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Up to date Feb 8, 2023 4:00 PM

Ah, sure—duck decoys. Of all of the rabbit holes duck hunters get misplaced in, decoys is likely to be the deepest, most labyrinthian. Most duck hunters begin with a dozen, possibly two. After which it builds from there. Mallards. Non-mallards. Oh, I’ve to have 4 or 5 dozen divers, minimal. Silhouettes. A spinning wing or two. Or 5. And for these discipline hunts, a pair dozen flocked full-bodies. 

And so it goes from there, nevertheless it’s a great factor, actually. A duck hunter with out duck decoys is simply one other odd fellow who will get up silly early on the coldest of mornings, attire humorous, and enjoys the corporate of canine effectively above that of individuals.

However again to duck decoys. There’s quite a lot of ’em on the market, the great, the dangerous, and the downright ugly. They’ll all work, to an extent, however some faux decoys are merely destined to work higher. Under are the very best duck decoys you should purchase proper now.

How I Picked The Greatest Duck Decoys

Let me put it this manner. Whereas I’m certain there are guys on the market – Tony Vandemore/Habitat Flats – who put their decoys by means of a hell of quite a bit worse every day than I do, I presently stay in Washington state, the place we take pleasure in a 107-day duck season. And of these 107 days, I’ll hunt three-quarters of them. Arduous. 

I handle my gear – I actually do – however I don’t child it. My decoys get banged up on the whole lot conceivable. They survive large tidal exchanges, worldwide freighter wakes, solar, rain, freezing temperatures, bald eagle assaults, low-level non-toxic pellet strikes, and a number of different not-so-nice issues. That each one stated, I’ve quite a bit to concern myself with once I’m duck searching; I don’t need to fear about my decoys unraveling. So these are the weather I took into consideration once I put the above record collectively –


Native American fowlers fooled geese with oblong-shaped blobs of mud with a forked stick resembling a duck’s head ‘n neck. I don’t need my decoys to seem like blobs of mud. I would like them to look as actual as attainable. The fitting colours. The right combination of iridescence and matte end. I would like a wide range of physique postures per dozen. Dimension. Form. Silhouette on the water. Backside line – I would like them to seem like geese. Actual, stay geese.

Total high quality

This isn’t superb china. These are hunks of plastic which are going to be abused. And I’d actually prefer to know that these explicit decoys are going to face as much as that abuse. Paint gained’t erode. Keels gained’t break off. They gained’t crack or instantly fade. They gained’t develop into brittle when the underside falls out of the thermometer. Anchor attachment factors gained’t rip out. They’ll final, not without end, however with end-of-the-season upkeep, for a number of years.

Anchoring system

I hate – No, I abhor – feeble technique of anchoring a decoy to the underside. That’s, anchor (attachment) factors on the decoy itself which are too small, too massive, improperly positioned, or, worst of all, encompass that little plastic half-moon that juts out from the entrance of the keel and … effectively, it breaks off. Not instantly, however at some really inopportune time throughout, possibly, a full-out gale. Poorly designed anchor factors on decoys suck, and rank proper up there with chasing down decoys.

Paint adhesion

Years in the past, I keep in mind opening a model new field of blue-wing teal floaters, solely to search out that to the decoy, every had some proportion of paint lacking. Oh, it was there…within the backside of the delivery field. Paint adhesion, or how effectively the paint sticks to the plastic used to make the decoy, is a HUGE deal. Any producer price his/her salt will make some extent of explaining simply how effectively the paint sticks to their decoys, and why it does that. Face worth, partly, nevertheless it by no means hurts to – once more – do your homework.

Sturdiness (Abuse Score)

The general high quality of a duck decoy is the mixture of a number of elements, considered one of which is sturdiness, or as I prefer to name it, a decoy’s abuse ranking. Decoys are meant for use, and very often that use isn’t fairly. It’s muddy. It’s rocky. It’s backside of the boat beating round. Some can take it; some can’t, nevertheless it’s undoubtedly price an in depth eyeball.


Cliché? Most likely. However, essentially the most lifelike duck decoys on the planet aren’t price a rattling for those who can’t afford them. So until your title is Elon Musk, there’s an awfully good likelihood you’re going to be giving that price ticket the ole once-over. That’s what I did right here, and gave a ‘heads up’ if and when sticker shock appeared doubtless; nonetheless, worth is all relative on this age of $1,100 chest waders and $13/bullet shotshells. Get what you’ll be able to afford.

The Greatest Duck Decoys: Evaluations & Suggestions

Greatest Total: Dive Bomb F1 Mallards

Greatest Total

Why It Made the Minimize: After I opened the field and noticed them for the primary time, I stated D..A..M..N! Yeah, they appear that good.

Key Options

  • One-piece design
  • Extraordinarily rugged
  • Wonderful paint adhesion
  • Barely outsized
  • Six (6) totally different physique postures/positions
  • Self-righting weighted keels


  • Uber-realistic
  • Pure physique positions
  • True-to-life colours
  • Sturdy anchor attachment factors


  • Could be a bit on the dear facet for some wallets

It’s true. I opened the field of the then-new Dive Bomb mallard floaters, took one look, and instructed nobody however the month-old chickens within the pen within the storage—“Rattling! These will work!” 

In my humble opinion, duck decoys are all about two issues—visible realism, and sturdiness. First, I want the decoys to seem like the actual factor, and the Dive Bomb floaters definitely do have that lined. The paint’s proper, shiny the place it must shine and flat the place it must be matte and boring. Head and invoice positions. Physique shapes and profiles. The way in which every decoy sits on the water, as if it have been an actual about-to-take-flight mallard duck. Now THAT’S how I would like my decoys to look. 

And hard, duck decoys want to have the ability to face up to abuse. Right here in my Pacific Flyway, stated abuse lasts for 107 days … and that’s a ton of beating and banging round and being dragged by means of the tules, solely to be flung onto the saltwater and damaged oyster shells. Life’s arduous while you’re a duck decoy, however the DBs look like dealing with it effectively. 

As for the value ($175/12), you may get a dozen mallards for $40, and you could find a dozen mallards pushing $200. Excessive finish of the ballpark for DB, however not out of the ballpark.

Greatest Price range: Flambeau Outdoors Masters Sequence mallards

Greatest Price range


Why It Made the Minimize: Fifty bucks at The Walmart, and you may kill geese over them, I’m guessing, all through the season.

Key Options

  • Weighted keel
  • Good worth level (for those who store round a bit)
  • Life-size profile
  • Six drakes/six hens per dozen


  • Nice starter/filler decoys
  • Self-righting weighted keels
  • Strong anchor factors
  • No critical melancholy if one breaks free and floats away


  • They kinda seem like the late Jackie Gleason in “The Honeymooners”
  • Solely supplied in a single physique posture
  • All upright heads may create the looks of “hazard”

My very first duck decoys again in The Day, circa 1980, have been outdated Flambeau decoys that I used for years and years.  Lastly, I repainted most, if not all, of them as drake bluebills, and so they loved one other life as massive water divers.

Store round, and you could find Flambeau’s Masters Sequence mallards for $4/every, which isn’t dangerous these days. No, they don’t seem like they got here out of the workshop of Fred Zink or Dave Smith, however you’re not paying $20 a decoy both. Paint scheme isn’t your cup o‘ tea? Search knutsondecoys.com or parkercoatings.com, purchase some colours that swimsuit you, and contact ’em up. You’ll nonetheless be cash forward.

Simply getting began ’fowling and on a funds? Right here’s some nice starter decoys. Or filler decoys, for those who’re trying to bulk up a smaller out-all-season unfold. Yeah, they’re a bit odd trying, however they’re fairly robust, self-righting, have sturdy anchor factors, and, while you determine to improve, you’ll be able to at all times flip ’em into bluebills.

Greatest Spinning Wing: MOJO Open air’ King Mallard

Greatest Spinning Wing


Why It Made the Minimize: Terry Denmon and the crew at MOJO Open air know spinning wing decoys, make a terrific product, AND stand behind their work 100%.

Key Options

  • Secure “no-wobble” design
  • Extremely-realistic
  • Much less rattle/unnatural noise
  • Magnetic wing attachment system
  • Lengthy-lasting 6V rechargeable lithium ion battery
  • Light-weight
  • Bluetooth suitable distant


  • Constructed-in distant permits fast on/off; nice for duck/goose combo hunts
  • Softer, extra lifelike “pores and skin”
  • Simple on/off through distant choices
  • Magnetic wing attachments have been a game-changer
  • Fast recharge occasions 
  • Extraordinarily lifelike muted wing colour scheme


  • Some would say a bit spendy at $200
  • Nonetheless quite a lot of pack round, particularly for those who’re on-foot
  • Electrical decoys not allowed in all states, e.g. Washington

I’ll admit it. I’m not a fan of spinning wing decoys (SWD). Sure, I’m certain they are often efficient at occasions; I’ve simply not had that off-the-charts hunt I may attribute to a SWD. Possibly sometime.

That stated, MOJO’s King Mallard SWD is, as a good friend says, all that and a bag of chips, too. Bluetooth distant, long-life 6V lithium ion battery, magnetic wing attachments – SCORE one for the house crew there! – fast recharging, and a construct design that nearly eliminates the wobble, shake, and duck-flaring noise so generally among the many tribe of SWDs. And whereas it’s robust to search out a precise weight, a standard denominator says roughly eight (8) kilos; not mild, however not ridiculously heavy both.

The foremost promoting level for the King Mallard rests with the truth that the drive parts – battery, motor, and distant receiver – are housed in a single strong, albeit accessible, unit, which is then related on to a cam-lock model assist pole. Translation? Stability, low shake, and low noise. The underside line? Love ’em or hate ’em, SWDs could make a distinction if/when used accurately, and MOJO’s King Mallard sits on the high of the record.

Greatest On-The-Water Movement: Higdon XS Pulsator

Greatest On-The-Water Movement


Why It Made the Minimize: The XS Pulsator does what it’s meant to do: Transfer water and create movement in an in any other case static decoy unfold. Plus, I just like the title.

Key Options

  • 12V lithium ion battery
  • Speedy 3-hour recharge time
  • Constructed-in digital operation timer
  • Seven (7) hour run time
  • All inner parts


  • Shallow (6”) water suitable
  • Easy rugged design – Ease of operation
  • Weighs lower than 3 kilos
  • Lifelike physique posture and paint scheme
  • Wonderful water motion


  • Something involving batteries and a motor can show troublesome
  • Electronics prohibited in lots of western states

Once more, I’m not massive on digital duck decoys – What I name “tub toys” – however I’m certain many say they’ve their place within the unfold. And in case your intent is lifelike on-the-water movement with out the, what some would possibly name, inconvenience of pulling on a jerk twine string, then Higdon’s XS Pulsator would possibly simply be what you’re in search of.

The 750 gallon-per-hour bilge pump on the coronary heart of the Pulsator is powered by a 12V lithium ion battery, which, says Higdon, will present as much as seven hours of service, and, what’s higher, will recharge in 180 minutes. There’s an choice to internally home a second full-sized battery, thus doubling the run time. Nonetheless, you’re not going to want 14 straight hours of spraying water within the rig, I wouldn’t assume. Good to know, although. 

At 44 ounces, the XS Pulsator in all fairness mild, making it a risk for the cell ’fowler. And it undoubtedly works as meant, if not only a bit unnaturally, what with the fountain of water and all. Nonetheless, the Pulsator does muddle up the floor, making it seem like an avian free-for-all. And that, sometimes, isn’t a nasty factor.

Greatest Jerk Twine Rig: Rig‘Em Right Jerk Rig

Greatest Jerk Twine Rig


Why It Made the Minimize: It’s easy. It’s cheap. It requires NO batteries. And it flat works.

Key Options

  • Light-weight at roughly 2.5 kilos, together with anchor
  • Sturdy #550 Paracord
  • String winder and drawstring bag included
  • Pre-positioned/tied swivels for attaching decoys


  • Can be utilized in all kinds of water depths
  • No transferring elements
  • Fast in-the-field repair (ought to) something break
  • Accommodates one to 4 decoys simply 
  • Simple transport
  • Matches in most blind luggage
  • Authorized in every single place geese stay


So, right here’s why, and on the danger of repeating myself, I’m a HUGE fan of jerk cords. They’re easy. They’re cheap; in actual fact, they make fairly a straightforward and even cheaper DIY challenge. There aren’t any batteries to die, connections to rust and break, or motors to grab up. And – Prepared? – they work extremely effectively for placing ripples and waves, i.e movement on the water, and respiration life into an in any other case lifeless decoy unfold.

Matthew and Heather Cagle, the oldsters behind Rig ‘Em Proper (RMR), are implausible individuals, who make nice ‘fowling merchandise after which are proper there ought to one thing go amiss. Cagle’s Jerk Rig, considered one of two easy jerk rigs his firm gives, might be the very best $30 a duck hunter can spend, in need of a ThermaCELL for early season teal and Canadas. The unit contains the whole lot—1.5 pound folding (!!) grapple anchor, 100’ #550 Paracord, line winder, storage bag, brief bungee – you want afield. Throw it out, set a diffusion round it, and also you’re within the catbird seat.

The RMR Jerk Rig comes manufacturing unit with 4 snap swivels to connect 4 decoys; too many IMHO. I take away two, and use a pair of water keel green-wing teal, that are light-weight, simple to pack, and transfer loads of water round. What’s good is I can use the jerk twine rigged with these smaller decoys in 4 to 5 inches of sheet water with no downside.

Greatest Silhouette: Dive Bomb M1 Mallard Silhouettes

Greatest Silhouette


Why It Made the Minimize: Dive Bomb (DB) silhouettes are light-weight, extraordinarily lifelike, cheap, and efficient. Can’t ask for extra out of a decoy.

Key Options

  • Constructed of robust corrugated plastic materials – Suppose political indicators!
  • Powder coated metal stakes
  • Excessive decision true-to-life photograph imagery 
  • 4 kilos per dozen
  • Textured end 


  • Gentle weight permits ‘fowlers to hold dozens into the sphere
  • Can be utilized in uber-shallow water the place floaters gained’t … float
  • Lightning fast arrange and retrieval 
  • Field model stake high makes for simple choose up
  • Cell hunters can carry a figurative TON of decoys; large spreads attainable


  • Dry discipline or shallow water use solely limits utility
  • Psychological side concerned with two-dimensional spreads

I’m certain I’m not the one one who thinks Dive Bomb has develop into a family title amongst fashionable waterfowl hunters, particularly the sphere goose hunters who’ve flat gone ga-ga over these ‘new’ silhouette decoys. Silhouettes are something however new, having been in use for many years; nevertheless, ’fowlers at the moment are discovering – Rediscovering? – the effectiveness of flats/skinnies on geese. And that’s the place DB M1 mallard silhouettes come into their very own.

Like all DB silhouettes, the M1 Mallards look nice. They’re mild and, clearly, stack effectively, that means you’ll be able to, with the assistance of DB’s duck/V2 Canada sleeper silhouette bag, carry an entire bunch of them into the sphere. Myself, I’m utilizing the M1s to beef up shallow (4” – 6”) water floater spreads in inexperienced fields, or extra usually, in tidal marshes at low slack when it’s inconceivable to run keeled floaters. Oh, and the sq. deal with (field model) stake. Find it irresistible (!), because it makes choosing up stated bunch of flats silly fast and simple.

Is there a draw back to silhouettes? If there have been, it is likely to be overcoming the psychological side of gunning over one thing apart from conventional three-dimensional decoys. Do away with that “Ain’t gonna work” feeling, and also you’ll see the M1s can greater than maintain their very own beneath the proper circumstances.

Greatest Non-Mallard Floater Decoy: Greenhead Gear Fully-Flocked Gadwalls

Greatest non-mallard floater decoy


Why It Made the Minimize: You need soft-to-the-touch realism from a decoy with out breaking the financial institution? That’s Greenhead Gear’s Totally-Flocked (FFD) Gadwalls.

Key Options

  • Electro-static flocking stays the place it ought to…on the decoy
  • First rate worth level ($99 per 6)
  • Number of pure physique postures and positions
  • Swivel head drakes
  • Distinctive feather element; no glare, even in harsh daylight


  • Gadwalls (non-mallards) current one thing totally different to pressured birds
  • Visually correct illustration of gray geese at relaxation
  • Keel options ‘brief tie’ keeper notch on forefront
  • Reliable anchor level


  • Swivel model heads on drakes can separate unintentionally 
  • At present robust to search out in inventory
  • Flocking does require a bit extra care/upkeep/dealing with

I used to be, I’ll be sincere, skeptical concerning the visible advantages, per se, of absolutely flocked (FFD) duck decoys; nevertheless, upon seeing Greenhead Gear’s FFD gadwall—effectively, let’s simply say I turned a believer, and that to the purpose the place right now I’m setting FFD mallard floaters, full-body mallards (drake heads solely), and pintails in my day-to-day unfold.

So, first, the draw back. Flocked decoys, particularly utterly flocked decoys, require some further care above and past that given all-plastic blocks. Hold ’em clear—chilly clear water, NO SOAP, and a bristle brush works—and present ’em a bit care afield, and also you shouldn’t have any issues. 

Aside from that, they’re nice. The all-over flocking actually does take a decoy to the following stage visually. Certain, it could be to ‘hook’ me, the fisherman, but when that’s it, I’m bought. And I like gadwalls. I like the best way they sound. I like the best way they work a diffusion, once they work a diffusion. And a handful of gray geese sprinkled in amongst my mallards, pintails, widgeon, and single drake northern shoveler (!!) is a particular departure from the 100% mallard spreads many geese are accustomed to seeing.

Greatest Diver Decoy: Tanglefree Flight Canvasback

Greatest diver decoy


Why It Made the Minimize: Diver decoys have to be robust and extremely seen. Tanglefree’s Flight Canvasback are all that, and extra.

Key Options

  • Foam-filled decoys
  • Self-righting weight keels
  • Sensible colours
  • 2-to-1 drake-to-hen ratio
  • Pure physique postures
  • Excessive aid feather element


  • Massive dimension gives improved long-distance visibility on massive water
  • Foam filling supplies pellet safety
  • Six-pack contains extra drakes (4) than hens (2)
  • Sleeper and rester postures lend realism
  • Robust…robust…robust


  • Price ticket ($170/dozen) may appear a tad excessive to some
  • Heavy, however the majority are transported by boat, so…

The yr was 1972, and a bit California-based father/son firm had simply bounced onto the ’fowling radar with a single product – a no-tangle…Tanglefree!…decoy line and a lead anchor system that may, like Kleenex for any tissue and Xerox for any copy machine, function THE title for decoy twine, no matter who made it, for many years to come back. As we speak, Cory Foskett and the oldsters at Tanglefree nonetheless make that line, together with a prolonged record of different ’fowling merchandise, together with decoys. 

The place Foskett and Tanglefree excel, maybe, is within the diver realm; that’s, with their canvasbacks, redheads, and bluebills. How robust? Suppose M1A1 Abrams tank robust, and also you’re beginning to recognize Tanglefree’s divers. Foam-filled, these divers can – and sometimes do – take a pounding. Completely positioned weighted keels guarantee a easy pure journey, even in tough water, whereas what I’ll name the ‘high-vis’ colours on the drakes really POP in opposition to the oft-dark floor circumstances. Rig ’em particular person, or on 40” droppers for long-lines; both means, these are the cat’s meow.

Issues to Contemplate Earlier than Shopping for The Greatest Duck Decoys

Completely, you’ll be able to rush proper out or open up the Web for those who’re liable to such exercise and purchase the primary fairly plastic geese you come throughout. However, are these what you really want on your model of ’fowling? Are they lifelike in look? Will they maintain as much as the pains of day-to-day ducking? Is the paint going to flake off nearly instantly? It’s comparatively easy, although. Perform a little homework, reply a couple of to-the-point questions, and also you’ll be effectively in your approach to filling that store, flooring to ceiling, with dozens upon dozens. Belief me. 


No matter the place you name house, mallard decoys are a secure guess, and can doubtless produce outcomes. Nonetheless, are mallards what you’re primarily searching? Are they the commonest duck in your neck of the woods? Possibly you have to consider a pack set—three or 4 totally different species of dabblers mixed into one multi-species bundle. Or—what the hell—possibly a dozen mallards, after which a half dozen pintails, gadwall, widgeon, and green-wing teal. Make it look actually actual. And what about divers, the canvasbacks, redheads, bluebills, goldeneyes, and buffleheads? Give it some thought. What are you going to hunt?

Looking Location

For those who’re searching a small nook in a secluded pin oak swamp for wooden geese, mallards, and the occasional black duck, then half a dozen blended mallards and blacks ought to do exactly superb. If it’s Sandusky Bay bluebills on the menu…effectively, then, eight or 10 dozen—or extra—drake ‘payments is likely to be so as. Cornfield greenheads? Ah, now it’s time to mud off the silhouettes and the full-bodies. What you hunt and the place you hunt these birds play a serious function in what you purchase and what number of.

Weighted Keel vs. Water Keel

Most floating (floater) decoys right now include weighted keels; that’s, the keel or backside portion of the decoy is weighted, making the decoy self-righting when thrown. They’re good, however they’re heavy. Water keels are hole, and fill with water as soon as they’ve landed, head-up. BUT, and it’s an enormous BUT, they don’t proper themselves. Water keel decoys that land on their sides keep on their sides. Water keel decoys are mild, although, and make a wonderful decoy for the walk-in ‘fowler trying to reduce down on weight.


On any given day, a dozen decoys will work … or 100 dozen gained’t work. All of it relies on the birds, the wind, the strain, and extra. That stated, there’s nothing incorrect with beginning off with a dozen mallards and constructing from there. Suppose you take pleasure in this ’fowling gig? You’ll be able to at all times add extra decoys; it’s what we do.

Floaters vs. Full-Our bodies vs. Silhouettes

Floater decoys are meant to be used on the water. That’s the place they shine. Full-bodies and silhouettes can be utilized each on dry floor and on the water, the latter with some modifications and improvisations, each of which could be and sometimes are a royal ache within the behind. So assume: Are you going to hunt over a foot or extra of water? Or are you going to hunt dry fields, with an occasional foray onto six inches of non permanent sheet water, the place full-bodies and/or silhouettes can simply be used?


And at last, there’s the value. Mallard decoys can vary from a low of $5 apiece to upwards of $30 per duck. Purchase the very best your pocketbook will permit, however perceive {that a} mixture of realism, sturdiness, and high quality, all backed by service after the sale, isn’t low-cost these days. Take inventory of your funds, do your homework, and purchase the very best you’ll be able to afford.


Q – How a lot ought to a dozen duck decoys price?

For those who discover a new-in-box dozen mallards that look good – not implausible, however good – for $40, you need to be reaching on your pockets, I reckon. Extra lifelike is a price ticket per dozen mallards of—ballpark – $100. Although as little as $80 and as excessive as $150 is frequent. Worth relies upon, too, on whether or not or not you’re new decoys, or barely used. Storage sale mallards could price $2 every, a call-your-buddies discount, particularly in the event that they’re in a situation the place they are often instantly used. The ethical of this story is – Purchasing round by no means hurts.

Q – Are six duck decoys sufficient to achieve success?

Six decoys CAN be sufficient, for those who’re on a bit physique of water the place the geese need to be. Given this situation, two decoys could also be a lot. What number of decoys you’re going to make use of relies on various things. Puddle geese, e.g. mallards, black geese, and pintails, usually require fewer decoys to achieve success, as they sometimes collect in smaller numbers than do, say, bluebills, canvasbacks, and different diving geese. Right here, decoys numbers equal what you’re searching, and the place. Rule of thumb.

Q – What ought to I search for in a ‘good’ duck decoy?

This one’s easy – Does it seem like a duck? Is the physique form proper? Is it in a pure relaxed posture? Is it the proper dimension? Colours? Give it a whack. Does it seem rugged and sturdy? Are you able to simply and securely connect an anchor line clip to the keel? Is the keel inflexible, or does it flex, that means it is likely to be comparatively short-lived and a hassle spot? And as soon as once more, does it look…yep…like an actual duck?

Ultimate Ideas on the Greatest Duck Decoys

There are quite a lot of corporations producing duck decoys these days. Most of them are good. Some are distinctive, whereas others are okay. Most of those decoys will, on any given day, idiot a mallard or two, however there’s a hell of much more to constantly decoying geese than merely shopping for a dozen Model ‘X’ mallards and tossing ’em out willy-nilly. Decoys – the bodily decoys themselves – are just the start. Part of the puzzle.

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