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FarByondDrivn

Mixed decoy set

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FarByondDrivn

I was watching duck a hunting show the other day. I can't remember which one (I watch all of them). Anyway, the guy on there said that he believes in mixing up the kind of decoys he uses. His thoughts were that if mallards or other ducks get shot at every time they set in to an all mallard group, they will avoid them. I'm thinking that may be the case lat ein the year but what about early season. What are your guy's thoughts on this? If you mix it up, what do you like to throw in there? I've even heard of people using coot and seagull decoys.

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Eric Wettschreck

People think I've been hitting the crack pipe when they see teal decoys in my spread but I'm tellin ya, it helps.

Later in the season I like to replace the teal with bufflehead and bluebill decoys.

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Fish&Fowl

I don't see what's wrong with teal decoys? At least early in the season anyways. I usually have a couple dozen mallards and about a dozen or so bills/ringnecks out deeper and off to the side to help make a landing zone.

Even early in the year I like having diver decoys out. The light colors are easily visible from long distances and there seems to be divers around early in the year as well. Shot lots of ringnecks last year, more than mallards overall. Scouting this year I have seen a lot of goldeneyes and ringnecks in mid-late August. I like to mix it up, both species and sizes of dekes. Also throw a half dozen honkers off to one side just in case.

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tearin' lips

We run bill, mallard, teal, and canada dekes everytime we go out. Basically we just decide the quantity that we want to run when we get out there. Normally we run the bill hook, so that they follow it into a pocket of mallards, which we have two wind ducks to draw attention to the landing zone. Then on the edge we run our canadas. I try to to have any dekes out further than thirty five yards. Sometimes we will just run mallard and a few canadas mixed in with them, this is also very effective.

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HunterLee

i always run a mixed spread. except for the few times that i hunt small ponds. then its just a few mallards. but when we go out on the swamp we hunt i have 6 teal 6 or so pintails and a few other mystrey ducks along with a dozen honkers and as many mallards as fit in the bag. probly close to 3 dozen. the geese are kinda put by themselves and the ducks are arranged for a good landing area right in front of the boot.

we had good luck on some tough birds one time with a group of mallards tight to the catails then took 3 or 4 and made a small line 25 or yards out in front. kinda like the landed out there and were swimming in. they all landed right next to the 3 or "swimmers" aslo had the goose away more in the open to attract. To me geese seem to get the ducks attention, even with just goose dekes we have done good on ducks.

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wyldewal

Sometimes we run mixed spreads with pintail, mallards, teal, (blue and green wing), widgeon, and wood ducks in one cluster and bluebill, redhed, canvasbacks, bufflehead, and goldeneyes in another cluster. And sometimes we seperate them into little groups of individual species, it all depend on what feels right for the day. The geese we put out off to the side away from the ducks. Both ways seem to work on some days ond not on others. smile.gif

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Gordie

early in the year we set out wood duck decs along the weed edges and mix it up with teal and mallards out front then a little ways away some geese. If were goig for ring bills early we set out lines of ring bills and blue bills and late in the year we spread mallards in front of the lines a little off the side.

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FarByondDrivn

Good stuff guys. I think I'm going to pick some woodies and maybe a few teal. I have a few goose floaters so maybe I'll throw those in and hope or a bonus honker! Do you guys ever use decoys of species you don't commonly see (Ex. Canvasbacks, Blackducks, etc.)?

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tearin' lips

throughout the season we see a little of everything up north here, but I basically stick to just the regular diver dekes such as bills to draw in Cannies. Mallards are also a very universal decoy to draw in black ducks and the like. I don't really think that it matters too much, what matters the most is being in the right spot. I have shot widgeon, scaup, ringbills, mallards, shovelers, teal, blackduck, pintails, gadwalls, and geese over a spread of bluebills, mallards, and goose decoys.

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Sartell Angler

we run can and black duck dekes....both stand out very well and last year I shot my first can! hoping for a black this year, then I just need a pintail and I have shot all of MN's duck species.

SA/wdw

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FarByondDrivn

Sounds like the more the merrier! Thanks for the good info guys.

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eyepatrol

I agree completely with tearin' lips. The guys I hunt with (dad, bro, bro in-law, neighbor and sometimes others), we set out mals (2doz) bw teal (1doz), woodies (4) and then the goose decoys (3doz) in the early part of the season. We don't see divers around here usually until the 3rd or 4th week of October, so those stay in storage until we see that first flock.

But, I'll group the mals out about 25 yards out in somewhat of a u-shape, then tightly group the teal about 10-15 yards from the mals, but closer in, then put the woodies near the teal, but even closer in than the teal. Then I leave a good 25 yard gap or so and put out the goose decoys in basically a tighter v-shape. Depends on where we hunt really, but usually the geese are in a v-shape, or if we're on a spot with tighter quarters, I'll just group them all together without any specific shape or form. The goose decoys are mainly an attractant for ducks and geese. With this setup, we're focusing on ducks, but will get geese anywhere from loners up to a flock of 4 to come into the 25 yard gap (or at times right next to the mals).

Later in the season, the teals and woodies get put away and out come the bill dekes. We hunt mainlake points, so if there's a NW wind at our backs (best wind IMO), meaning we're facing east, then the 'bills go on the left, then a 20yard gap, then the mals, then another 5-10 yard gap, then the geese. Similar deal to early season....the geese are set out for attractant, but will draw in loners up to 4 or so geese (and sometimes the occassional flock of 20). Most of the time, the ducks will head for the 20 yard gap between the bills and mals. Sometimes they'll go off the edge of the 'bills, but usually close enough to take. Can't forget to put the string of 'bills leading towards the gap either. Ducks follow that right in.

Late season hunting, when the divers are gone and all that's left are the big northern mals and fat canada geese, I'll just put two groups out....mals on one side and geese on the other with a big 30 yard or more gap in the middle.

That's the long story made a little shorter. smirk.gif Sometimes it gets tight for room, especially when the divers are around. We'll have 7doz diver dekes out, 6 doz mals and 3.5doz goose dekes out. Can be tricky at times. wink.gif

Like tearin' lips, we have shot mals, 'bills, ringbills, cans, goldies, buffies, redheads, widgeon, woodies, both kinds of teal, gaddies, and a few pintails over our spread. All depends on the time of season as to what ducks we'll get. Best mixed bag day we had some woodies, mals, 'bills, ringbills, cans, widgeons and green wings over a setup of 'bill, mal and goose dekes.

Wow, I could just keep talking and talking and talking about this stuff!

I'm done. grin.gif

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Sartell Angler

way to get descriptive basscatcher! I personally love hunting over a huge spread and feel that it is almost always worth the extra effort to put out more dekes, especially on days that you have the whole day to sit in the blind.

SA/wdw

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tearin' lips

Well said Basscatcher! grin.gif I think the most we have ran for dekes was twelve or thirteen dozen, four dozen mallard, five dozen bills, and three dozen honkers, or something along those lines. Boy it didn't go to bad putting them out with two boats, but packing up sure was horrid!!!

In the same respect we have also run six decoys and done extremely well too. In fact, one of the best hunts that I have ever had was over six bill decoys and two mallard.

Any how like basscatcher said it all depends on your area, conditions, and time of year. With all these different deke setups and preferences we could make this thing a couple hundred posts long!!!

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eyepatrol

It can be quite an effort, especially on those days when the NW wind is blowing 25mph with gusts up to 35 or 40!!! grin.gif And I've been out by myself on a couple of those days. Gotta load up a few rocks for the front end of the boat with winds like that, or it'll be a beeeaaacch turning in the wind. wink.gif

It can be a great time hunting over big spreads of dekes. But then at times we only have a few out. Maybe 8 geese and a dozen mals. Usually this only happens when the lake ices up. Too much work to cut a huge hole for 6doz mal dekes and 3.5doz goose dekes. But man, lookout! Because it can be amazing hunting during those conditions! I love it when a duck falls after the shot and the bill hits the ice leaving a starburst in the ice like a rock hitting the windshield! grin.gif

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tearin' lips

I hear you Basscatcher. Those late season days can be the most work, but also the most rewarding.

The more we talk about decoy spreads the more I am looking forward to seeing some feet down and wings locked! grin.gif

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FarByondDrivn

Great advice guys. Yeah I'm getting pretty itchy too. I think I hear drake grunts and whistling wings in my sleep. Best insomnia ever! Thanks again for the solid in depth advice.

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Shu

Usually hunt with 2-3 doz canada floaters and about 1 dozen mallards. It's amazing how many mallards you will draw in with that spread. Kind of like field hunting.

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