Being a waterfowl hunter, you must be still fascinated how small differences in decoy setups can have such a big impact on how approaching birds react (or not) — and ultimately on the success of your hunt. Setting up a highly effective decoy spread is indeed both an art and a science. And like most other worthy pursuits, it is something that you can never quite perfect rather it requires continuous experimentation and a passion for lifelong learning.
What must the Duck Hunting fanatics do when they on a waterfowl hunting trip in Texas, but they realize that their tackle box is mainly stocked with ineffective decoys? Well, all you require doing is hire a reputed Texas duck hunting lodge and their professional duck hunting guides will help you learn the art and science of decoy placement for ducks effectively. Hunters that desire attaining maximum versatility out of their lures must consider that decoys play an important part in luring your prey.
The Significant Duck Decoying Essentials to Consider While on a Duck Hunting Trip in Texas:
There are probably more variables that affect a duck’s behavior over decoys than the duck hunters, but here are some of the most important duck decoys placement techniques that professional duck hunting guides can help you learn while on a duck hunting trip:
- Wind Conditions:
- Ducks and geese typically (but not always) try to land into the wind. Set up your decoys upwind of where you want them to land so that your “pocket” or landing area allows them to fly into the wind and right into where you want them to “finish” or set down.
- If possible, try to hunt with the wind at a quartering angle to your blind. This can keep the birds’ attention on your decoy spread and not on your boat or blind — because they won’t be as likely to try to land looking directly at you if the wind is blowing at a quartering angle from your back.
- Wait to call the shot until a flock sets up to land just upwind of your blind. More times than not, this will cause flaring birds to pass back over the top of your blind, giving you a higher percentage shot at making good kill shots.
- Water Type & Conditions:
- Big Water Setups: Big water can mean big rivers, lakes or coastal hunting. The following setups can work in any of these environments
- The Classic J-Hook:In this classic setup you’ll put the bulk of your decoy spread upwind, and then run a line of decoys down wind and past your blind, making a rough “J” shape. IF it is common for different species of birds to feed or rest together in your region, don’t be afraid to mix some geese in with your duck decoys, and use a few different species here and there at different parts of the “J”. This can help add realism to your spread and provide added visibility since some decoy sizes and paint schemes can be more visible than others (like goose deeks and black ducks).
- The Lucky Horseshoe:With the wind directly at your backs and occasionally quartering off one shoulder or the other, you can set up a spread with heavy concentrations of mallard decoys extending out in a “U” shape about 20 yards to the sides each direction and maybe 30-40 yards out, placing your boat blind at the closed end of the horseshoe. Just outside the top ends of the U past the mallards you can set a couple of small family groups of 4-5 geese on each side.
- Rivers & Stream Setups: If you’re on a river, stream or slough here are some tactics that many experienced hunters swear by.
- The Block & Bunch: If you’re on a small river channel or slough and have enough decoys, try to block off the entire channel with a large group of decoys upwind of your blind. Flocks of ducks that are flying up the main artery of a river often fly into these side channels and will dump straight into your setup if you completely block off the stream. The bunch part comes into play by setting a few more small groups of decoys downwind of your stream “blockers” along both sides of the stream. Placing majority of these “bunches” along the opposite bank to forces the decoying birds to land closer to your blind and provides higher percentage shots.
- Flooded Timber: “Honey Holes” in flooded timber can take on many different shapes and sizes, so you’ll have to make adjustments to fit the water you’re hunting, but here are a few tested tips that will help improve your odds. Go Big To Be Visible: When your hunting flooded timber and you’re in a smaller hole in the trees, flying ducks don’t have a lot of time to see your spread as they wing by. That said, you should make sure your spread is as visible as possible to pull in passing ducks. Create a Comfort Zone: It is amazing how gracefully ducks can drop into a small landing area in flooded timber. But, you don’t want the ducks to feel crowded. Give them plenty of room to land by placing the majority of your spread on the upwind side of the hole, and leave a larger open area downwind to create a comfortable landing zone.
- Time of season: It can also affect how you should call (or not) to approaching ducks. Another basic rule of thumb is to be more aggressive with calling early in the season and be more conservative with the call later in the season when ducks are more likely to be “call shy”.
- Water Levels: Again, try to set up your spread so it matches the behavior of ducks in that type of water (are they typically feeding or resting there?). Another factor to consider is the degree of difficulty in which you can set your decoys.
- Decoy Movement: No matter what type of water you hunt, decoy movement will add life to your spread, and increase the confidence of passing ducks that your spread is safe to land in. There are dozens of techniques for adding movement: motion stakes, spinners, quiver magnets, jerk strings.
Complying With the Art of Duck Decoying:
Just as you cannot really “teach” someone to be a great artist, it is difficult, if not impossible to teach the subtle “art” of decoying ducks. Much of that has to be developed by spending time watching and hunting waterfowl. Over time you’ll find that you develop instincts for how to set your spread and what kind of adjustments you need to make under changing conditions.
When you’re setting your spread or it simply isn’t working try to listen to that that little voice in your gut. Whether you are aware of it or not, part of your mind is always working when you’re on the water or in the field. If you’ve got a feeling you should adjust your spread, do it. You probably know more than you think you do. Hunters that tend to take the assistance of the professional duck hunting guides provided by their hired Texas Duck Hunting Lodge are likely to have an amazing, safe and thrilling duck hunting experience in Texas.
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