This 12-pack includes birds with six head styles and extremely lifelike paint jobs. Easy to use and transport. Heavy-duty and made with high-quality craftsmanship.
Putting the heads on the bodies takes effort and elbow grease.
Comes in a set of 12 full-size ducks with six drakes and six hens. Impressive realism on these decoys. Very well made. Extremely durable and lightweight.
There can be a bit of a shine to the finish. Plastic is thinner than some alternatives.
Keel design creates a natural motion on the water. Comes in a set of 6 with ducks in 3 different head positions. Realistic and durable flocking. Amazing detail. These are among the most realistic set of decoys on the market.
They look so real you might have a hard time telling your decoy from the real ducks.
This decoy features spinning wings activated via remote. Does not require a support pole, allowing it to turn and float realistically. Very light and easy to carry.
The decoy itself is smaller than standard size. Remote is not waterproof.
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Like many other animals, ducks rely on the principle of “safety in numbers” to help them find food and stay alert to predators. Duck hunters can take advantage of this instinct by positioning realistic wood, cork, foam, or plastic duck decoys to attract real ducks to a lake or pond.
Duck decoys float on the surface of the water, where they can be easily seen by ducks flying overhead. While all duck decoys fill the same basic function of luring wary prey to a hunter nearby, different models vary in durability, realism, and motion on the water. In your hunt for the ideal decoy, you should also weigh important features like weight, keel type, flock size, whether your decoys are drakes or hens, and whether your decoys appear to be asleep or awake.
Whether you’re an avid duck hunter or plan on getting your hunting license for the first time, the right duck decoys can help you improve your odds of a successful hunt.
The main considerations as you narrow down your search for the right duck decoys should be materials and durability and whether the decoys appear to be awake, asleep, or feeding.
You’ll find duck decoys in a wide variety of materials including wood, foam, cork, and plastic. These materials differ in durability and utility.
Wood: Many wood decoys are extremely attractive and long-lasting, and they sit realistically on the water. However, they’re heavier (a big problem if you’re trying to use a large flock) and expensive. Wood decoys usually need to be repainted periodically.
Foam: Cheaper foam decoys can be just the thing if you’re trying to amass a large flock. They’re lightweight, easy to carry in sacks, and inexpensive. However, cheap foam is quite vulnerable to damage, corrosion, and scratches. More durable, pricier foam decoys are covered with plastic or resin and are a favorite of many hunters.
Resin: Thermoplastic resin is durable and lightweight. It holds detail and color extremely well and floats on the water nicely. It is expensive, however, and will leak and sink if pierced by a bullet.
Plastic: Plastic decoys are cheaper than resin and are lightweight and attractive. However, plastic decoys tend to lose detail and dent more quickly and will sink if hit by a bullet.
Cork: Cork decoys are attractive and more durable than foam, and they float nicely on the water, but they’re heavy and pricey. Like wood, cork decoys will fade and need to be repainted periodically.
A set of decoys that includes ducks in various different positions can significantly boost the “all clear” signal you’re trying to send to real ducks. Duck decoys that are all facing forward uniformly can appear alert to danger, while a varied flock appears more natural and relaxed. You’ll find four main positions to choose from: sleeping, preening, feeding, and waking.
Sleeping: Sleeping duck decoys have their head turned backward and partially tucked under one wing. These send a powerful signal to real ducks that the lake or body of water is peaceful and safe enough to sleep.
Feeding: Feeding decoys, also known as “tippers,” are essentially just the bottom half of the duck, which tips out of the water to mimic a feeding duck with its head underwater. Tippers can be a particularly compelling safety signal to live ducks, since ducks won’t feed if preparing to flee danger.
Preening: Preening duck decoys have their heads bent toward the feathers, to mimic a duck smoothing and preening its feathers. Ducks preen when they feel safe and relaxed, which can encourage interlopers to land in an area that seems safe.
Waking: You’ll want to include at least a few waking, upright duck decoys in your hunting setup, since real ducks take turns keeping an eye out for predators while other flock members sleep, preen, and feed.
Realism and fine details are ideal. Decoys that are convincing replicas will draw the most ducks. However, realism can be a double-edged sword. Be sure you know where your decoys are before the real ducks fly in, or you might be tempted to take a shot at your own decoys!
Consider the combined weight of the decoys you’ll be transporting to your hunting location. Foam and plastic decoys are the lightest, while wood and cork decoys are the heaviest. While lightweight foam and plastic decoys can be carried in the same bag with little damage, wood decoys cannot.
Solid-keel decoys have a weight sealed inside the decoy and will automatically right themselves when thrown into the water. Water-keel decoys use water to balance themselves, so they’re lighter than solid-keel decoys but must be drained after use. They’re also vulnerable to tipping over.
Your ideal flock size, called a spread, depends on your hunting location and strategy. Early in the season on bodies of water, some hunters will position up to 300 decoys to signal a thriving duck population. Later in the season or in a smaller area, just a few mated pairs will do the trick. You’ll likely want to start your flock with four to six decoys if you’re just getting started.
Typically, hunters like to have a mix of drakes and hens to use in different hunting situations and with different tactics. Some sportsmen find that a cluster of hens successfully and consistently attracts bachelors early in the season. Later in the season, scattered clusters of mated pairs can signal safety to other mated pairs.
You’ll find standard, magnum, and super magnum sizes to choose from. Larger decoys can be seen more easily from the air and may be more likely to attract waterfowl to your lake or pond. Duck decoys that are too small can be hard to see and may be less recognizable from a distance to your targets. However, if you’re hunting in a more intimate setting or with shy ducks, large magnum decoys can make shy ducks wary. Balance visibility with realism, and consider the size of the body of water as you choose your decoy size.
A decoy’s motion on the water can mean the difference between a decoy that looks like a bathtub toy and a decoy that appears to be a real animal. Motion is determined by a combination of materials, weight, and the shape of the decoy. Less expensive decoys may be too light, causing them to bob atop the water instead of settling into it like a real floating duck.
Some more expensive decoys can be operated by remote control or a string from shore to create realistic movement as the decoys bob and “swim” in the water. This extra movement can be especially helpful on smooth water when there’s very little wind. Lifeless decoys on still water may trigger warning signals to wary ducks.
Consider adding several pintail drakes to your spread. The flashy white markings will improve visibility to ducks in the air.
Inexpensive: Budget decoys start at about $8 for a single drake or hen. You can find sets of budget decoys that drive the price down to $3 to $5 per decoy if you want to buy in bulk. These value decoys are usually made from foam or hollow plastic and are great for building a larger flock. Cheaper options aren’t usually as realistic. They often use a water keel instead of a solid keel for balance and can crack or wear out over time. Budget decoys aren’t usually in different positions; most are facing forward.
Mid-range: These duck decoys are usually made of foam or plastic and cost a little more, $15 to $20 for single hens or drakes or around $10 to $13 in larger sets. These decoys usually have more realistic detail and higher-quality plastic. Some are foam with an outer plastic coating for excellent floats that won’t sink if cracked or pierced by a stray bullet. In mid-range decoys, you’ll usually find a better variety of positions, with sleepers, tippers, and preening ducks in the mix.
Expensive: The sky's the limit on decoy prices. High-end decoys made of resin, wood, or cork are highly realistic with excellent craftsmanship, but they will set you back $30 to $100 or more for a single hen or drake or around $15 to $25 each in larger sets. In this price range, you’ll find motorized options, lots of positions, weighted keels, and superior durability. Handcrafted wood decoys are considered an art form, so expect to pay accordingly!
A. Cleaning debris and mud off duck decoys is important to help them last and keep them looking their best, but cleaning decoys can be a painstaking process. For a quick, effective cleaning method, prop the decoys up along a fence and spray them with a mix of tire cleaner and water, then let them dry overnight.
A. For hunters without a boat, carrying decoys to the water can be a challenge. For larger amounts of decoys, many hunters use a mesh sack. A garbage can on wheels is another creative solution for hauling decoys. If you’ll be toting a smaller number of decoys, you can use a bucket (which also doubles as a seat).
A. The majority of leaky decoys can be patched up with some silicone from the hardware store. If the crack or hole is too big to patch, consider using the decoy on shore instead of in the water when you create your spread.