By Wade Bourne. Illustrations by Kevin Hand.
When it comes to decoy spreads
, many hunters subscribe to the "bigger is better" theory. They believe that the power of a spread's persuasion is directly proportional to the number of decoys it contains. So these hunters amass, deploy, and maintain hundreds—or even thousands—of decoys. Of course, there's nothing wrong with this approach. A gigantic spread will often pull ducks in like a magnet.
But many hunters, especially freelancers, prefer not to deploy such an outsize spread. Some can't bear the expense. Others simply don't have the time or inclination to transport, deploy, and pick up a large spread every time they hunt.
The truth is, in many situations a small spread will work just as well as a big one. A waterfowler with two dozen decoys and a healthy dose of hunting savvy can still enjoy quality gunning
. Many times it's more about "how" than "how many." Following are five small decoy spreads, from members of the Avery Outdoors pro staff, that are designed to pull ducks into close shooting range in specific hunting situations.