Duck Decoys

Duck decoys floating in the water Hunters setting out decoys in pre-dawn hours 

Many duck hunters will set a spread of decoys around their blinds to attract ducks. Most waterfowl hunters only hunt in the morning, then allow the ponds and fields to rest in the afternoon. Setting the decoys therefore is usually done in complete darkness prior to the morning hunt. Headlights that strap around your head or clip to the bill of your hat give off good light and keep your hands free.Battery powered duck decoy

Some decoys with battery powered wings simulate ducks that are landing.diagram of decoy placement highlighting landing zone

The basic strategy in setting a decoy spread is to leave a space in front, to the left and right of your blind or shooting position for the ducks to land in. The area should be close enough to be in effective range of shotguns. Ducks will always land into the wind so many hunters like to set up so the wind is blowing from the left or right, offering a passing shot. Many hunters will also set their blinds facing north since many newly arriving ducks will be coming from the north. Since most duck hunting is done at dawn, facing north will keep the sun out of your face. It is rare that everything works perfectly, the wind may change, the decoys may drift. Many times hunters will rearrange their decoy spread in the middle of the hunt to adapt for changes in conditions.

Rag Spreads

Goose hunter lying in rag spread Rag goose hunting spread goose hunter using a call in rag spread

Used to mimic large flocks of geese, the Texas Rag Spread is an inexpensive way to set out hundreds, if not thousands of decoys for goose hunting.

Field of rag decoys Close-up of rag decoy Geese flocking to field

In the 1940’s Texas hunters discovered that sheets of newspaper on the ground would attract snow geese.  In the 1950’s hunters started using sheets of white cloth. Today’s rag decoys are made of plastic. They are like a wind sock which fills with air from any breeze, providing a 3 dimensional appearance and generating movement. Hunters also wear white coats or overalls to blend in with the spread.

Hunter picking up rag decoys Hunter deploying decoys

Rag decoys are easy to deploy and pick up.

Full body decoys are also used for geese and some hunters combine them with a rag spread.

Dove Decoys

Dove decoys posted on a fence Robo dove decoy

Some dove hunters will clip dove decoys to a fence or to tree branches.

There are also dove decoys with battery powered wings that spin, giving a more lifelike appearance.

Turkey decoy
Turkey Decoys

Some turkey hunters will set out decoys, in addition to calling.