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decoy tips


Ridiculously Smart Decoy Strategies

If ducks and geese in your area have learned to recognize traditional decoy spread configurations, it's time to leave complacency behind and invent a new decoy strategy. The following decoy spreads were devised by savvy waterfowl hunters to create a unique look in specific habitats to appeal to even the wariest birds.

Gear Guide: Decoy Roundup

Decoy manufacturers continue to improve the durability and realism of waterfowl decoys. The ability to mix and match species and body styles allows waterfowl hunters to create some of the most lifelike decoy spreads ever. If you’re looking to add a few blocks, or start a new decoy spread from scratch, here are a few recommendations.

Why You Should Go Bottoms Up

Today's decoy manufacturers have taken realism to the extreme. Here are some useful tips from three veteran waterfowlers on how to use these decoys to bag more birds.

Field Notes: Wrapping Decoys

Captain Bob Wetherald of Maryland's Mid-River Guide Service explains two techniques for wrapping line around your decoys. Visit ducks.org/DUTV for other DU TV Better Waterfowling Tips and more.

10 Surefire Decoy Strategies

Setting the right spread that can convince even the wariest waterfowl will give you an advantage over other hunters. Here are 10 expert tips that will consistently help you close the deal.

Retriever Training Tip: Maneuvering Decoys

Seven Tactics for Hunting Public Ducks

Managed public lands typically attract plenty of ducks. They also draw large numbers of hunters. Here are seven surefire strategies to help you bag more birds on these come-one, come-all waterfowl hunting areas.

Waterfowler's Notebook: Hunting Small-Water Divers

Going small for diving ducks can yield big results. By Wade Bourne.

Shining the Spotlight on Specks

With a pair of refuge areas near his home in central Kansas, waterfowl guide and hunter Zach Simon has the opportunity to watch migrating speckle-bellied geese stage by the hundreds of thousands as they wing their way from the arctic to wintering areas in Texas and Louisiana.

DU-TV Better Waterfowling Tip: Hunting Migration Corridors

Wade Bourne explains how to hunt the edges of the "X"

DU-TV Tip: Full-Body Decoys

How to utilize full-body decoys to add realism

Retriever Training: Maneuver Your Retriever through Decoys

Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels provides tips for maneuvering decoys.

Big Decoy Spread Yields Big Results

So, how many decoys are enough? According to veteran hunter Crispin Powley of Paris, Tennessee, more is always better.

Bring Old Decoys Back to Life

Worn-out decoys can ruin an otherwise good waterfowl hunt. After all, when ducks and geese lock up and drop toward your spread, it's because they believe your decoys are the real thing.

Get Ready for Duck Hunting Season

Though it can be difficult to imagine during these hot summer months, another waterfowl season is fast approaching.

Five Small Spreads for Ducks

Here's how to make the most of a limited number of decoys in five common waterfowl habitats. Illustrations by Kevin Hand.

How to Make a Jerk Cord for Decoys

Jim Ronquest, RNT-V producer, explains how to make and use a jerk cord.

Create a Mixed-Species Decoy Spread

Learn a Texas guide's approach to decoying several species with one, well-placed decoy spread.

Fall Snow Geese

The sound of snow geese migrating south is, for some, the quintessential sound of fall, but for many hunters light geese have become a spring-only target. You don't have to wait until March to target snow geese, and the following tips from a pair of snow goose gurus will show you how.

Finding the Easiest Approach

Jim Ronquest, RNT-V producer explains how ducks will follow the easiest approach into the decoys. Setting your decoys along the easiest approach will help ducks commit to your decoys.

Tips to bring your decoy spread to life

Jim Ronquest, RNT-V producer, describes how you can utlize a jerk string to bring your decoy spread to life with exceptional movement.

Secrets for Early Geese

Hunting resident Canada geese during the early season can be feast or famine. Great opportunities exist for goose hunters who are willing to do the work necessary to put themselves on the X. See 10 tips from members of the Avery Outdoors pro staff that will help you bag more geese now and later in the season.

5 Tips for Early Season Ducks

These five tips, from hunting locations to shooting, will help you improve your waterfowling hunts.

Decoys for Moving Waters

Here's a deadly spread for hunting rivers, creeks, and spring-fed sloughs

Four Time-Tested Tips for Hunting Dabblers

Waterfowl are moving with the cold December winds, and hunters throughout the country are preparing for the winter flights. The DU E-newsletter editorial team has selected four of the most time-tested dabbler hunting tips for you to focus on this season. Remembering these four essentials can help you improve your calling, decoys, concealment and shooting.

Texas Rigging Decoys

If you hunt mostly in shallow water, you might want to Texas-rig your decoys. Tim Soderquist, a former waterfowl guide who now works for Ducks Unlimited in Texas, rigs all his decoys this way. "A big advantage of Texas-rigging is how quickly it allows you to put out and pick up your decoys," he says. "But it also really cuts down on tangles."

Hunting Flight Ducks

This is the time of year that waterfowlers in mid-latitude states live for, when every major cold front can bring new flights and hot shooting.

Create a Landing Zone for Ducks

Use specific decoy patterns to get duck to land on the 'X'.

How to make a jerk string

A jerk string provides realistic movement to any decoy spread without having to mess with batter-powered machines.

Making Waves

Motion is crucial when dealing with decoy-shy birds. Here's a sampling of cutting-edge motion decoys to help shake up your spread


A complete listing of our decoy strategy articles

Decoy Strategies for Geese

Tyson Keller, one of the nation's top goose hunters, offers tips to capitalize on proven bird habits and put more geese in the decoys this season.

3 Decoy Strategies for Ducks

The saying goes that if your decoy spread ain't broke, don't fix it. But if birds are starting to become wary of your setup, it might be time to mix things up a bit. We have some tips from one of the nation's top duck hunters to keep the birds guessing this fall.

Super-Natural Spreads

Create an ultra-realistic decoy spread that imitates the behavior and body language of live waterfowl

Dealing with Wind and Tides

Tips for keeping high winds and tides from ruining your next sea duck hunt.

5 Fantastic Duck Spreads

There are a handful of elemental spreads that will produce under most conditions, coast to coast. Maybe not every time, but with enough consistency as to qualify them as Old Standbys.

Point-Blank Waterfowling

These tips will help you get more birds feet down over the decoys.

15 Veteran Tips for Waterfowlers

Hang around even the most tight-lipped hunters long enough and they will share good advice, particularly during the off-season—you just have to be listening when they do.

Mega Decoy Rigs

In the right situation, a massive decoy spread can be especially effective.

Bring Your Decoy Rig to Life

Motion—all duck hunters know they need it in their decoys. Motion mimics real ducks, transforming a lifeless spread into one brimming with activity.

Late-Season Decoy Spreads

Overcoming the challenges of winter waterfowling requires both realism and creativity.

30 Helpful Hints for Waterfowlers

Would you like to improve your waterfowling success and make each trip a bit safer and more enjoyable? These 30 tips could help!

20 Tips For Better Waterfowling

These helpful hints from some of today's most innovative duck and goose hunters might pay off big this season

Decoy Spreads for Canada Geese

Canada goose decoy strategies from expert hunters across the country

The Facts About Confidence Decoys

Message to Ducks: "It's safe here. Come on down!"

Creative Decoy Strategies

Decoy ideas & tips that hunters can use anywhere

10 Strategies For Decoy-Shy Ducks

Late in the season, duck hunters must adapt to changes in the birds' behavior brought on by hunting pressure and pair-bonding.

Bird's-Eye View

How blinds and decoy spreads appear from the birds' perspective

Simple and Dependable Decoy Rigs

Dependability and simplicity are key considerations when rigging decoys.

Tips for Using Full-Body Field Decoys

These lifelike decoys are highly effective in a variety of hunting environments

Super Spreads for Ducks

Surefire strategies for setting decoys in classic habitats.

Quick Paint Touch-Up for Mallard Decoys

Duck decoys can take on a dull, unnatural look after a few seasons of hard use. Exposure to sun robs their luster. Rubbing and bumping against other decoys and ice causes paint to chip off. Dried mud can leave a grimy film over decoy bodies.

How to Repair Leaky Decoys

Here’s how to fix leaky decoys, so they can be returned to service when the spread is deployed the following season.

Words of Wisdom from DU Members

Words of wisdom from DU members across North America

The Men Behind the Legends

Their handiwork has dazzled us for decades, but we should remember that many heralded decoy carvers were just everyday folks.

Freshwater Marsh Decoy Spread

Tips to create an effective spread on a freshwater marsh

Shoreline Sets for Diving Ducks

Decoy Spreads: Cypress Brakes, Standing-Water Swamp

Decoy Spreads: River Chute Two-Spread Set

Big Decoy Rigs

Tips from waterfowlers who hunt over some of the biggest decoy rigs.

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