2 Decoy Methods For “Wood Duck Hunting”
I liked to think that I knew all there was to know about wood duck hunting until my hunting buddy Craig took me on a weekend crash course on setting up decoys. It was on a chilly Saturday morning and Craig – with a lot of wood duck hunting experience under his belt – suggested we make a turn at the mouth of the creek close to our cabin. He assured me that setting up camp in a slough a few hundred yards from the roost will give us a better advantage.
I’d learnt from my previous escapades that the woodies in the area were notorious for snubbing decoys and calling, so I waited eagerly to see how Craig would manage the hunt. I was known by most of my hunting buddies as a fast-and-furious kind of hunter because I would usually hunt the heart of the roost. But that weekend, I learnt two new decoy tips from Craig.
We set up decoys on a visibly cleared campsite before getting cover in the slough. Our spread was a blend of two dozen puddle and diver duck decoys and our black and white diver ducks were visible and the wood ducks could see the lure. We watched the wood ducks slowly make their way into our spread and by noon we had a nice mix of goldeneyes and bluebills. This was our first day hunting and I learnt that a simple and visible spread can be productive.
The next day, I was expecting Craig to pick a new hunting ground but he surprised me with a new decoy method. He explained that hunters were always rigid when it came to decoying ducks and that they used the same spread for every hunt, and that this method produced fewer results each time; this I already knew to be true.
That morning as we packed up our gear I couldn’t help but wonder if today would be as smooth as the day before. Carlford Lake blind sits at the corner of a two-acre pothole adjoined by a dense brush on a Mississippi flyway. When the feeding flight is on, the action on this hunting ground can be sensational.
Gang Rigging Decoys.
We choose to take cover on a creek-bed with falling beechnuts with a lot of shade. Craig said that gang-rigging decoys were the only effective way to set a large spread on open water; because it would look unreal from the air. We broke the spread up by placing long lines and then setting a dozen single decoys out between the spread. Rather than setting them in a conventional J-hook style, we gathered a knot of decoys in the middle with several lines protruding from the center. Rigging decoys are not difficult to achieve and is very useful if prepared correctly because it can make the difference between a successful hunt and a stressful experience.
Change is continuous in wood duck hunting, and this should be evident in your spreads too. Stir up your decoys, and try to use different types of species for your hunt.