By Wade Bourne
My hunting partners and I call our decoy spread “The Surge.” Last season we were faring poorly at our new spot. We were hunting from a pit at the edge of a flooded swag in an open field. We had 300 Canada goose decoys on the ground behind us and 10 dozen ducks floating in front, but ducks would consistently circle our spot and then break off and fly away.
My partner’s 22-year-old son spoke up one morning. “I’m tired of this,” he said. “If nobody objects, I’m going to change the decoys. I’m going to make this place look like a refuge!”
I left that afternoon, and when I returned three days later, I was astounded to see how much our spread had grown. Now we had about 500 duck decoys divided into linear groups to the left and right of our pit. The decoys were so close together many were almost touching. Also, the young hunter had completely covered the pit with goose decoys and moved other geese to the water’s edge to merge with the ducks.
From that point on, the birds would come in, sail around once or twice, and then pitch into the open hole in front of the pit. If ducks tried to land outside shotgun range, we could usually coax them into the hole with insistent calling.
The young hunter had indeed made our spread look like birds on a refuge, and both ducks and geese liked it. It had taken no small amount of work to do so, but the great shooting we enjoyed from then on made his effort more than worthwhile.