By Steve Hickoff
Spending time in the basement or garage these days? Me too. After all, that’s where we keep our waterfowling gear, right? There are things you should do now that will help you later. Early seasons begin next month. Be ready.
NOW: Clean and place your duck and goose fakes in specific decoy bags with certain hunt locations and situations in mind.
LATER: Calm morning? Loosen the decoy spread up. On windless days, waterfowl aren’t limited to one approach, so birds might come from any direction. This goes for field geese and marsh ducks. Your prepped decoy bags will be ready to react.
NOW: Need an upgrade to your honker arsenal? Waterfowl catalogs have just started to arrive in the mail. Order some Canada goose full bodies to add realism to your old fakes.
LATER: Mixed bag? If you’re hunting an area that has both honkers (plus quackers) and there’s some wind, set up with the breeze quartering over either shoulder. Put the duck dekes on the water or in the field moving out from the blind. Stake goose fakes parallel to your position (or vice-versa).
NOW: Still frustrated from last season? Need help pulling birds in? Spinning-wing decoys can add punch to your approach.
LATER: If you’re using a mixed spread, plunk spinning-wing decoys in the mix where legal.
NOW: Scout online classified sections in duck forums to pick up new decoys. You can never have too many, right?
LATER: If you’re hunting a small pothole, try filling it with decoys for a change. Load it, and don’t leave an open spot. Why? Some waterfowlers often don’t fill potholes to open up room for landers. Still, if you fill that spot with dekes, ducks will first commit, and try to land, but will then have to spread out a little to look for open spots. That’s when you take ‘em.
And don’t forget to double-check the best way to carry decoy bags on your Yamaha ATV or SxS; especially if you stock up on new fakes.