Many seasoned duck hunters learned their sport by using time-honored ways and methods of the old-school hunters. This is where you go to your blind in the dark, throw out your decoys, and wait for shooting time. It’s a simple process that’s been used by duck hunters for a long while, and it’s still used today. It doesn’t require much thought, and it almost becomes routine after a while – toss the decoys, and they’ll come! It’s been successful for some who have been able to make it work on occasion. However, it may be too simple of a process to turn a good duck hunter into a great one.
Great duck hunters are always looking for new and different ways to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Location and concealment are two factors to do differently than others, but even more importantly are decoys. They are one major thing that you can do differently in order to get ahead of everyone else. Nothing else can aid you more in improving your odds of shooting more birds. Always look to new ways of making your spread more effective and productive.
Keep Things Natural
In doing so, you’ll need to blend your decoy spread into the surrounding natural environment. There are countless varieties and styles of decoys to choose from, so pick yours based upon where you hunt. As you know, ducks have keen eyesight, especially when within shooting range, so your spread must be credible.
When buying decoys, a common trap is selecting a large number of one stereotypical decoy – the green head mallard. That’s because a lot of people automatically think of mallards when they think of ducks. Once again, based upon your hunting location, this is a huge detail that a lot of hunters can accidentally overlook. It’s normal for us to have mallards, so we use a small number of mallard decoys, and they work great. However, we don’t overpopulate our spread with mallard decoys. There’s several duck species that require equal attention when trying to get the birds to pick our spread.
Use Common Species
Watch the skies and note all the species you see in the air that you don’t have in your spread. Some nice additions to your Texas coastal spread might be gadwall, canvasback, teal, redhead, pintail, and widgeon decoys. Remember, it’s always more appealing to the ducks for them to see species that are commonly found in your location. You might consider eliminating all mallards in order to give the ducks an altogether different look at your decoys.
You may want to consider enhancing the effectiveness of your spread by including a few assurance decoys. What are assurance decoys? These are bird species other than ducks, that live in or commonly visit your hunting location. Such decoys to be used along the Texas coast might be goose, sandhill crane, blue heron, or coot decoys. Throw a couple of these decoys into your mix and the ducks will typically prefer your spread. This is simply another great way for you to differentiate your spread from that of your neighbor’s.