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Muck Boy Waterfowl Decoy Page

Decoys and there use, placement and care, as seasoned duck and goose hunters knowthis is the second most import thing we can do to effect our success when waterfowl hunting. Of course the first thing you must do, to make your decoys more effective is, be where the birds want to be. It does not matter what brand or style and or how much you have paid for your decoys, if you are not set-up where the birds to want to be!

Decoy Use - It is very important to pay attention to what the birds are trying to tell you. If the birds will not commit or seem to always flare. First look at your cover and make sure there is nothing visible, that might cause this. I have seen spent shell casings do this and of course the other is someone always poking their uncovered face out. If this does not seem to be the cause, look at your decoy set up. Is there a decoy or decoys that seem out of place? Does their profile or color shading seem out of place? Understanding that this will vary day to day because of the light situation and how receptive the birds are to decoying that day. The other thing is the number of decoys you put out, again let the birds dictate this to you. Depending on the day and species the numbers you put out will vary. Over the years we have came up with basic set-ups for specific areas that we hunt. Examples of this could be: when we hunt Michigan's managed waterfowl areas, we would most likely set up 2 to 3 dozen duck decoys with maybe 6 goose decoys on the the edge of the set-up early in the season. Later in the season we would most likely remove the goose decoys because the geese have learned not to use the area and it would not be natural for them to be there, therefore the ducks just avoid you. When hunting early goose season here in Michigan, we will set up no more that a couple of dozen full body decoys, not to say shells would work as well, we just prefer full body. On the other hand we have seen situations where we have set-up every goose decoy we own to pull the birds in, about 4 dozen. If we have a body of water we will enhance our set-up with some floaters. If the birds still seem shy try putting out a few duck decoys in the set-up. One season a few years ago we were set-up on a golf course that was under construction. It was a prime situation with birds in the area. Day one the birds would look and not commit no matter what we tried. On day two we put a dozen duck decoys a little ways away from the goose decoys and sure enough this is all it took to make the birds confident enough to commit. Wish we would of thought about doing this on the first day.

Decoy Placement -There are certain factors you need to take into consideration when placing your decoys for a given hunt. First is the wind direction and can you set-up effectively for the area you want to hunt? Is there proper cover available in the area to hunt a particular wind direction? I have seen soughs in North Dakota where the cover was only on one side, so we could only hunt it when the wind was in a particular direction. When we set-up on smaller bodies of water we normally will split the number of decoys with about half to the left and half to right with no decoy being more than 40 yards out in any direction, making sure we have a good size pocket right in front of our hide with the wind to our back. This gives the birds an area to commit, within good gun range. When hunting harvested fields, the best set-up we have ever hunted is when the decoys are 20 to 25 yards behind us and because of the wind direction the birds come right over our cover. Again you will need to experiment with decoy placement and find the right patterns that work best for you.

Decoy Care - Before every season we go through our decoys and make sure that they are clean. This makes sure the color is as good as it can be, we believe when the birds are decoy shy the color is what makes the difference. If your decoys color is starting to fade you may want to think about painting them, we have done this before and it is not that hard. Also make sure all your floaters stings and anchor knots are still tied solid. It sure is a pain chasing decoys across the water in a high wind.

Decoy Weight Set-ups
Over some 40 years of tying weights to decoys, I think I have tried every thing you can imagine. But no matter what I did, weights fell off the decoys marring the paint and tangling lines in the bags. So try this method, using the typical flat weight attach a weight with a Stretchee decoy anchor cord, (4oz for most duck decoys and maybe 7 1/2 oz for goose decoys). There are clips you can get for attaching the line but I just tie the line to the Stretchee. What this cord allows you to do is attach the weight around keel of decoy, no matter the length of the decoy line. Also we prefer the multi colored decoy line. it seems do disappear in the water better than the plain green line. Try this the next time you are tying up some decoys, no more tangled lines, no more messed up decoy paint.


Note: Now you can buy anchor weights that are designed for doing this.

In conclusion:

Every year make sure your decoys are ready for the season.
Set-up where the birds want to be.

Don't be afraid to change up if the birds are not cooperating.
Don't be afraid to try something new.
Over time you will have your own favorite patterns that work for you.

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