Be a jerk!
I'll never forget the day Buck Gardner—NOTE: Buck, in case you've lived under a rock for the past 40 years, has made his living and his reputation crafting and blowing duck calls—told me in no uncertain terms, "If I had to choose between a duck call and a jerk cord, I'd choose a jerk cord 100 percent of the time." Coming from a World Champion and the Champion of Champions…well, that says a whole lot about jerk cords.
The problem with even today's ultra-realistic decoys is they lack movement. Throw a simple-to-make, inexpensive, and very portable jerk cord into the mix, and you've eliminated this problem entirely. I'm with Buck on this one, regardless of what or where I'm gunning.
My favorite: The Random Placement Theory
My personal favorite rig for puddlers? Well, in most cases, I'm walking into my hunting area, so my rig is small in number – a dozen, perhaps 18 at the most. Species and sex? I run a little bit of everything in terms of species, including widgeon, gadwall, shovelers, ringnecks and three subspecies of teal, as well as the obligatory mallards and pintails. As for gender, mine's a 50/50 mix of drakes to hens, give or take; however, I will use drake spoonbills and sprig because the white does show at a distance.
And now, the arrangement itself. Under most circumstances, I subscribe to what I call The Random Placement Theory of decoy rigging. Standing in front of my blind for the day, and taking into consideration the wind direction, I randomly pitch decoys until they're gone, minding not to throw any more than 30 or so yards from my hide. Then I go back to the blind, give the dog a Little Debbie Snack Cake, pour a cup of coffee and settle down to wait. After all, I hunt so as to relax. It's not, as Mr. Gardner says, rocket science.
by M.D. Johnson | M & J Outdoor Communications