Greatest Duck Decoys for 2022



Revealed Jun 16, 2022 11:00 AM

Ah, sure—duck decoys. If duck hunters have been to have their very own model of the Down the Rabbit Gap, it could by some means take the type of duck decoys. Most begin with a dozen; possibly two. After which it builds from there. Mallards. Non-mallards. Oh, I’ve to have 4 or 5 dozen—minimal—divers. Silhouettes. A spinning wing or two. Or 5. And for these discipline hunts, a pair dozen flocked full-bodies. 

And so it goes from there, however it’s a great factor actually, for a duck hunter with out duck decoys is simply one other odd fellow who will get up silly early on the coldest of mornings, clothes humorous, and enjoys the corporate of canines properly above that of individuals. One thing improper with any of that, eh?

However duck decoys. There’s numerous ’em on the market, the nice, the dangerous, and the downright ugly. Oh, they’ll all work—to an extent—however some pretend decoys are merely destined to work higher. To current a extra pure phantasm. To instill confidence in she or he who tossed them out within the morning, and retrieved them on the finish of authorized capturing time. The Discipline & Stream gear workforce is tackling what simply would possibly look proper sitting atop the water in entrance of the previous blind of yours, and what actually are one of the best duck decoys you should buy.

Issues to Take into account Earlier than Shopping for Duck Decoys

Completely, you’ll be able to rush proper out or open up the Web in the event you’re vulnerable to such exercise and purchase the primary fairly plastic geese you come throughout. However, are these what you really want on your model of ’fowling? Are they real looking in look? Will they maintain as much as the trials of day-to-day ducking? Is the paint going to flake off nearly instantly? It’s comparatively easy, although. Do some homework, reply a couple of to-the-point questions, and also you’ll be properly in your solution to filling that store, ground to ceiling, with dozens upon dozens. Belief me. 

Species

No matter the place you name residence, mallard decoys are a secure guess, and can possible produce outcomes. Nevertheless, are mallards what you’re primarily looking? Are they the commonest duck in your neck of the woods? Perhaps that you must consider a pack set—three or 4 totally different species of dabblers mixed into one multi-species bundle. Or—what the hell—possibly a dozen mallards, after which a half dozen pintails, gadwall, widgeon, and green-wing teal. Make it look actually actual. And what about divers, the canvasbacks, redheads, bluebills, goldeneyes, and buffleheads? Give it some thought—what are you going to hunt?

Searching Location

In the event you’re looking a small nook in a secluded pin oak swamp for wooden geese, mallards, and the occasional black duck, then half a dozen blended mallards and blacks ought to just do positive. If it’s Sandusky Bay bluebills on the menu…properly, then, eight or 10 dozen—or extra—drake ‘payments could be so as. Cornfield greenheads? Ah, now it’s time to mud off the silhouettes and the full-bodies. What you hunt and the place you hunt these birds play a significant position in what you purchase and what number of.

Weighted Keel vs. Water Keel

Most floating (floater) decoys in the present day include weighted keels; that’s, the keel or backside portion of the decoy is weighted, making the decoy self-righting when thrown. They’re good, however they’re heavy. Water keels are hole, and fill with water as soon as they’ve landed, head-up. BUT, and it’s a giant BUT, they don’t proper themselves. Water keel decoys that land on their sides keep on their sides. Water keel decoys are gentle, although, and make a wonderful decoy for the walk-in ‘fowler trying to lower down on weight.

Quantity

On any given day, a dozen decoys will work … or 100 dozen received’t work. All of it is dependent upon the birds, the wind, the stress, and extra. That mentioned, there’s nothing improper with beginning off with a dozen mallards and constructing from there. Suppose you get pleasure from this ’fowling gig? You possibly can all the time add extra decoys; it’s what we do.

Floaters vs. Full-Our bodies vs. Silhouettes

Floater decoys are meant to be used on the water. That’s the place they shine. Full-bodies and silhouettes can be utilized each on dry floor and on the water, the latter with some modifications and improvisations, each of which may be and usually are a royal ache within the behind. So suppose: Are you going to hunt over a foot or extra of water? Or are you going to hunt dry fields, with an occasional foray onto six inches of non permanent sheet water, the place full-bodies and/or silhouettes can simply be used?

Value

And at last, there’s the value. Mallard decoys can vary from a low of $5 apiece to upwards of $30 per duck. Purchase one of the best your pocketbook will permit, however perceive {that a} mixture of realism, sturdiness, and high quality, all backed by service after the sale, isn’t low-cost at the present time. Take inventory of your funds, do your homework, and purchase one of the best you’ll be able to afford.

Greatest Total

Why it made the lower

Once I opened the field and noticed them for the primary time, I mentioned D..A..M..N! Yeah, they give the impression of being that good.

Key options

  • One-piece design
  • Extraordinarily rugged
  • Glorious paint adhesion
  • Barely outsized
  • Six (6) totally different physique postures/positions
  • Self-righting weighted keels

Execs

  • Uber-realistic
  • Pure physique positions
  • True-to-life colours
  • Sturdy anchor attachment factors

Cons

  • May be a little bit on the dear facet for some wallets

It’s true. I opened the field of the then-new Dive Bomb mallard floaters, took one look, and informed nobody however the month-old chickens within the pen within the storage—“Rattling! These will work!” 

In my humble opinion, duck decoys are all about two issues—visible realism, and sturdiness. First, I would like the decoys to appear like the true factor, and the Dive Bomb floaters actually do have that coated. The paint’s proper, shiny the place it must shine and flat the place it must be matte and boring. Head and invoice positions. Physique shapes and profiles. The best way every decoy sits on the water, as if it have been an actual about-to-take-flight mallard duck. Now THAT’S how I need my decoys to look. 

And hard, duck decoys want to have the ability to face up to abuse. Right here in my Pacific Flyway, mentioned abuse lasts for 107 days … and that’s a ton of beating and banging round and being dragged by way of the tules, solely to be flung onto the saltwater and damaged oyster shells. Life’s exhausting whenever you’re a duck decoy, however the DBs seem like dealing with it properly. 

As for the value ($175/12), you will get a dozen mallards for $40, and yow will discover a dozen mallards pushing $200. Excessive finish of the ballpark for DB, however not out of the ballpark.

Greatest on a Budge

Why it made the lower

Fifty bucks at The Walmart, and you may kill geese over them, I’m guessing, all through the season.

Key options

  • Weighted keel
  • Good value level (in the event you store round a bit)
  • Life-size profile
  • Six drakes/six hens per dozen

Execs

  • Nice starter/filler decoys
  • Self-righting weighted keels
  • Stable anchor factors
  • No critical despair if one breaks free and floats away

Cons

  • They kinda appear like the late Jackie Gleason in “The Honeymooners”
  • Solely provided in a single physique posture
  • All upright heads might create the looks of “hazard”

My very first duck decoys again in The Day, circa 1980, have been previous Flambeau decoys that I used for years and years.  Lastly, I repainted most, if not all, of them as drake bluebills, and so they loved one other life as huge water divers.

Store round, and yow will discover Flambeau’s Masters Series mallards for $4/each, which isn’t dangerous at the present time. No, they don’t appear like they got here out of the workshop of Fred Zink or Dave Smith, however you’re not paying $20 a decoy both. Paint scheme isn’t your cup o‘ tea? Search knutsondecoys.com or parkercoatings.com, purchase some colours that swimsuit you, and contact ’em up. You’ll nonetheless be cash forward.

Simply getting began ’fowling and on a price range? Right here’s some nice starter decoys. Or filler decoys, in the event you’re trying to bulk up a smaller out-all-season unfold. Yeah, they’re a little bit odd wanting, however they’re fairly robust, self-righting, have sturdy anchor factors, and, whenever you determine to improve, you’ll be able to all the time flip ’em into bluebills.

Greatest Spinning Wing

Why it made the lower

Terry Denmon and the crew at MOJO Outdoor know spinning wing decoys, make a fantastic product, AND stand behind their work one hundred pc.

Key options

  • Steady “no-wobble” design
  • Extremely-realistic
  • Much less rattle/unnatural noise
  • Magnetic wing attachment system
  • Lengthy-lasting 6V rechargeable lithium ion battery
  • Light-weight
  • Bluetooth suitable distant

Execs

  • Constructed-in distant permits fast on/off; nice for duck/goose combo hunts
  • Softer, extra real looking “pores and skin”
  • Simple on/off through distant choices
  • Magnetic wing attachments have been a game-changer
  • Fast recharge occasions 
  • Extraordinarily real looking muted wing colour scheme

Cons

  • Some would say a little bit spendy at $200
  • Nonetheless numerous pack round, particularly in the event you’re on-foot
  • Electrical decoys not allowed in all states, e.g. Washington

I’ll admit it. I’m not a fan of spinning wing decoys (SWD). Sure, I’m positive they are often efficient at occasions; I’ve simply not had that off-the-charts hunt I might attribute to a SWD. Perhaps sometime.

That mentioned, MOJO’s King Mallard SWD is, as a buddy says, all that and a bag of chips, too. Bluetooth distant, long-life 6V lithium ion battery, magnetic wing attachments – SCORE one for the house workforce there! – fast recharging, and a construct design that nearly eliminates the wobble, shake, and duck-flaring noise so generally among the many tribe of SWDs. And whereas it’s robust to search out a precise weight, a standard denominator says roughly eight (8) kilos; not gentle, however not ridiculously heavy both.

The main promoting level for the King Mallard rests with the truth that the drive elements – battery, motor, and distant receiver – are housed in a single strong, albeit accessible, unit, which is then related on to a cam-lock type assist pole. Translation? Stability, low shake, and low noise. The underside line? Love ’em or hate ’em, SWDs could make a distinction if/when used accurately, and MOJO’s King Mallard sits on the prime of the record.

Greatest On-The-Water Movement

Why it made the lower

The XS Pulsator does what it’s meant to do: Transfer water and create movement in an in any other case static decoy unfold. Plus, I just like the title.

Key options

  • 12V lithium ion battery
  • Speedy 3-hour recharge time
  • Constructed-in digital operation timer
  • Seven (7) hour run time
  • All inner elements

Execs

  • Shallow (6”) water suitable
  • Easy rugged design – Ease of operation
  • Weighs lower than 3 kilos
  • Lifelike physique posture and paint scheme
  • Glorious water motion

Cons

  • Something involving batteries and a motor can show troublesome
  • Electronics prohibited in lots of western states

Once more, I’m not huge on digital duck decoys – What I name “tub toys” – however I’m positive many say they’ve their place within the unfold. And in case your intent is real looking on-the-water movement with out the, what some would possibly name, inconvenience of pulling on a jerk wire string, then Higdon’s XS Pulsator would possibly simply be what you’re in search of.

The 750 gallon-per-hour bilge pump on the coronary heart of the Pulsator is powered by a 12V lithium ion battery, which, says Higdon, will present as much as seven hours of service, and, what’s higher, will recharge in 180 minutes. There’s an choice to internally home a second full-sized battery, thus doubling the run time. Nevertheless, you’re not going to want 14 straight hours of spraying water within the rig, I wouldn’t suppose. Good to know, although. 

At 44 ounces, the XS Pulsator in all fairness gentle, making it a risk for the cell ’fowler. And it undoubtedly works as supposed, if not only a bit unnaturally, what with the fountain of water and all. Nonetheless, the Pulsator does muddle up the floor, making it appear like an avian free-for-all. And that, usually, isn’t a nasty factor.

Greatest Jerk Wire Rig

Why it made the lower

It’s easy. It’s cheap. It requires NO batteries. And it flat works.

Key options

  • Light-weight at roughly 2.5 kilos, together with anchor
  • Sturdy #550 Paracord
  • String winder and drawstring bag included
  • Pre-positioned/tied swivels for attaching decoys

Execs

  • Can be utilized in all kinds of water depths
  • No shifting components
  • Fast in-the-field repair (ought to) something break
  • Accommodates one to 4 decoys simply 
  • Simple transport
  • Suits in most blind luggage
  • Authorized in every single place geese dwell

Cons

So, right here’s why, and on the threat of repeating myself, I’m a HUGE fan of jerk cords. They’re easy. They’re cheap; in reality, they make fairly a straightforward and even inexpensive DIY mission. There are not any batteries to die, connections to rust and break, or motors to grab up. And – Prepared? – they work extremely properly for placing ripples and waves, i.e movement on the water, and respiratory life into an in any other case lifeless decoy unfold.

Matthew and Heather Cagle, the parents behind Rig ‘Em Proper (RMR), are unbelievable individuals, who make nice ‘fowling merchandise after which are proper there ought to one thing go amiss. Cagle’s Jerk Rig, one in every of two easy jerk rigs his firm gives, might be one of the best $30 a duck hunter can spend, in need of a ThermaCELL for early season teal and Canadas. The unit contains every part—1.5 pound folding (!!) grapple anchor, 100’ #550 Paracord, line winder, storage bag, brief bungee – you want afield. Throw it out, set a selection round it, and also you’re within the catbird seat.

The RMR Jerk Rig comes manufacturing facility with 4 snap swivels to connect 4 decoys; too many IMHO. I take away two, and use a pair of water keel green-wing teal, that are light-weight, straightforward to pack, and transfer loads of water round. What’s good is I can use the jerk wire rigged with these smaller decoys in 4 to 5 inches of sheet water with no drawback.

Greatest Silhouette

Why it made the lower

Dive Bomb (DB) silhouettes are light-weight, extraordinarily real looking, cheap, and efficient. Can’t ask for extra out of a decoy.

Key options

  • Constructed of robust corrugated plastic materials – Suppose political indicators!
  • Powder coated metal stakes
  • Excessive decision true-to-life photograph imagery 
  • 4 kilos per dozen
  • Textured end 

Execs

  • Mild weight permits ‘fowlers to hold dozens into the sphere
  • Can be utilized in uber-shallow water the place floaters received’t … float
  • Lightning fast arrange and retrieval 
  • Field type stake prime makes for straightforward decide up
  • Cell hunters can carry a figurative TON of decoys; big spreads doable

Cons

  • Dry discipline or shallow water use solely limits software
  • Psychological side concerned with two-dimensional spreads

I’m positive I’m not the one one who thinks Dive Bomb has turn out to be a family title amongst trendy waterfowl hunters, particularly the sphere goose hunters who’ve flat gone ga-ga over these ‘new’ silhouette decoys. Silhouettes are something however new, having been in use for many years; nonetheless, ’fowlers at the moment are discovering – Rediscovering? – the effectiveness of flats/skinnies on geese. And that’s the place DB M1 mallard silhouettes come into their very own.

Like all DB silhouettes, the M1 Mallards look nice. They’re gentle and, clearly, stack properly, that means you’ll be able to, with the assistance of DB’s duck/V2 Canada sleeper silhouette bag, carry a complete bunch of them into the sphere. Myself, I’m utilizing the M1s to beef up shallow (4” – 6”) water floater spreads in inexperienced fields, or extra usually, in tidal marshes at low slack when it’s not possible to run keeled floaters. Oh, and the sq. deal with (field type) stake. Find it irresistible (!), because it makes choosing up mentioned bunch of flats silly fast and simple.

Is there a draw back to silhouettes? If there have been, it could be overcoming the psychological side of gunning over one thing aside from conventional three-dimensional decoys. Eliminate that “Ain’t gonna work” feeling, and also you’ll see the M1s can greater than maintain their very own below the precise situations.

Greatest non-mallard floater decoy

Why it made the lower

You need soft-to-the-touch realism from a decoy with out breaking the financial institution? That’s Greenhead Gear’s Totally-Flocked (FFD) Gadwalls.

Key options

  • Electro-static flocking stays the place it ought to…on the decoy
  • Respectable value level ($99 per 6)
  • Number of pure physique postures and positions
  • Swivel head drakes
  • Distinctive feather element; no glare, even in harsh daylight

Execs

  • Gadwalls (non-mallards) current one thing totally different to pressured birds
  • Visually correct illustration of gray geese at relaxation
  • Keel options ‘brief tie’ keeper notch on vanguard
  • Reliable anchor level

Cons

  • Swivel type heads on drakes can separate unintentionally 
  • At present robust to search out in inventory
  • Flocking does require a bit extra care/upkeep/dealing with

I used to be, I’ll be trustworthy, skeptical in regards to the visible advantages, per se, of totally flocked (FFD) duck decoys; nonetheless, upon seeing Greenhead Gear’s FFD gadwall—properly, let’s simply say I grew to become a believer, and that to the purpose the place in the present day I’m setting FFD mallard floaters, full-body mallards (drake heads solely), and pintails in my day-to-day unfold.

So, first, the draw back. Flocked decoys, particularly utterly flocked decoys, require some extra care above and past that given all-plastic blocks. Maintain ’em clear—chilly clear water, NO SOAP, and a bristle brush works—and present ’em a little bit care afield, and also you shouldn’t have any issues. 

Apart from that, they’re nice. The all-over flocking actually does take a decoy to the subsequent degree visually. Positive, it could be to ‘hook’ me, the fisherman, but when that’s it, I’m bought. And I like gadwalls. I like the best way they sound. I like the best way they work a selection, once they work a selection. And a handful of gray geese sprinkled in amongst my mallards, pintails, widgeon, and single drake northern shoveler (!!) is a particular departure from the one hundred pc mallard spreads many geese are accustomed to seeing.

Greatest diver decoy

Why it made the lower

Diver decoys have to be robust and extremely seen. Tanglefree’s Flight Canvasback are all that, and extra.

Key options

  • Foam-filled decoys
  • Self-righting weight keels
  • Sensible colours
  • 2-to-1 drake-to-hen ratio
  • Pure physique postures
  • Excessive reduction feather element

Execs

  • Massive dimension gives improved long-distance visibility on huge water
  • Foam filling supplies pellet safety
  • Six-pack contains extra drakes (4) than hens (2)
  • Sleeper and rester postures lend realism
  • Powerful…robust…robust

Cons

  • Price ticket ($170/dozen) might sound a tad excessive to some
  • Heavy, however the majority are transported by boat, so…

The 12 months was 1972, and a little bit California-based father/son firm had simply bounced onto the ’fowling radar with a single product – a no-tangle…Tanglefree!…decoy line and a lead anchor system that will, like Kleenex for any tissue and Xerox for any copy machine, function THE title for decoy wire, no matter who made it, for many years to come back. As we speak, Cory Foskett and the parents at Tanglefree nonetheless make that line, together with a prolonged record of different ’fowling merchandise, together with decoys. 

The place Foskett and Tanglefree excel, maybe, is within the diver realm; that’s, with their canvasbacks, redheads, and bluebills. How robust? Suppose M1A1 Abrams tank robust, and also you’re beginning to recognize Tanglefree’s divers. Foam-filled, these divers can – and infrequently do – take a pounding. Completely positioned weighted keels guarantee a clean pure experience, even in tough water, whereas what I’ll name the ‘high-vis’ colours on the drakes really POP towards the oft-dark floor situations. Rig ’em particular person, or on 40” droppers for long-lines; both method, these are the cat’s meow.

How I Made My Picks

Let me put it this fashion. Whereas I’m positive there are guys on the market – Tony Vandemore/Habitat Flats – who put their decoys by way of a hell of quite a bit worse every day than I do, I at present dwell in Washington state, the place we get pleasure from a 107-day duck season. And of these 107 days, I’ll hunt three-quarters of them. Arduous. 

I maintain my gear – I actually do – however I don’t child it. My decoys get banged up on every part conceivable. They survive big tidal exchanges, worldwide freighter wakes, solar, rain, freezing temperatures, bald eagle assaults, low-level non-toxic pellet strikes, and a bunch of different not-so-nice issues. That each one mentioned, I’ve quite a bit to concern myself with once I’m duck looking; I don’t need to fear about my decoys unraveling. So these are the weather I took into consideration once I put the above record collectively –

Look

Native American ’fowlers fooled geese with oblong-shaped blobs of mud with a forked stick resembling a duck’s head ‘n neck. I don’t need my decoys to appear like blobs of mud. I need them to look as actual as doable. The appropriate colours. The right combination of iridescence and matte end. I need a wide range of physique postures per dozen. Measurement. Form. Silhouette on the water. Backside line – I need them to appear like geese. Actual, dwell geese.

Total high quality

This isn’t positive china. These are hunks of plastic which can be going to be abused. And I’d actually prefer to know that these explicit decoys are going to face as much as that abuse. Paint received’t erode. Keels received’t break off. They received’t crack or instantly fade. They received’t turn out to be brittle when the underside falls out of the thermometer. Anchor attachment factors received’t rip out. They’ll final, not ceaselessly, however with end-of-the-season upkeep, for a number of years.

Anchoring system

I hate – No, I abhor – feeble technique of anchoring a decoy to the underside. That’s, anchor (attachment) factors on the decoy itself which can be too small, too huge, improperly positioned, or, worst of all, include that little plastic half-moon that juts out from the entrance of the keel and … properly, it breaks off. Not instantly, however at some really inopportune time throughout, possibly, a full-out gale. Poorly designed anchor factors on decoys suck, and rank proper up there with chasing down decoys.

Paint adhesion

Years in the past, I keep in mind opening a model new field of blue-wing teal floaters, solely to search out that to the decoy, every had some proportion of paint lacking. Oh, it was there…within the backside of the delivery field. Paint adhesion, or how properly the paint sticks to the plastic used to make the decoy, is a HUGE deal. Any producer value his/her salt will make a degree of explaining simply how properly the paint sticks to their decoys, and why it does that. Face worth, partly, however it by no means hurts to – once more – do your homework.

Sturdiness (Abuse Ranking)

The general high quality of a duck decoy is the mix of a number of components, one in every of which is sturdiness, or as I prefer to name it, a decoy’s abuse ranking. Decoys are meant for use, and very often that use isn’t fairly. It’s muddy. It’s rocky. It’s backside of the boat beating round. Some can take it; some can’t, however it’s undoubtedly value an in depth eyeball.

Value

Cliché? In all probability. However, probably the most real looking duck decoys on the planet aren’t value a rattling in the event you can’t afford them. So until your title is Elon Musk, there’s an awfully good probability you’re going to be giving that price ticket the ole once-over. That’s what I did right here, and gave a ‘heads up’ if and when sticker shock appeared possible; nonetheless, value is all relative on this age of $1,100 chest waders and $13/bullet shotshells. Get what you’ll be able to afford.

FAQs

Q – How a lot ought to a dozen duck decoys price?

In the event you discover a new-in-box dozen mallards that look good – not unbelievable, however good – for $40, try to be reaching on your pockets, I reckon. Extra real looking is a price ticket per dozen mallards of – ballpark – $100. Although as little as $80 and as excessive as $150 is frequent. Value relies upon, too, on whether or not or not you’re taking a look at new decoys, or barely used. Storage sale mallards might price $2 every, a call-your-buddies cut price, particularly in the event that they’re in a situation the place they are often instantly used. The ethical of this story is – Buying round by no means hurts.

Q – Are six duck decoys sufficient to achieve success?

Six decoys CAN be sufficient, in the event you’re on a little bit physique of water the place the geese need to be. Given this state of affairs, two decoys could also be a lot. What number of decoys you’re going to make use of is dependent upon various things. Puddle geese, e.g. mallards, black geese, and pintails, usually require fewer decoys to achieve success, as they usually collect in smaller numbers than do, say, bluebills, canvasbacks, and different diving geese. Right here, decoys numbers equal what you’re looking, and the place. Rule of thumb.

Q – What ought to I search for in a ‘good’ duck decoy?

This one’s easy – Does it appear like a duck? Is the physique form proper? Is it in a pure relaxed posture? Is it the precise dimension? Colours? Give it a whack. Does it seem rugged and sturdy? Are you able to simply and securely connect an anchor line clip to the keel? Is the keel inflexible, or does it flex, that means it could be comparatively short-lived and a hassle spot? And as soon as once more, does it look…yep…like an actual duck?

Closing Ideas

There are numerous firms producing duck decoys these days. Most of them are good. Some are distinctive, whereas others are okay. Most of those decoys will, on any given day, idiot a mallard or two, however there’s a hell of much more to persistently decoying geese than merely shopping for a dozen Model ‘X’ mallards and tossing ’em out willy-nilly. Decoys – the bodily decoys themselves – are only the start. Part of the puzzle.





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