5. Wayne Radcliffe's Atlantic Brant Spread
Avery pro-staff member Wayne Radcliffe of Glen Arm, Maryland
, shot his first brant more than 25 years ago, and has pursued these birds enthusiastically ever since. Today he hunts mostly along the east coast of Maryland and Virginia
, where large concentrations of Atlantic brant winter, feeding on sea lettuce, eelgrass, and other submerged aquatic vegetation. These birds move from feeding site to feeding site as the tides rise and fall.
Radcliffe studies tide charts and water depths in various feeding areas to figure out where brant
will be moving. He and his hunting partners then set up layout blinds on islands or shorelines, or hunt from boat blinds
on shallow flats. His decoy spread is simple. He uses homemade V-boards—three silhouette decoys mounted on two-by-two-inch wooden slats that are hinged together to open as a tri-fold. He cuts these silhouettes from lightweight plywood and paints them black, brown, and gray to resemble brant.
"I typically put out three dozen V-boards at a time, setting them in a U or J configuration with the outer edges of the pattern downwind," Radcliffe says. "Brant always decoy into the wind, so I concentrate more decoys in the back of the U or J to give the birds a more obvious landing zone."
Radcliffe also places six to eight black duck
decoys along the edges of the V-boards. "This way my spread works double duty for brant and ducks," he says.
His final tip: "Since brant are very susceptible to calling
, it's important to call a lot to get their attention, and to keep calling as the birds come in. Brant aren't hard to decoy. Sometimes they'll fly right to you."