Question: 
I was wondering what your guys' opinion would be as far as species serperation in your decoy spreads. Usually where we hunt here in wisconsin we will run about 5 dozen mallards, a dozen pintail, and a dozen gadwall and wigeon in our spread and usually we will put the pintail in clear sight for a confidence decoy, but then with our mallards i was wondering if you would recommend mixing some gadwall and wigeon in with them? Same goes with teal.

James,

I think that it is great that you are mixing species to add realism to your decoys, and I definitely think that having variety in your spread makes close working birds more confident. Gadwall and Widgeon mix with Mallards all the time, so mixing them in with your spread can only help if you hunt in an area that has all three species. The key is to keep it real. For instance, you will notice that "big ducks" like Mallards and Pintails often fly together, whereas "little ducks", like Teal and Blackjacks usually fly with their own kind. Therefore, when I am setting up a spread with a mix off species I try to segregate the little ducks by kind instead of just throwing them haphazardly in the "big duck" part of the spread.

With that said, I believe that there is no substitute for movement in the decoys. On a calm day I would rather have a dozen beat up decoys on a jerk string than 5 dozen brand new dekes gleaming in the sun! Mixing species in your decoys will certainly help to fool wary ducks, but remember that you also need movement in the decoys, too.

Respectfully,
J. Paul

Most guys put too much thought into other species. Think about this, the mallard is the most common and vocal species of duck and other ducks readily decoy to them. I've experimented with putting a few sprig off to the side and can't definitively say it has made a difference.

What I will recommend though is to add some honker decoys to your spread. Place them right where you want the ducks to finish and see if that doesn't increase your success!
Barnie Calef

About the author

MigrationNation's picture