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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Tips for staying concealed

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4. Don't Let Your Guard Down
Keeping movement to a minimum while waterfowl are approaching a decoy spread is important, but so, too, Coluccy says, is to stay still when the birds are headed the other direction.

"With eyes on the sides of their head, waterfowl lack binocular vision, but they compensate for that by moving their heads from side to side, continually getting images from both eyes," says Coluccy. 

"Because of this, ducks and geese can see just about any direction all the way around them. Hunters then make the mistake of shifting in the blind or sticking a head up when birds are going away, thinking it is safe to move."

Using movement – a dark flag or hat – can be very good, Coluccy adds, to gain the attention of birds passing at a distance, but with a level of vision 2 to 3 times that of humans, both ducks and geese will often reach the point where the motion may keep them out of the decoys.

"There is a breaking point when you wave that flag and the birds are too close," says Coluccy. "They are going to pick that movement apart when they are in within or just outside of gun-range. Watch the reaction of the birds; they are going to tell you if they like the motion or not."

5.  Provide a Distraction
When limited surrounding cover, flat-light or other conditions affect a hunter's ability to hide, Coluccy recommends that hunters take a lesson from the birds.

"Anyone who has ever been fortunate to have a mob of ducks or geese over the decoys knows that you can get away with some things because the birds are distracted by the motion of all those wings in the air or birds hitting the ground," says Coluccy. "Hunters can use this to their advantage when they are having a tough time hiding by using well-placed motion in the decoys and, if possible, by shifting blind location."

A quiver magnet, jerk string or spinning-wing decoy will focus the attention of swinging birds away from hunters, while lay-out blinds or a make-shift blind positioned to the side of the decoys will provide quartering or crossing shots.

The shooting opportunities may be different than those provided by a traditional set-up, but with birds in the decoys rather than flaring from hunters or blinds exposed by a modest hide, Coluccy says unique shots are better than none at all.

"In a situation where it is tough to hide, you do what you can to keep the eyes of those ducks and geese off of you and on the decoys," says Coluccy. "Even in a perfect set-up, they aren't always going to give you an ideal shot. You just can't give them anything to look at and see danger, and ducks and geese see a lot, that's for sure."

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Related:  waterfowl 360wf360

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