight in the waterfowling word than a flock of bills on the deck over your set. They are great fliers and a lot of fun to shoot.

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cutter08

troutking i would not put the buffs in your line. I have done it to see how it works and it always seams like the buffs that come down the line want to land in the line with the decoys. I usually put them off to the side of our mane bunch of decoys. About 5 to 10 yards in a small group. as for how many in the line i have put out as long as a 100 yard line and as small as a 10 decoy 4 to 5 feet apart. It all depends on where your at and what you have for decoys. But 14 in the line should get the job done.

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RumRiverRat

troutkingmaster,

I use 12 or so decoys per 100 feet of gang line.

In the bottom of the J I will place the decoys closer together to give the raft look, you need to leave a large enough hole for the birds to land in.

I do not use Bufflehead decoys, they are so dumb you can decoy them in with bleach bottles.

The problem with Buffies is they like to land on almost on top of each other, I have hunted with people that use Buffie dekes and they tend to land right on top of them

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Gordie

Another thing is to make sure that your spaceing isnt to great between decoys either cause the birds will hit those spots typically first. I ussaly space them on my line about 4-5 foot apart.

I will also pile up decoys such as buffies or mallards in the area that I dont want the divers to land. but it will still attract the buffies and mallards to that spot.

I do like to set up with a cross wind at times with a long line then a space between them around 12-20 ft and another line and set up right in front of the space it can be deadly

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HNTNBUX

Elwood that has worked for me before too. The first time I tried it I went six for six the shots were so easy. I think the very stiff W wind and way below freezing temps probably helped too. They dropped into the first hole they could find. I don't hunt divers that often other than ringnecks so I only have some old carry lite mallard decoys that have been painted like bills and they work quite well. I usually use a line leading into my mallards and most ducks seem interested, I have not observed a particular species ignoring me.

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nate larson

Try to avoid shooting the decoys...or buy foamers.

Make sure your boat is setup to get out after cripples quickly and have extra shells ready to take care of them. Sometimes we will have several birds down on the water and the next thing you know 2 of them are flying away and 2 are diving under water. You gotta be ready for that stuff.

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RumRiverRat

Shooting the decoys is sometimes unavoidable.

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Gordie

yep some of my diver decoys sound like maracas grin

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slabchaser

RRR Ive never really targeted divers but they have always been a welcomed bonus. I have some dekes and have done alright. By the way what a great thread and thankyou for all of your answers. You too elwood. What brand of call do you recommend for divers? And also what can I do to attract divers with a limited amount of decoys with my mallard sets. thanks in advance.

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Gordie

I started out calling divers with a mallard call and have done quite well but I now have a diver call not sure what the name is. when using the mallard call I blow sorter and roll out the sound of blrrrrp best way I can describe it.

set your mallard decoys in the line also but keep the divers farthest away from you.

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BoxMN

The guys who taught us diver hunting always told us the best call for a diver is the one you leave in the truck, and that is where it should stay wink

Decoy placement is key for us with divers, and the first flock will tell you how well you placed them, then it is time for fine tuning.

Would be interesting to see how well calls would help though.

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Gordie

I turned a couple big flocks of ringees with a mallard call with a chuckle and feeder mix type sound they do work but more than most it is the decoy spread that they commit to.

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slabchaser

elwood, thanks for the information. Do you think I could email you a few other questions? Let me know

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Gordie

sure machonellc AT yahoo dot com

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RumRiverRat

Most diver calls make a grrrrr or a purrrrr sound.

Never used one, usually not needed.

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chub

The guys who taught us diver hunting always told us the best call for a diver is the one you leave in the truck, and that is where it should stay wink

Especially if your hunting within earshot of me....... laugh

Nothing much more annoying than the dufus that high balls at anything feathered from 150 yards out.....to tiny specs on the horizon... .

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Gordie

most of the time over calling is the culpret of no ducks in the bag grin I try not to call a whole lot if any at all but there are those times when I have really seen a noticble differnce in pulling birds down out of the sky to take a look and by then its over for the birds

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Basseyes

Great thread RumRiverRat. This is the stuff that can really help new hunters.

We hunt Golden Eyes and divers late in the year on Leech and Winnie. Calling is an under rated thing for divers and they do respond to it at the right time and place. The duck commanders wooden cheap mallard calls make the best growl I've heard. If you listen to divers they make more noise than people think they do it's just at a lower tone then say mallards. Divers are awesome birds.

Once again great thread.

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RumRiverRat

I would love to hunt Winnie or Leech someday!

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