Yamaha Outdoors Tip of the Week - Fake Out Waterfowl

Loosen Up. It’s serious stuff, our waterfowling, but don’t forget to have a good time. Steve Hickoff photo

By Steve Hickoff


Game on. You’re stoked. The energy drink buzz has finally kicked in. Your brand-new, mud-splattered Yamaha ATV or SxS vehicle has put you at your pre-dawn blind with plenty of time for a quick review of some decoying options for the morning.


Here are some spreads and setup tips to consider:


Hide yourself. If you’re in flooded timber on a bright bluebird day, definitely use the shady side of a tree to hide your outline.


Mixed bag? If you’re hunting an area that has both honkers and 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).


Sit tight, man. Don’t move until you’re ready to shoot. Unnecessary movement away from the dekes can tip ducks and geese off.


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.


Need help? If you’re using a mixed spread, plunk a spinning-wing decoy in the mix where legal.

Lighten up. If you’ve scouted seriously, and know where waterfowl are feeding, you can go out with a small spread, say a dozen decoys, and put together a sweet little hunt. This strategy sometimes works if you don’t have much time in the morning. Load that gear in the back of your four wheels—not as much as you might pile in usually, but cut down a bit—and have at it.


Swimmer sets work. If you’re in flooded timber, put some dekes to one end of the hole and facing away to simulate ducks that have landed and are swimming off.


Fill it up? 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.