Make The Off Season Productive
The April, May, June, July, August and September newsletters will cover the ten (10) parts of waterfowl hunting that can be corrected, improved, upgraded or repaired. This month Decoys – Action & Field. August – Bags & Dress; September - Cooking.
The first written report of decoys used for hunting waterfowl was in Egypt. In New Mexico some canvasback decoys were unearthed in and dated in by ---.
The first decoys were cloth and leather; in the 1800s the trend was to carved blocks of wood. In the 1900s decoys moved to machine made wood, then paper meshea then to molded plastic. During the 1900s floating.
In the early 60’s in Eagle Lake, Texas snow geese were first introduced to the “white Spread.” At the time it was baby dippers, pieces of white cloth laid over rice stubble. Then in the 70’s a non-glair tablecloth plastic was cut into 30x40-inch pieces and it was laid over stubble. In the late 70’s Chuck Berry started Texas Hunting Products and the first commercial rag decoys were introduced. In the mid 80’s the dowel was added to make the Texas Rag Windsocks. During this time Northwind Decoy Company was making the Northwind Windsock, first on wooden dowels and later using plastic stakes. Since that time the snow goose decoy market has been flooded with decoys, some field and some action.
Action decoys are specialty decoys. Any good spread requires two things that can make or break the hunt. Movement in the spread (land or water) and concealment. The action decoys are listed in both general and specific decoys. The specific decoys can be replaced with like kind in your spread.
There are several types - battery operated and air operated and manual operated. There are floating and dry land decoys and some used in both places. The most controversial the battery operated spinning wing decoy. Several states have felt it gave the hunter to much advantage and outlawed the decoys. There are conversion kits to change the battery-operated decoys to air operated decoys.
Battery Operated Spinning Wing – There are a multitude on the market. Some states are under the impression that the spinning wing decoys work “too good.” Most hunters have a spinning wing in there set of decoys, but most don’t know if they work – all the time. I do know that they will attract waterfowl from a long way off on sunny days with the flashing wings. Some species of waterfowl decoy better than others, teal - yes and pintail – no. The other species of duck vary. Available in duck and goose. The simplest method to have goose decoys is with paint. Paint a duck decoy to resemble Canada, Spec or Snow. Normally place the decoy exactly where you want the birds to land. A normal spread has one decoy; larger spreads add a second, some three and four.
Battery operated decoys can be painted to resemble snow geese with Sherwin Williams XYP white plastic paint and rose colored paint for bill, legs and feet. Package paints can be found in the Cabala’s catalog for white front and Canada geese.
Placed on 30-inch poles and set among a goose spread to give the appearance of geese hopping over other geese appears to attract pasasing flights – with zero calling – and does not
Remote control – The remote control is used to turn off the wings when the circling waterfowl reach the spread. Waterfowl hunters are mixed; some feel that the turning on and turning off makes no difference, others feel that landing waterfowl “flair” if the wings are spinning as they land. Available in most battery operated decoys.
Air driven spinning wing decoys – I know of two types on the market at this time. battery operated spinning wing, these decoys should work as well. On breezy days the winds are moved by the wind. Used to replace the battery driven spinning wing decoys.
Conversion Kits – Simply change battery run wings to air driven wings. Expedite has a conversion kit to change battery operated decoys to air operated decoys. Depending on the interpretation of the “spinning wing law” by the states outlawing the spinning wing.
Battery operated Flapping wing – New to the market. I casual thought flapping wings would appear better than spinning wing. Have not found one hunter that feels the success rate increased with flapping wing over spinning wing decoys. Available in ducks only. Used to replace the spinning wing decoys.
Bilge Pump Operated Duck Butts – Most of the firms making this type decoy are no longer with us. Unfortunate, because hunters in rivers, large ponds and marshes report tremendous success on those still days. The bilge pump decoy butt will move several dozen floating decoys. The draw backs of this decoys must run off a 12 volt battery, thus a speaker line is run from the battery (normally on the bank) to the decoy about 50 to 60 feet from the battery. The other is the bilge pump is positioned on the bottom of the decoy and will require 12-inches plus of water. There is a very simple method to use this decoy in shallow water, if you want this information please contact this writer at email@example.com. These can be purchased in both duck and goose butts.
Swimming Decoys – Both duck and goose decoys with small battery operated motors and a small plastic propeller. The drawback is clarity of water and dept of water. If the water is covered with slime it will clog the propeller. If the water has vegetation growing through the surface it will prevent the decoy from swimming properly. The best use is to secure the decoy to a stake just under the surface. Attach a swivel to the top and run light fishing line to the decoy. The decoy will swim in circles, length of line determines the size of the circle, and the movement will attract passing waterfowl. This can be purchased in both duck and goose.
Vibrating floating decoys – This decoy can be purchased in floating decoy and decoy butt. The vibration caused by an off center motor will cause ripples to move the water around a dozen decoys. One should be used for every dozen decoys. These can be purchased in both duck and goose decoys and butts. Normally placed one per dozen decoys.
H2O Quiver Magnets – These are dark gray disc about the size of a hockey puck. The small electric off center motor runs on batteries. A decoy weight is attached to the eye and the quiver magnet is placed among the decoys. The vibrating ripples the water and the waves move the decoys. Two or 3three can be carried in a coat pocket or Blind Bag and placed among the decoys on still days to create life like movement. Based upon cost, size and production, these are a just for all hunters shooting over water.
Wing Wavers – A special decoy that is available in Canada, Snow and drake mallard. A combination of silhouette body with fabric wings and a hand pulled string. Used one per landing area on ground spreads. The decoys is placed on its short stake in the middle of the Landing Area, the fishing line run to a hunter. As the geese approach the hunter pulls the line and the geese are attracted to the Landing Area.
Jerk Strings – Several commercial systems are on the market but a jerk string is easy to build. In shallow water hammer a piece of ½-inch conduit into the ground about half way. Secure a 30 to 36 inch bungee cord to the stake. Tie decoy string to the bungee cord and run it under water to the blind. Run it under the blind or drill a hole at the bottom of the blind and run through a piece of PVC conduit. Tie 2, 3 or 4 decoys to the line at the front hole used for the decoy weight. The decoys should be tied off in the middle of the spread. The idea is to pull on the cord, release it and the waves will move all the decoys.
String Decoys – Can be purchased in duck and goose decoys. Work best in light wind. Normally are used on the upwind side of the spread on 10-foot poles perpendicular to the wind. Can be placed on shorter poles and placed two strings with three poles in a slight “V” design. Very good at attracting waterfowl from “Way-Off.” At this time there are two – String-O-Wings and Wave Magnet. The String-O-Wings is plastic and the Wing Waver is a reinforced cloth. We have found the Wave Magnet to be a better all-round decoy. It can be rolled up and placed in a coat pocket, being cloth it makes no flapping sound in high wind and it has a pocket in the end to catch wind in light breeze and to place weight in strong wind.
Kite Decoys – Basically two types, the full body that are flown on poles and the flying kites that act as kites and are flow on kite string. The full body in the Jackite design are flown on crappie fishing poles, 12 to 20 feet on fishing line that is half the distance of the pole. Flight can be altered by sticking weight to the underside of the wings with tape. The flying kites are available in snow and blue goose. Used on the upwind side of the spread in numbers of one to three. Flown at heights of 40 to 60 yards to attract far off geese. Used as markers for shooting range. A number of goose guides are leery of dark kites, they fell that they resemble a hawk.
Balloon Decoys – Available in drake mallard, Canada goose and Snow/Blue goose. These decoys are designed to be flown in multiple groups secured by 4 to 6 foot of light fishing line tale to beak. On zero or very light wind they are filled with helium and on breezy days they can be filled with air. Work very well when filled with helium and attached to the decoys on the Wave Magnet string. The balloon decoys move and move the string decoys.
Full Body Decoys – These decoys can now be purchased in both hard and soft. The most realistic of all field decoys is the hard body. The soft body, very similasr to the turkey decoys, is a very close second. When used with one of the movement products this decoy is outstanding. It has two drawbacks – price and bulk. The decoys are very expensive, especially when buying a spread of full bodies. The hard body decoy requires a large amount of space. The soft body requires less storage space but still more than other types of decoys. The hard body decoys can be purchased in several positions and both goose and duck. The soft body can be purchased in Canada, Spec and Snow in 3 positions. Normally used by Canada goose hunters and placed in family groups several yards apart.
Shell Decoys – There are two basic types, hard body and soft body. The hard body is a plastic that comes two parts – head and body. When the head is removed the decoy can be stacked inside each other. Several dozen can be carried in a standard decoy bag. The lightweight shells are made from a foam, they also come in two parts-head and body. They are also stackable. About 5-dozen can be carried in a standard decoy bag. High volume but very lightweight. The hard body decoys can be set on the ground or elevated on a stake. The foam shells can be used over water and ground. They are light and this must be taken into consideration when lying in a field. Shell decoys can be obtained in both duck and goose. Are used as a substitute for the full-body decoys.
Silhouette Decoys - Most are made from non-glare plastic and supported by a stake at the leg section. Silhouette decoys are two-dimensional. Most place them about 5 feet apart facing in a multitude of directions. A waterfowl fly over the spread the decoys appear to be moving as one disappears another appears. Care should be taken to use only those decoys that do not reflect on sunny days. Silhouette decoys can be purchased in both duck and goose with six positions. Normally used to add size to full-body and shell decoy spreads.
All-Wind Decoys – These kits are available in Canada, Spec., Blue and Snow goose decoys. The base All-Wind is a non-glare windsock type decoy made from a plastic coated cloth in the design of a goose body. Comes in three parts, head (molded hard plastic), body and stake (wood or fiberglass). Used in lieu of full-body, shells and silhouette decoys. Six dozen can be cared in an All-Wind Sling. The Headless All-Wind is available in Canada/Spec, Blue and Snow goose. Same body but comes headless. Used as a substitute for windsocks and as volume for All-Wind spreads. Design allows that this decoy can be placed half a car length apart. Requires less numbers to have a large snow goose spread.
Windsock Decoys – Developed as snow goose decoys by Northwind, the decoys have changed over the past 40 years. The windsock is still available. The transformation is the Windtamer and Texas Rag decoys. Both are a rag decoy that are made into a windsocks. The basic difference is wind and cost. The Windtamer and Texas Rag decoys come in Canada/Spec, Blue and Snow goose. The Windtamer decoy is made from thick non-glare plastic, when puffed-up it will remain a full body decoy in zero wind. The Northwind type windsock and the Texas Rag do not. The cost goes from high to low – highest windsock, next Windtamer and least expensive Texas Rags. For the snow goose hunter that requires a thousand decoys the Texas Rag is the answer. If a guide service hunts everyday through the season the Windtamer is the one to purchase. It last longer, works on windless days and can be purchased with a fiberglass stake. All windsock style decoys are normally placed facing into the wind and 3 to 5 feet apart.
Landing Decoys – Are specialty decoys. The most popular is the Goose Magnet, which is available in both duck and goose. These decoys work well when used in 2s, 3s or 4s. Placed on the sides of a spread or in the spread to give the appearance of waterfowl laying in the spread.
FUD (Fold Up Decoys) – A special decoy available in duck (most puddle duck species) and goose. Made from a rubber-foam with an artist designed outer surface. Very easy to transport and store. A dozen is hung from an “S” clip that is attached to the hunter’s belt. When folded out can be used as a floating decoy or as a field decoy. For a group of hunters that each want to hunt water and fields they can purchase several dozen each of the FUD decoys and coupled with Texas Rags or Windtamer Windsocks have a very cost effective spread, easy to carry and store.TIP: From the time snow geese are legal to hunt in the early fall in Canada (in Canada snows can be hunted with electric calls if all the decoys are white – no dark decoys) they see a lot of solid white spreads. To have snows look your spread over more and have more in shooting range, add color. Mix in blue goose decoys (10:1 to 6:1), set up a Spec or Canada spread (50 or so rags with several landing decoys) off to one side and just forward of your snow goose spread. You will get less “bumps” (where the flight of snows drop down but just skirt the spread out of range) and more “harvested” geese.
Because of the time required to make price changes on the duckngoose.com web site “specials” will be in the Waterfowl Notes each month for call-in orders - Just pick-up the phone and dial (281) 821-3795.
This July – for all call-in orders over $ 100.00 the U.S. freight is zero – free.
CALL IN SPECIAL FOR JULY
Nothing is more important to a goose spread on ground or a duck spread in the water than movement. This months call in special is items than will add life to both.
H2O Quiver Magnet- Add a couple of AA batteries, a decoy line and weight, put a couple in your hunting coat pocket and you have movement for a couple dozen floasting duck decoys.
Swimming Drake Mallard – Attach the decoy to a length of fishing line and a swivel. Attach the swivel to a screw in the top of a piece of wooden rod (old broom handle) and the decoy will swim in circles adding movement in the middle of the Landing Area.
Vibrating Hen Mallard – The hen decoy resembles most species hen. Place a decoy line and weight with an AA battery. Place a wabbler decoy in the middle of a couple dozen floating duck decoys and instant movement on still days.
Wave Magnet – Use brown for specs and Canada spreads and white for snows. Attach ends of line to either a 42-inch graphite rod or a 10-foot ½-inch metal conduit (painted tan, dark brown or black) and add Mother Nature’s breeze for movement in a goose spread.
Balloons – Fill with helium, connect three together with packaging tape and light weight fishing line and attach to a pole with several yards of line or corner of the blind. Looks like waterfowl landing. Use one or more attached to the decoys of the Wave Magnet and have a flock landing on a still bright day. $ 12.00 for a package of 6 (U.S. freight included)
Serendipity – The finest season-salt on the market today. Brightens up any meat or vegetable. Can be used in marinating, cooking or as a dry seasoning after cooking.
Randy’s Rub Me Tender – A complete red dry spice. Used as a rub for marinating, cooking – baking, grilling, barbecuing, combined with other dry rubs for spicing up a flour coating. $ per 4.5-ounce plastic shaker containerDNG Waterfowl spice – A winner in the spice field. A dry rub that is void of the normal red – chili powder- paprika type rubs. The spices you most need for dry rub on waterfowl, chicken and turkey. $ per 6-ounce plastic shaker container.
MALLARD MEATBALLS with CREAM
6 ea mallard duck breasts, skinned
On a flat working surface tenderize the breasts with Jaccard deluxe meat tenderizer. In a non-conductive bowl place breasts, cover with water plus 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar. Refrigerate; change water every 20 minutes until water runs clear. Pour off water; pat breasts dry with paper towels. On a working surface cut meat into 1-inch pieces. Check and remove any shot pellets. In a Weston Deluxe EM-2 Meat Grinder, grind cubes into hamburger size ground meat. In a bowl mix goose, onion, cracker crumbs, Serendipity, DNG Waterfowl spice, pepper, garlic and egg. Form into balls just smaller than a golf ball. Grease a 10-inch by 13-inch baking pan. Place meatballs into the baking pan. In a bowl combine soup and milk. Season with Randy’s Rub Me Tender (1/4 teaspoon at a time). Pour liquid over meatballs, cover, and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Remove meatballs, set aside. Stir sour cream into skillet mixture, mix well. Add back meatballs, cover, reheat 15 minutes. Serve over rice. Yield: 6 servings.
8 ea snow goose breast, deboned, skinned
On a flat working surface tenderize the breasts with
Jaccard Deluxe Meat Tenderizer. In a non-conductive bowl place breasts, cover with water plus 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar. Refrigerate; change water every 20 minutes until water runs clear. Pour off water; pat breasts dry with paper towels. On a working surface cut breasts into 4 pieces lengthwise. Massage meat strips with ¼ cup oil, white wine, 1 tablespoon of
Sweet Chipotle Season-All, DNG Waterfowl spice, salt and pepper; place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. In a roasting pan place the meat; pour in water around meat about ½-inch deep. Cover with foil; roast at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until medium-rare. Remove goose liquid, set aside. Allow meat to cool. Cut meat into ¼-inch thick strips. In a saucepan over low heat combine remaining ¼ cup of oil, remaining 1 tablespoon of
Sweet Chipotle Season-All, onion, bell peppers, rum and bay leaves; simmer 5 minutes. Add cream and reserved goose liquid; bring to a boil. Add meat, reduce to simmer; cover and cook 15 minutes. If liquid needs to be thickened, in a cup pour in a jigger of water, stir in flour until a paste. Stir flour paste, small amount at a time into sauce. Keep stirring, sauce will thicken. In a bowl toss to combine white and wild rice. Serve meat and sauce over cooked rice in equal amounts on eight plates.
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