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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Big Decoy Rigs

Tips from waterfowlers who hunt over some of the biggest decoy rigs.
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  • photo by Robert Smart
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Story at a Glance
Big rigs in this article include:
  • Playing the Field
  • A Good Layout
  • In Black and White
  • Going for Number
  • Other Big Rigs

Anderson makes his own windsock decoys from synthetic Tyvek fabric, which is lightweight and moves in the slightest breeze. When filled with air, the hollow body of each decoy closely resembles the size, shape, and motion of a feeding snow. A metal washer is used to secure the decoy's head to a 3/8-inch wooden dowel that serves as a stake.

"We put out the bulk of our goose socks in a big mass about 60 to 80 yards wide, depending on how many people we have in our party that day," Anderson says. "To make the spread look as natural as possible, we surround the main body of decoys with scattered family groups, which helps to break things up."

In addition to drawing lesser snows and Ross' geese, the white spread is also very appealing to ducks. "On the prairies, ducks seem to feed with snow geese more than in other areas," Anderson says. "They will come to a big white spread like a magnet, especially during the first half-hour before sunrise. We often get our limits of ducks before the geese have even started flying."

For dark geese, Anderson sets a mixed spread of four dozen Canada goose shells and four dozen silhouettes in two groups on the downwind side of the white spread. "You have to separate your white and dark goose decoys because Canadas and specks don't like to fly over white spreads," he says. "Calling is also very important for both snows and Canadas. With a spread that size, you have to work them well with the call to get them to sit down where you want them."

Anderson and his hunting partners conceal themselves by wearing white parkas and facemasks and sitting among the windsocks on the ground on Avery backpack recliners, parallel with one another for safety. "On a windy day, you would be amazed how much movement you can get away with while wearing white in a big field of goose socks. Last season, we had five hunters and a camera crew in our rig, and we still had birds lighting right in our faces."  

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Related:  decoy tips

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