By Steve Hickoff
Think big. To hunt waterfowl effectively this season, you need to fool real birds out of the sky to your blind position. Visual realism, adding movement, protecting your duck fakes and sounding right (or going silent) all matter. To hunt them though, scouting the night before is a major tactic.
Can You See ‘Em?
Other than having ducks and geese dropping down on your spread, there’s no better way to identify waterfowl species than by glassing distance birds in flight or at rest.
Can You Fool ‘Em?
We’ve never had more decoy options, from full bodies for fields to floaters for water; even spinning-wing motorized mallards, wing socks and light shell, easy-to-stack types. Can’t afford many full bodies? Round out the spread with more inexpensive fakes.
Can You Make ‘Em Turn?
Want movement? Let the morning breeze do some of the work. Add motion stakes too. Steel springs on these stiff stakes create lifelike motion in your full bodies and shell decoys. This little extra can turn birds your way and pull them in. They’re easy to stash, fairly inexpensive and worth the investment.
Can You Flag ‘Em In?
Add even more motion to your goose spread by flagging. This trick involves realistic bird images on a long handle. You wave and flap it as geese move at a distance in an effort to catch their attention and draw them in. You can also turn departing birds with flapping sounds.
Can You Talk To ‘Em?
Some argue that a good location and realistic spread of decoys are all you need for a successful hunt. That’s sometimes true -- calling waterfowl doesn’t always matter. Then again, it’s clear at times single honkers and small groups (as with ducks) can be pulled in vocally.
Can You Keep ‘Em Clean?
Slotted bags protect your investment. Floating bags allow you to set fakes with more ease. Mesh bags can be carried on your back like the others and hold a lot of decoys when budget is a factor. Most can carry your fakes, motion stakes and flags in one effort.
Life’s short. The waterfowl season is never long enough. Go the distance.