It might be the most important thing you do during your duck hunt, but often times gets lost in conversation of what kind of call you're blowing, or what kind of shotgun you're shooting... it's the all important question of how you put out your decoys. There are quite a few variables when it comes to determining the best spread to set your decoys out in before a hunt. Is it windy? Which way is the wind blowing? Where will the sun be while I'm hunting? How deep is the water? Is the water moving quickly, or is it still? All of these questions need answering before setting your decoys out before a hunt. Here are our three favorite and most frequently used duck decoy spreads!
First things first, ensure the sun will be behind you and not in your face, this will help your vision as you shoot as well as keep you concealed better from the ducks as they fly into your spread. Next, check to see which way the wind is blowing, this will help you choose from the three duck decoy spreads described below:
1. Crosswind Decoy Spread- The ducks will be flying into the wind as they lock up into your spread. We'll create a 'J' shape with the decoys, with the blind at the bottom of the 'J', the long end of the 'J' going away from the blind on the upwind side, and the short end of the 'J' on the downwind side. Keep the sides of the spread roughly 30 yards apart to allow for ample landing area for the ducks, and make sure the long end of the 'J' is as far out as you are comfortable shooting, this will help act as a guide when you're deciding whether to shoot at a flock or not. Mix in some feeder decoys near your blind, a jerk rig if you have one, and a spinner or two to catch the ducks' eyes.
2. U-Shape Decoy Spread- This is our favorite spread when the wind is at our back and the ducks are flying and landing right towards our blind. This spread allows for plenty of landing area, with long walls of decoys on both the left and right side of the blind. Mix in some feeders, spinners, and a jerk rig and you're ready to go!
3. T-Bone Decoy Spread- When it's a calm day on the water, this could be just the spread you need. Exactly how it sounds, you're going to make a 'T' with your decoys, with your blind located where the 'T' shape intersects. Make sure the decoys going away from the blind are about 40 yards out (or your max shooting distance) and place some feeders, spinners, and a jerk rig up the middle to make this spread look extra appealing. The jerk rig is very important on calm days as it really helps keep the water moving adding life to your spread.
We hope these three spreads help you in your upcoming season! Let us know what you think and how you like to set your decoys out in a comment below!