Wednesday, September 25, 2013

HOW-TO: Duck Hunting Decoy Spreads

With Duck season fast approaching and alot of new hunters getting into the sport, I thought I would write a HOW-TO article on positioning of decoy spreads.. This is one of the key factors in duck hunting and if you ever have hunted with me, you know how exact I am in their placement.  I have put together some microsoft paint drawings to illustrate the different spreads I use. This is not the ONLY way you can place them for success so play with them and see what works best in your situation but it is what I have found to work the majority of the time.

A couple things to remember:
  • Always leave a pocket (or two) for the birds to land
  • Always pay attention to the layout of your decoys in relation to wind dierection as birds will land into the wind 99.9999% of the time.
  • Start with less decoys in the early season and more as the season progresses. Also try and match the birds you are seeing in your area.
  • Puddle ducks like calm, sheltered waters where diver ducks will burn up a spread in the highest winds without regard.
The Letter J 
The letter J is often spoke about in duck hunting because it naturally forms a pocket for incoming waterfowl to land comfortably. It can be adjusted for any wind direction other than straight in your face especially if hunting a long point. If using ducks and geese put the geese on the outeer edge and the ducks closer up towards shore. I find that geese are comfortable further from shore while puddle ducks tend to want to be inshore more.

The Hybrid W
Alot of people like to use a W as well as it creates 2 pockets. I like to step it up a bit and do a small J on one side of the blind out of geese, a gap in the middle with just a pair of ducks, and then a W off to the other side. This gives you multiple land zones for finicky ducks that want that "perfect" spot to plop down.For this the wind needs to be at your back or VERY slightly side to..

 Setting Sun
This setup is great for a point setup but will work elsewhere too. It is mainly used for diver hunts. Each leg will be a different species(Canvasbacks, Bluebills, Goldeneyes, Buffleheads) and then a knot of mixed decoys in the middle. Alot of species like to only decoy to birds of the same kind, you know "Birds of a feather flock together... NO B.S.) It may look funny but it works i will swear to that. The birds will fly down the line of decoys and attempt to set down next to the mix in the middle. 

Layout Blind Decoy Spread
The last illustration is stricly for diver and sea-duck hunting and for use with layout boats. It is deadly when applied and almost never fails to draw in the birds. Here too birds will follow the string of decoys to the wad in the middle and usually try to sit down.

None of these layouts are set in stone and all can be changed up to fit your scenario. Play with your spread and find out what the birds in your area want to see.