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New Orleans, LA

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field notes: tips for effective decoy use

Emily Degan

Slow hunts are no fun. But even worse is what happens after: wet and frozen fingers must pack up decoys as their owners wonder if it’s even worth the trouble. So, is it?

Yes, when used effectively. Decoys work because:

  • Ducks like to flock up in the winter, so flocks of decoys incentivize ducks to land, and
  • Ducks are attracted to color, so vibrant decoys draw them in.

To make the most of your decoys use, follow these tips:

  1. Know the ducks in your area – In marshlands, you might use green-winged teal and wood ducks, but diving ducks in large lakes or coastal bays
  2. Buy the most colorful ducks in your area – This could mean buying more male decoys.
  3. Add feet – Not many floating decoys come with feet attached, but ducks look for those orange toes through the water. Make your decoys even more colorful and lifelike by simply tying two small strips of orange ribbon to their base.
  4. Add motion – This can be done by using spinners spinners (more effective in the early season), or by rigging a few decoys to a single line, which you agitate to create ripples (added benefit of easy clean-up). 

Happy hunting!