With the season opening this weekend there are going to be plenty of other hunters around you trying to lure in the same birds.Here are a few tips to make your spread a bit more appealing than the others.
Pages and pages can be written about how best to spread you decoys so I will just say this, think about where you want the ducks to land, not just where the decoys look good. If you are sitting on the edge of a pond don’t just plonk your decoys around your edge, this will mean you will be shooting longer distances over the top of the decoys. Leave a nice sized hole in between you and the decoys or create a channel through the middle of them for the birds to come in towards you through. If the birds are landing too far away from you take a few minutes to change your spread, it will be worth it.
If you go and watch ducks at the local pond you will notice they all seem to do their own thing on the water. This means they don’t all sit facing the same direction. If you tie all your anchors to the same end of the keel, you will find that when the wind picks up all your decoys will point in the same direction. Mix it up with some tied to the head end and some to the tail end for a bit of variety.
Add some variation to your spread. As mentioned above, ducks all do their own thing on the water. Mix your spread by adding, sleeping birds, feeders, some standing on the bank, others on the water. Variation will give a more natural look to the spread.
A spread devoid of motion looks very unnatural to birds flying over head. Unless they are all fast asleep, ducks are always swimming around, feeding, taking off or landing so it makes sense to imitate this in your spread. On a calm day this is especially important. Spinning wing decoys are growing rapidly in popularity, they represent a bird coming in to land and are so effective because they can be spotted from a long way off and well before the other decoys. Swimming decoys are very useful at creating movement in the water as well as vibrating birds. The cheapest option is to set up a jerk cord. Attach a piece of fishing line or bungy cord to one or more decoys and tug them as the birds come in. No matter how you go about it get some movement out there and the ducks will start piling in.
Match The Size
It should make sense that you want to match the size of the groups of birds in the area. If you find that the birds in the area are traveling in groups of 2 to 8 for example, don’t lay out a spread of 3 dozen decoys as this isn’t quite what they are used to seeing. They will be less suspicious to 6 birds sitting on the pond so keep it that way. Even though you have heaps of decoys you want to use, be smart about it and try to create the most natural spread you can.
Confidence decoys can be very useful tools. These are simply decoys of different species to what you are actually targeting. For example if you are on a paddock targeting Parries, include a couple of Mallards or Geese in your spread. These simply give your target game more confidence in the whole thing. Note, only use species that are commonly found in the area.
Try adding a few of these tricks to your Decoy Spreads this season and see if they help you bag your limit quicker.
Best of luck to everyone on opening. Make sure you take photo’s in your Hunters Element gear for our up coming photo comp, and as always stay safe and think before you pull the trigger.
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