Late season MN: Do you remove your wood duck decoys or keep them

Keep for numbers
Remove for realism
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Wood duck decoys, late season

Tue Nov 02, 2021 8:43 pm

Do you put your wood duck decoys in your spread all season or leave them at home when wood ducks aren't around? I always did the latter however this year I'm working with a limited number of decoys and wondering if keeping the wood ducks in my spread to keep my numbers up would be a good or bad move. Thoughts?

Mergie Marauder
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Re: Wood duck decoys, late season

Wed Nov 03, 2021 6:46 am

If you want numbers keep them in the loop.

I don’t think it makes a big difference to the woodies or the other species though

I usually throw 1-2 drakes off to the the side during November

Replicate what you see real ducks doing to the best of your ability

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Re: Wood duck decoys, late season

Sun Nov 14, 2021 9:59 pm

If in your shoes I'd keep them for the numbers.
But I have enough other decoys that I can take them out by Nov 1st.
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Re: Wood duck decoys, late season

Fri Dec 10, 2021 4:10 pm

I don't think it matters. If you need numbers keep 'em out there.

The old timers had it figured out better than modern hunters that what shows up best to waterfowl in the air.....are dark

That's why a lot of antique decoys made when guys made their decoys are painted all black. After that the only color on their pallet was white.

Obviously colors and look matter to waterfowl to some degree....maybe even a large degree. Drakes wouldn't have developed bright breeding plumage if looks didn't matter.

I think it's important to keep in mind that those looks....those gaudy feathers and colors....only matter when a hen is selecting a mate out of the drakes swimming next to her and sometimes up on her.

The looks aspect of waterfowl that is replicated on decoys is more for hunters than the ducks.....since it's essentially looking to replicate what is attractive to a hen within a handful of feet away at most.

Ducks didn't develop bright breeding plumage in order for them to see each other a quarter mile away and attract in similar species durinf their migration to come rest up end feed with them in their spot.

To that degree I don't think it matters what decoys you have put as long as they make the dark outline of a duck from a distance.....or dark outlines mixed with some white if you're hunting divers and/or geese.

If you're in the right spot and you have workable ducks on the move.....having wood duck decoys out will serve the same purpose as any other puddle duck decoy and be just as effective.

When they're not working you while duck or goose hunting.....or they're coming in and working you but hard stopping and flaring outside of gun range?

It's not the decoys.

That's one thing I've had to routinely explain to the guys I'm hunting with over the years ad's not the decoys.

For some reason that's the first and almost only thing about how a group of guys are set up that is contemplated, discussed, and messed with if things aren't working on a hunt and ducks won't decoy in close enough.

Trust me, it's never the 99.9999% of the time it won't be the decoys.

The spot you're in, your concealment, the weather conditions, and sometimes it might just be the ducks themselves.....are going to be why they're not decrying.

If hunters were more apt to move to a different spot during a hunt, or work on being concealed better they'd shoot a lot more ducks than they do by choosing to fiddle around with their decoys. Moving a couple from one spot to another, turning the direction of a couple's like guys think there's some secret code that can be unlocked where once the decoys are in the perfect exact pattern birds will start parachuting in as fast as they possibly can.

That's not how it works. If they're not decoying I'd make sure it's not a concealment issue and if it's determined that it's not likely the issue, I'd consider moving spots, and if that's too much of a pain or it doesn't seem like it'd make a difference because of the amount or type (decoy shy/stale) birds in the area.......

.....sometimes they're just not going to do it. Just like some days the fish are not biting despite there being a ton on the graph below you and throwing everything in the tackle box at them....some days they're just not going to bite.

Some days the ducks just aren't going to enjoy being outdoors, maybe cut the hunt short and do something more productive with the limited free time we all have at our discretion......

.....and don't blame it on the decoys.
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