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Using duck decoys

Using Duck Decoys

Duck hunting is not complete without the use of duck decoys. The purpose of them is to create a more natural looking hunting environment. In turn, this tricks any ducks flying overhead into thinking it is a safe place to land.
Earlier, tamed ducks were used to attract wild ducks towards a patch of water. The pond was constructed with a wickerwork tunnel that was long and cone shaped. Barriers were cleverly built to hide a “decoy man” from the birds which were in vicinity to the pond side of the tunnel, while he was being revealed to the birds that were closer to the trap end of the tunnel. The decoy man employed the use of a trained dog as well as grain to attract the birds towards the tunnel. Once they entered the tunnel, the birds moved away from the decoy man towards the dog. Then the birds are driven into a small trap set up at the end of the tunnel where they were ultimately killed.
Nowadays, duck decoys are toys of ducks, custom made at home or bought at hunting stores. Different labels as Taylor Decoys, Columbia River, and E. Allen etc sell different duck decoys. Many website also offer the sale of a variety of duck decoys for reasonable rates.
It is always best to know what flock of birds are expected to decide on the type of duck decoys to use. But it is not advisable to use ducks of only one type. A variety of duck breeds like Mallards, Canada geese, Pintails, Drakes, Ringnecks, Gadball give the decoy spread a more natural look. Confidence decoys like those consisting of crane decoys, swan decoys, heron decoys or curlew decoys can also be used. These add variety to the spread and also build confidence. The decoys should also be spread to make it a very natural and alluring environment.  The location of the spread is also important. Though some may be placed near the blinds, other should be placed in the open. The open should be  a large area that is visible from a flying duck’s point of view. There is no use of a good spread if it is not visible to the flock.
Also, water bodies with high waves do not attract the birds and hence calm waters are to be preferred while attracting ducks.
It is always better to have a good decoy spread facing different directions to add authenticity to the set up. This is because all duck decoys facing the same direction gives the appearance of birds that are alert and on the look – out for danger. The additional benefit of having decoys facing different directions is that, for birds flying above in any direction, the visibility of different patterns of colours below. Hence birds above get a pattern to colours of different regions of the birds and assume a natural flock below.
Thus having a great decoy is just not enough to add more ducks to the hit-list. The handling and maintenance of duck decoys is also important to create a ‘boom’ing success.

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