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Christian Davis
Christian Davis

Best Place To Buy Duck Decoys

My very first duck decoys back in The Day, circa 1980, were old Flambeau decoys that I used for years and years. Finally, I repainted most, if not all, of them as drake bluebills, and they enjoyed another life as big water divers.

best place to buy duck decoys

Decoys are a special kind of lure. They mimic animals during different activities such as feeding or watching to trick the animal into believing the place is safe. Currently, full-body decoys for the hunting of Canada Geese, Cinnamon Teals, Harlequin Ducks, Mallards, Eastern Wild Turkeys, Merriam's Turkeys, and Rio Grande Turkeys are available. Multiple decoys can be used at once to increase efficacy, however only up to a limit of 20. Most decoys have a caller you can use simultaneously to further increase the chances of birds landing.

As far as the number of decoys to use, 12 to 24 puddle duck decoys is a good range for most people, with fewer than 18 being about right for a solo hunter to set up alone. For permanent blinds on private land or areas you can access with a hunting partner from a boat, more and larger (magnum) decoys are almost always a better thing. But if you want to sneak into a public land area, you will need to carry fewer, standard size decoys. Likewise, you should try to use larger decoys in more open environments (e.g., large waterbodies and bays, flooded farm fields, open marshes, etc.) because you need maximum visibility from far away. However, standard decoys are often better for smaller marshes/ponds, sloughs/ditches, or flooded timber.

Ducks like to approach with the wind in their faces, so your landing zone (where you want the ducks to land) should be open with a barricade of ducks upwind. Try to keep small groups or pairs of mallards, black ducks, and pintails clustered upwind of the landing zone, near your hunting blind location. Alternatively, you can use a large raft of decoys upwind with a few smaller clusters downwind of the landing zone. Keep wood duck decoys clustered together by themselves on the edge of the spread as they tend to be more exclusive in their groupings. And again, feel free to pepper in some other puddle duck decoys or Canada goose decoys as you desire. This setup will generally funnel ducks to approach from your side or directly at you depending on the wind and how you arrange them.

Diving ducks are species that actively dive underwater to feed, which include canvasback, bluebill, redhead, goldeneye, or bufflehead ducks. Canvasback drake decoys are often used in greater numbers because the bright pop of their white body is eye-catching from a distance. Bluebill and redhead decoys are used to fill in most of the rest of the spread, while some hunters also use other diving duck or mallard decoys on the perimeters.

Some of the same principles apply from the puddle duck example above. You generally want to keep larger rafts of decoys clustered around your blind or boat location, with an open landing zone extending downwind. But there are some other nuanced ideas for diving ducks, too. One example is to use a long line (out to more than 75 yards) of decoys on one edge of your spread, which guides incoming ducks like a runway. When you lay the long line out somewhat offset to the wind (rather than straight downwind), this J-hook or fish hook design is a very visible spread, and thus very effective. During particularly rough conditions (like high winds, choppy water), use heavier weights to keep your decoys anchored, and stay closer to shore, which imitates birds trying to stay out of the weather.

Many waterfowlers can't think of duck and goose hunting without thinking about Dive Bomb, and for a good reason: their decoys work incredibly well. If it's not already in your floater arsenal, one go-to should be the F1 Wigeon. A one-piece decoy that showcases lifelike perfection, these white-shouldered bad boys are sure to grab the attention of passer-by ducks and get them to put their feet down. These decoys have been hand-crafted by World Champion Jon Jones, and each six-pack comes with four upright drakes and a pair of active hens.

Lifetime Decoys has recently rebranded themselves as Heyday, but their famous Hydrofoam decoys remain the same. Pintails are one of my all-time favorite ducks. The boy birds are beautiful, and I love to see that white chest and black sprig in flight. The problem for many is finding a decoy with a sprig that's not brittle as an icicle. That problem, luckily, has been eliminated. Enter Lifetime's damn near indestrucbile FlexFloat Pintail. Available in 12 packs with eight drakes and four hens, the Flexfloat design means the sprig won't snap off the bulls or hang on decoy bags. At 8.9 pounds per dozen, light weight is another plus.

New from Final Approach are several duck species-specific floaters, but we love an excellent early-season teal shoot, and these caught our eye. Decoy realism is remarkable, and the waterfowl masses will appreciate the full-size, one-piece construction. These floaters work well for stand-alone teal sets and make great filler decoys, especially when you want more ducks in the spread and the walk from the truck is long, and weight and space are critical.

Often, the difference between scratching out a few birds and filling duck totes is details. Enter Avian-X's Topflight Early Season Mallards. These decoys accurately capture the early plumage of drake and hen mallards, and when this detail is combined with top-end paint adhesion, you get mallard imposters that bring ducks close. Each six-pack comes with a Feeder Drake, Feeder Hen, Swimming Hen, High-Head Drake, and a pair of Swimmer Drakes. The weight-forward swim-keel maximizes natural movement in the water.

A duck decoy may be worth lots of money, whether it has been mass-produced, with exquisite realistic details, or carved by craftspeople hundreds of years ago. Passionate collectors know how to identify key markings, but those new in this domain might have struggles learning to recognize antique duck decoys.

So what are duck decoys, and where does their popularity come from? A long time before British colonists entered America, Native Americans made these birds and other animals decoys for hunting purposes.

Starting in the mid-19th century and going to the early-20th, the building and usage of painted, hollow, wooden, or solid decoys in the shape of ducks, shorebirds, and geese became a true fashion. Most bird hunters used this special technique in their hunting process.

Huntsmen today do not use duck decoys due to modern technology and materials, so these items are now considered genuine antique and vintage treasures. Hence, auction houses and antique specialists are buying and selling these magnificent works within the folk art category.

Suddenly, people got crazily excited and started realizing the meaning and value of collectible duck decoys. People were sending information about their items and began an unprecedented communication movement. Soon after that, decoy shows and affairs started being organized all over the country.

The prices also vary by region. For instance, Long Island, New Jersey, North Carolina, and New England are areas that have specific elements, decoy types, and collectors. Areas which are better equipped for the trade of duck decoys are likely to have a more lively market and therefore items will fetch a higher price.

Besides their provenance and makers, the condition of duck decoys is also a major factor in affecting their value. Some antique decoys may not be so valuable because a significant percentage of them have been repainted or parts have been replaced over the years .

  • Duck Decoys By RegionCanadian carvers were producing wooden decoys for waterfowl hunting. Their techniques led to some of the finest decoys ever made.

  • Antique decoys from the Ontario area were hollow-carved and had flat bottom boards. On the other hand, Quebec decoys were more solid and had feather-like carved ornamentations.

  • Chesapeake Bay was a leader in terms of production. Manufacturers from this area were producing vast quantities of decoys. These were mainly made of solid cedar with a heavy body and lead weights. Look at this massive model of Chesapeake Bay duck decoy.

  • Illinois River decoys were also hollow-carved and had elaborate paint patterns to best resemble the genuine birds.

  • Many antique duck decoy models come from the New Jersey area, a popular area for hunting. Most of these duck decoys have simple patterns, perhaps due to the fresh water species found in that environment.

  • Last but not least, New England was by far one of the most abundant sources of duck decoys due to the rich waterfowl hunting area. Huntsman here needed a huge variety of decoys for both individual and commercial use. Hence the decoy models reflected the species of duck that was easiest to find and hunt. The bodies were solid, while the details were most delicate.

Other Important FactoriesIt was not only Mason Decoy Company that had a monopoly on the duck decoy market. Some commercial decoy factories preceded the famous name, and many others followed. Factory Decoys in original condition are also highly collectible today.

Some manufacturers have carved their initials or logo and mentioned the date of manufacture. Factory-made decoys would often display this information on a metal tag placed on the bottom of the wood decoy.

A: Yes, they are genuine collection pieces. Considering the manufacturing of duck decoys started in the early part of the 20th century, it is easier to understand why antique hunting collectors look for these kinds of items.

A: The most expensive duck decoy was sold in 2014 for $690,000! It was a Mason Premiere Wood Duck Drake. Check out more auction listings which sold duck decoys for thousands of dollars here!

A: Adding life-like decoys around the water was an effective method to attract birds to the area Since ducks will always feel safer in groups, the more decoys the hunters added to the water, the more likely they were to attract their next prey. 041b061a72


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