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#6034660 - 11/17/15 10:16 AM Decoy Spread for spooky birds
Jerron Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 24
Loc: Brookshire, TX
Ran into a situation on our last hunt where we had a lot of birds committing from far off only to flare at the last second before in range. We were well concealed in kayaks and used a lot of the natural vegetation to throw on top of the boats. Seemed as if the decoys had them leery. Tried mixing it up throughout the hunt, but same results. Any advice on decoy spread formation for spooky birds?

Little info as to where we were hunting:
100 yd x 50-60 yd body of water
Wind behind us from the north
Hunted with the landing zone right in front of us
Decoys out in a C formation at first, then moved majority directly in front to hopefully have them land just a tad farther out
No mojos, only a jerk string
Roughly 3 dozen dekes in the spread (tried taking some off the water later as well to reduce footprint)

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#6034669 - 11/17/15 10:19 AM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: Jerron]
8pointdrop Online   sleepy
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 4730
Loc: My favorite place TEXAS
Were y'all calling and are you sure they weren't seeing y'all?

Much more common for over calling or them seeing you to flare birds.

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#6034680 - 11/17/15 10:27 AM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: Jerron]
Esh and Hattie Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/05/14
Posts: 312
Loc: N Texas
So if it's your body of water and not public I would suggest not hunting a morning/ afternoon whatever and see what birds are on the water, where and how many. Set your decoys up according to what you see regardless of what "pattern" you had in mind.

I've had the problem on public a lot where the birds work the spread several circles, then land 150 yds. away (always seems to be gadwalls). What I've noticed is the birds do what they do for a reason and generally if the first couple groups do it, that's what you're going to get. So the other option instead of moving dekes around is to see the flight path the birds are taking, and then put yourself under that flight path. Shot a lot of ducks that way when it gets tougher

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#6034691 - 11/17/15 10:29 AM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: 8pointdrop]
garrett Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 01/19/06
Posts: 10287
Originally Posted By: 8pointdrop
Were y'all calling and are you sure they weren't seeing y'all?

Much more common for over calling or them seeing you to flare birds.


this was my first thought also
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#6034968 - 11/17/15 12:45 PM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: garrett]
Gdogg Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 4557
Loc: Liberty Hill
If the wind was moving the decoys, chances are that's not the problem. How far did you set up from the decoys? Did the birds eventually land somewhere close?

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#6034982 - 11/17/15 12:52 PM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: Jerron]
Creek2Creek Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 11/09/15
Posts: 272
Loc: NTX Bottomland
When do you run the jerk rig? A lot of people will be jerking the entire time, which is wrong. If the birds can see the spread, I never jerk. I make sure to jerk when they look away from me. The purpose is to just show ripples in the water, not show the moving of decoys. Also, if it is windy, I don't use a jerk rig when waves are present.

I don't know if this is what you were doing, but was just wondering. And again, this is just how I have always hunted.

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#6035000 - 11/17/15 12:58 PM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: garrett]
DuckCoach1985 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1414
Loc: SMTX
Originally Posted By: garrett
Originally Posted By: 8pointdrop
Were y'all calling and are you sure they weren't seeing y'all?

Much more common for over calling or them seeing you to flare birds.


this was my first thought also

bet they're seeing a piece of kayak or your hand or something dumb you wouldn't think they can see.
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#6035008 - 11/17/15 01:02 PM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: Jerron]
BarneyWho Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/09/04
Posts: 2793
Loc: Fort Worth, TX
Originally Posted By: Jerron
Wind behind us from the north
Hunted with the landing zone right in front of us


There's your problem. Any movement with birds coming right at you will flare them.

Set up where the birds are pitching right to left if y'all shoot right handed or vice-versa for left. I NEVER set up in direct line of sight for the birds to decoy unless there's ZERO other options.
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#6035059 - 11/17/15 01:31 PM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: Jerron]
Jerron Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 24
Loc: Brookshire, TX
Thanks for the replies everyone. I guess I left out some key info. The water we were hunting was public. All boats were 100% covered with burlap as well as the native tall grass from around us. We used almost 0 calling. Just a whistle from time to time (most of the birds in the area are teal, pintail and widgeon so no need for a mallard style call). Thinking back however, my hands were not covered on me nor anyone else, but didn't think it was a problem. May have to revisit that. Jerk string was used sparingly as the wind picked up later in the day to allow enough movement in the spread. Eventually we picked it up entirely. We were having a ton of birds fly over where we were at, so I am fairly confident in this particular location. Only thing I did notice was that when the cloud cover disappeared and transitioned into bluebird conditions, that they hung out over the east side of the property.

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#6035127 - 11/17/15 01:59 PM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: Jerron]
Ramball36 Online   content


Registered: 05/11/09
Posts: 8971
Loc: McKinney
I'm betting they saw you
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#6035140 - 11/17/15 02:03 PM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: Jerron]
Fooshman Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 13682
Loc: Black Dog, Texas
Ditch the kayaks.
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#6035157 - 11/17/15 02:10 PM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: Jerron]
Gdogg Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 4557
Loc: Liberty Hill
Originally Posted By: Jerron
Thanks for the replies everyone. I guess I left out some key info. The water we were hunting was public. All boats were 100% covered with burlap as well as the native tall grass from around us. We used almost 0 calling. Just a whistle from time to time (most of the birds in the area are teal, pintail and widgeon so no need for a mallard style call). Thinking back however, my hands were not covered on me nor anyone else, but didn't think it was a problem. May have to revisit that. Jerk string was used sparingly as the wind picked up later in the day to allow enough movement in the spread. Eventually we picked it up entirely. We were having a ton of birds fly over where we were at, so I am fairly confident in this particular location. Only thing I did notice was that when the cloud cover disappeared and transitioned into bluebird conditions, that they hung out over the east side of the property.


On a good note, they were probably quality ducks.

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#6035202 - 11/17/15 02:31 PM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: Gdogg]
Jerron Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 24
Loc: Brookshire, TX
Originally Posted By: Gdogg
On a good note, they were probably quality ducks.

Haha, yea you're probably right.

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#6035254 - 11/17/15 02:53 PM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: Jerron]
SnakeWrangler Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 01/22/11
Posts: 20931
Loc: Fairfield, TX
worthless
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#6035343 - 11/17/15 03:24 PM Re: Decoy Spread for spooky birds [Re: Jerron]
Jerron Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 24
Loc: Brookshire, TX
Wish I had some man. Don't really pull the camera out while in the field. Just when we get back home.

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