Deadly Decoy Mistakes- by Jesse Dies
Tips for ducks that just won’t commit
We have all been there. Everything is just right. The water, the wind, the decoys, yet birds just won’t commit the last second. Maybe someone was talking, who was it looking them in the eye? Maybe we aren’t blending. All thoughts that run through your head because you just knew you had sealed the deal. In reality, most cases I’ve experienced it was something to do with the decoys. Sometimes when things just aren’t going your way a slight shift of the decoys will turn around your morning. Sometimes though you must pay attention to the subtle things when ducks are acting skittish. Here I will discuss a few decoy mistakes that are often overlooked by waterfowl hunters trying to fill the freezer.
I’ll admit, I love love love spinning wing decoys. I love them because I have personally seen them make a difference. I’ve seen them drop large flocks from way up high and I’ve seen them bring birds in for a much closer look. When spinning winged decoys first hit the market I think everyone would agree they were the best thing since sliced bread. With that being said I’ve also seen them kill the mood on the final approach. Flock after flock coming straight in and just won’t commit. Here’s what you do. If birds are having trouble commiting take your spinner and hide it behind reeds, rozos, sticks, or whatever terrain your’e hunting. This allows for the flash at a distance to draw the ducks in close but when ducks get close they can’t key in and get spooked off of the spinner. The spinning wing decoys is a love/hate relationship with most waterfowl hunters. When there’s any doubt yank the spinner first. I personally use it very early season. Week one and two are usually great, then by week three I usually end up having to yank it and once I do it’s retired for the season.
Fake looking decoys
I know what ur thinking. You at one time hunted over Coke bottles or you know someone who has. We have all heard that story or knew someone who painted Coke bottles and used them as decoys. The problem I have with that argument is 40 years ago everyone’s decoys didn’t look near as good as the decoys that are easily available on the market today. Some of the decoys today look so good that in the store I noticed my daughter was skittish to even touch them. It was like she was waiting for it to take off any second. I mean some of these decoys look amazing. So there’s no need to hunt over Coke bottles, or crappy looking decoys that you have hunted over for 42 years. Another issue I see is everyone wants to hunt over mallard decoys. Which is fantastic if you shoot mallards. But if you shoot gadwall and teal all year long except for the occasional mallard that you shoot once every other year then hunt over gadwall and teal decoys. It’s all about eliminating all odds that are against us, to better our chance at success.
Dead spreads are spreads that don’t look alive. Hence the name dead spreads. On days that there isn’t a wind, and the water is calm the decoys simply aren’t moving. If you hunt very small ponds are in timber where you are protected then this means you. Timber guys have it easy because they just have to kick water when calling at ducks. Now the guys hunting bigger waters and coastal wide open ponds and bays may not encounter this near as often. From a bird’s eye view decoys in small ponds with no wind and no movement stick out because even with no wind if that pond were filled with live ducks instead of decoys there would be movement. Small ripples on the water from birds pruning, and trails from ducks swimming and kicking their feet. There’s many cheap, very effective items in this industry to solve this simple problem such as jerk cords, quiver magnets, quiver butts etc. They are not expensive and work wonders on those flat water days.
It’s all about eliminating the odds against us, to better our success. Don’t be afraid to try new products, and don’t forget to look at the subtle things that may be the difference from passing shots to birds in your face with their feet down.