After a very weird beginning of the duck season, we are now seeing a smattering of migrants working through the state. I have been hunting both ringneck ducks and redheads and have found a new decoy pattern that really works, especially on new birds in the area.
I got this idea because I am tired of diver ducks dropping into rafts of coots and not my decoys. If you notice, a raft of coots is tightly grouped and looks nothing like the traditional spreads we waterfowlers normally do.
The solution is taking 50 to 100 mixed decoys of ringnecks and coots and connect them together by making your own raft. These decoys are tightly grouped just inches apart, giving the impression this is your basic, tightly grouped raft.
Some hunters I know use PVC pipe and connect the decoys via hooks and short wires. Some use plastic platforms underneath with the decoys connected via eyebolts.
When you put 100 mixed decoys together, the fake raft is only a few yards long and maybe 20 feet deep. Once placed in the water it is amazing how realistic the decoys appear to be.
Once you display this unique set up, you will be amazed at how well the ducks respond. You also know nobody else is using this technique making it one-of-a-kind, and the ducks love it.
The whole concept of decoying ducks is to mix your spread with multiple species and also multiple body sizes.
These late-season ducks we are chasing are not the naïve, young-of-the-year birds of early October but rather veterans that have already been fooled a time or two.