When wary late season birds are avoiding stationary decoys, can you still have hot hunting action? Absolutely! If you know these motion tricks.
There is something powerfully addictive about hunting mallards. Perhaps it is the environment in which they live; along Michigan’s waterways, swamps, and marshes alive with brilliant fall color. The smell of the freshwater is enlightening and the sound of rushing wings as birds dip close to the decoys can bring a tingling sensation up your spine. At times the shooting can be frantic as birds turn on the afterburners and dash for the safety of the heavens. Mallard hunts in Michigan’s great outdoors can be wild and crazy, especially if you use the deadliest tactics created by duck savvy waterfowlers; action decoys that are unbelievably natural looking to ducks.
When they do fly, ducks tend to follow some pretty predictable behavior patterns; they often move under the cover of low-light, at dawn, dusk and when fall storms bring rain, sleet and high winds. Under adverse conditions the shooting fun can be red hot. But when the weather calms, wind subsides and the dark clouds give way to blue skies, do you know how to make ducks dive for your decoy spread? Listen up. I’m going to share with you some of my absolute guaranteed mallard killing tricks.
It goes without saying that Michigan waterfowl hunters have mastered the importance of using motion decoys to attract wary ducks. The technique has caught on like wildfire across the state and on any given day you can see spinning wing decoys in area marshes, floodings, waterways and lakes and fields. The truth is, spinning-wing decoys capture the attention of ducks from extra long distances, cause them to fly close and often they will cup wings and dive directly into the decoy spread.
I’ve field tested just about every motion decoy on the market, constructed prototypes from shell decoys using motors and custom wings and I like the MOJO Mallard. The Baby MOJO is perfect for teal hunting, the MOJO Wing Thang works too and the MOJO Mallard Machine is deadly also. It is my opinion that the best motion decoy on the market is the MOJO Mallard or Super MOJO Mallard with offset wing design, folding wing, three position switch and remote control from the factory. My opinion is based on in-the-field hunting experiences and interviews with successful duck hunters. I’m so convinced that spinning-wing decoys work like magic that I do not go hunting without them. In fact, I’ve sold most of my stationary decoys, down sized my spread and use more electronic decoys to bring wary mallards into range.
If you want a duck hunting education go to St. Charles and on any given day you will see spinning-wing decoys in action. St. Charles is a state waterfowl area and hundreds of hunters line up at the DNR station to draw blinds that are likely hot spots. Take a peek at the Go devil motors on boats, glance at the magnum mallards decoys and admire the beautiful boats and you will quickly see that this is Michigan’s smelting pot for mallard hunters. Talk to the boys in camo and they will explain how important spinning-wing decoys are to success. Go to the flooded corn, marshes or waterways and you will see plenty of motion decoys being used by Michigan duck hunters. Talk to the successful hunters at the check-in station, ask them if they use spinning wing decoys and you will be amazed at how many use more than a couple; some use four or five.
You see, the trick to successful mallard hunting is to draw birds. Not just a couple but flocks and St. Charles mallards are accustomed to seeing large flocks in the local refuges. Motion decoys mimic the fast-flapping wings of flocks of landing birds. The action gets the attention of curious birds and draws them into your spread.
“I’ve been using MOJO Mallards for about five years and they have doubled my shooting fun,’ explains Ed Collins, from Saginaw. “The spinning action of the wings draw wary birds and they seem to hone-in on the stationary decoys. I like to use about four dozen magnum mallards to attract birds looking for a flock of feathered friends.”
Opening week can be a shoot-fest on Michigan waterways but as the season progresses mallards become much more difficult to find. When you locate some birds they can be very difficult to decoy unless you use some sneaky tricks.
Begin by using spinning-wing decoys. I’m not talking a single but several decoys that mimic the fast wing beats of landing birds. Place them close to your spread and make them look like live birds trying to land in the decoys.
I usually use at least two spinning-wing decoys and when the late season arrives my best strategy is to use four spinning wing ducks. One is placed close to the water. Two are on regular poles and the last decoy goes on a custom 16 ft. pole that extends high into the air. The idea is to get ducks looking at my spread, convince them to circle and pass by in easy range for a shot.
Almost The Real Thing
The last couple years I’ve integrated full body resting decoys into my spread. Modern full body duck decoys look like the real thing and wild birds are often fooled by decoys that offer amazing detail and realism. I put them on muskrat houses, logs, along sand bars, mud flats, edges of ponds or on dry ground. One of my deadliest tricks is to cut waist high stakes and set the decoys on the stakes in open water. I place half a dozen full body mallards close together; surround their webbed orange feet with cattails, corn stalks, vegetation or a floating log. The idea is to make the birds look like they are sitting on something, taking a nap. The full body decoy attracts mallards from extremely long distances, holds their attention and brings them close for a second look. My choice of decoys is the Avery oversized mallards resting style. The full body decoys also come in different body positions like: feeder, upright, sleeper and are now available in flocked heads to eliminate glare. You can get the Mallard Harvester pack, which is the ultimate full body spread with feeders, active, resters and sleepers and combining different body styles gives you the versatility needed to fool wary mallards.
Oh yes, full body decoys are deadly along a river, pond or wet spot in a field. They also work like magic when field hunting and mallards flock to them in the snow or when they are set on ice. This was certainly the case last fall.
Steady rain danced on our gear as we motored along the dike in the early morning darkness at St. Charles. We crossed a dike, motored a couple hundred more yards, and then turned into a flooded cornfield. I readied full body decoys by placing them at water level on pre-cut metal stakes as my friends set out stationary over-size floaters and put spinning-wing decoys on poles. The eastern sky turned a pale pink when legal shooting hours arrived and ducks began buzzing our spread. Two mallards splashed down in the decoys before we could touch off a shot and four more birds cupped wings and glided into easy range. We welcomed the early morning with a loud volley and brightly colored fall birds splashed into the chilly water. Come dawn we were greeted with several opportunities at mallards that would leave the comfort of the refuge, fly high overhead, spot our decoys and zoom close for a better look.
Our decoys are the best money can buy and the exceptional detail, flocked heads to prevent glare and variety in posture add a touch of convincing realism that draw mallards like a magnet. But long distance grabbing attention is achieved by using fast-moving revolutionary spinning-wing decoys that provide ultra flash and simulate wild birds landing.
Brandon Conner and Jordan Mason, both from Ionia, worked calls as a group of six drakes circled the spread and dipped wings and glided into range. We jumped up and filled the air with hot lead as two big drakes splashed into the shallow water. Jordan broke out in laughter at the fun-filled hunting adventure. He was smiling as he proudly lifted an adult bird and exclaimed” It is almost like they think the wild and crazy spinning action of the decoys is a group of wild birds landing to feed.” By mid- day we had our limit and picked up the decoys in preparation for the afternoon hunters that would take our spot.
From the edge of the standing corn came a flat-bottom duck boat and two hunters. “We have been watching you with binoculars from the dike and you guys are pulling birds from far away. “What is your secret?” asked one of the hunters.” We are using spinning-wing decoys,” replied Brandon.
Come late season when ducks become decoy-shy try a wild and crazy spinning wing decoy. I can guarantee you will be impressed with the drawing power; the wild action is almost like a duck magnet. If you hunt ducks in stubble corn, I guarantee that these electronic wonder ducks will out produce and draw more birds into easy shooting range than any other tactic. Don’t make the common mistake of setting up too far from spinning wing decoys because most incoming birds will try to land kissing close to the wild action of the spinning wings.