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Banding Together for Waterfowl

The Facts About Confidence Decoys

Message to Ducks: "It's safe here. Come on down!"
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Story at a Glance

Confidence Decoys We'll Cover:

  • Geese
  • Coots
  • Herons, Egrets & Cranes
  • Sea Gulls
  • Swans
  • Crows
  • Cormorants
  • Specialty Duck Decoys

Also: Confidence Decoy Manufacturers


Herons, Egrets and Cranes

Great blue herons are among the wariest bird species in North America. Consequently, confidence decoys representing this species are among those most used by waterfowlers. By placing one or two of these decoys about 50 to 100 yards away from your waterfowl decoys, you can create an appearance of safety for passing duck flights.

Some hunters prefer egret decoys, which are white, saying they are more visible to ducks. And in states where sandhill cranes are common, hunters often add crane decoys to their spreads.

Sea Gulls

Sea gull decoys may be the oldest type of confidence decoy still in use. Hunters in coastal areas of the East and North used them more than a century ago. Usually one or two gulls were positioned on the edge of the set to give it a natural look, but some hunters placed them right on top of their sinkboxes or lined them up on the top of blinds.

Sea gull confidence decoys still remain popular with some coastal hunters hoping to sneak under the radar of wary divers and sea ducks. Hunters on inland water bodies use them only rarely, but a few sea gulls added to a spread on one of the many lakes or rivers frequented by gulls would probably prove useful. Standing and floating models are available.


Swans have become increasingly abundant in several states in recent decades, and some hunters have begun adding swan decoys to their spreads with reported success. Because manufactured swan decoys tend to be relatively expensive, these hunters often paint Canada goose decoys white to represent swans. But the floating Swan Aqua Vac Decoy from Carry-Lite Hunting Decoys (www.carrylitedecoys) offers an alternative for hunters who don't want to go to that trouble.

Swan decoys like goose decoys are large, thus making your spread more visible to high-flying or distant ducks. One or two placed a few yards from the edge of your regular spread may draw ducks that would otherwise pass you by. If you hope to bag some geese as well, however, hunters in-the-know say to dispense with the swan decoys. Geese apparently won't land when swans are nearby.

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Related:  decoy tips

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