BY: YRC STAFF
It had been warm in the mid to high 40’s for weeks and it was finally getting into the 30’s coming into this hunt. There were plenty of local birds that roost in a river north of our location. They would fly out of the roost going south to a farmers pond surrounded by cornfields. They usually sit for almost 2 hours on the pond, then, they would get up and go feed. The birds weren’t feeding heavy yet this year since it had been so warm. There was a small cold front up north 2 days prior that had some snowfall in it. So we figured it gave the birds enough time to migrate down to get fresh birds in the area to mix with the local birds. We were set up south of the roost and NW of the pond. We couldn’t gain access to any of the cornfields or the pond so we got as close as we could in a bean field that was almost directly under the birds flight path.
Wind: SW @ 5-10 MPH Temp: 35 degrees
Location: Cut Bean Field
We got into our field early to start setting up. We used about 5.5 dozen full-body mallards with 4 Mojo’s. Then 6.5 dozen full-body geese, 2 dozen goose sleeper shells, and 2 goose flappers.
We knew the flight path wasn’t going to change and that we should be able to pull birds off their path and into our spread. They shouldn’t have to circle twice. Just fly out, turn, and land.
Well, it worked great for the first flocks of ducks, except they were landing upwind and to the left of our blinds on the front side of our entire spread. So no one had a good opportunity to shoot. The next flock of ducks came in, same thing. A flock of geese came in and wanted to land on the right side of our blinds and almost behind us on the front of our spread. So no one had a shot on that side. We saw right away that they wanted to feed aggressively, landing in front of the other birds to get to the food first.
See picture below.
Only a few ducks wanted to land in the middle of our spread. Something wasn’t right. So we changed it! If you can notice right away that there’s something wrong about how the birds react to your spread, move your decoys! If your concealment is great, it’s not you. Sometimes it’s how you’re decoys are presented.
So we figured the duck decoys needed to move out 10 yards so they could still land on the front and then we would have a great opportunity for shooting. Next we decided that the goose decoys were too close together at 6-8ft apart, so we went to 10ft, and extended those decoys out another 10 yards on the end of that arm. Then we also put a dozen Dakota Decoy Xtreme Honkers in a group of their own closer to the duck decoys.
By doing those simple things, it helped get the ducks to line up better and gave the geese enough confidence to finish amongst the decoys or right in the middle of the new X we wanted them to land. Just by putting those dozen goose decoys by themselves closer to the ducks, it gave them enough confidence to want to land in the middle where we wanted them to.