, Gloucester, MA


October 30, 2013

Outdoors: Setting decoys to lure ducks

Setting your decoys right can make the difference between ducks smoothly landing into your set or peeling away just before they get into range. Take the extra time necessary to study the many variables including physical setting, lighting, background, tide, and wind direction.

If you are hunting from land without a boat, setting up can be a bit harder as your choices can be limited. However, if you read your charts carefully, you should be able to select a spot even before you arrive on the scene. Let me give you an example.

If the wind is blowing in from the west and the tide is not high, you could drive over to the parking lot in behind Wingaersheek Beach. Walk along the backside of the beach to ward the Annisquam River. There are several tidal inlets that run back toward the dunes. The best one is the first in from the river, but there are a couple of others that will produce as well.

Set the decoys just at the mouth of the inlet where it joins the wider tidal run. You do not need a lot of bodies out there. Three is fine, five is better. If it is an incoming tide the decoys will ride up with the flowing water. Just remember to have a pulling line on shore so that you can retrieve your floaters at high tide! You do not need an elaborate blind. A few stakes and burlap covered with marsh grass will work. If the tide is low or dropping, you will be able to get down below the marsh bank to hide.

As it gets light, the ducks will come off the ocean and up the Annisquam River, looking for a place to land. A couple of squawks on the duck call should at least turn their heads in your direction. If they see the decoys in a quiet, protected spot they will often turn and come on in.

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