Aaron Koenck loved to goose hunt, but he didn’t particularly relish lugging around huge bags of the various hard-shelled decoys he needed to create a decent spread.
With necessity being the mother of invention, the 20-year-old junior at LSU in Baton Rouge started thinking about developing a lightweight, compact product with flexibility in mind so a single bird could be employed to create different decoy scenarios.
“Basically I wanted to hunt more geese,” Koenck said. “Being a college student, I didn’t have a ton of money to throw at all the different types of goose decoys that I might need for any situation. I said, ‘I wish there was something else.’”
He couldn’t find what he was looking for, so he ended up making his own, and the Louisiana Decoy Company was born. Now, in addition to carrying 12 hours this semester, the history and political science dual major from Leesville is a new business owner intent on creating a market for his unique three-in-one foldable foam decoys.
“They weigh about 3 ounces each - they’re incredibly light,” Koenck said. “You can put 30 decoys with stakes in a 2 X 3 box, roughly the same size as a standard decoy bag.
“You could crumple them up and almost put it into your hand, and it will get to about one-third of its original size. Just shake it a little bit, and it comes right back.”
And while foldable decoys aren’t necessarily unique, Koenck’s version stands alone because of its ability to be modified into various positions.
“When you look at just a regular foam decoy, those are fairly inexpensive, but they can’t be used as floaters,” he said. “So when you look at the whole picture, where you basically have three types of goose decoys in one, that saves you a lot of money.
“You don’t have to go buy shells, you don’t have to buy floaters and you don’t have to buy full bodies.”
Because the foam is collapsible, all of Koenck’s decoys can be converted from full-body to floaters and half-bodies, with conversion kits that are included.
“I did a lot of research, started making calls and sending emails, and I found some manufacturers overseas who worked on a small scale,” he said.
He just started selling four-packs of Canada, speckle-belly and snow geese on his website in January. Even though goose season was winding down as his decoys hit the market, Koenck said he had to get the look right before taking orders.
“The biggest thing I had to make sure of was having the right body molds and it looking correct, because I didn’t want to sell something that wasn’t worth a durn,” he said.
Blue geese decoys will be ready before next season, as will foam versions of mallards and pintails for duck hunters.
“They’re not available yet,” he said. “I’m still working on the final product. They’re not quite where I want them to be right now.”
A four-pack of geese, including two feeders, one sentry and one low-head costs $90 plus shipping, and includes a conversion kit to create floaters, as well as to set the decoys on ice.
For now, Koenck plans to finish up his education and then hopefully enter law school at LSU. He will be working throughout the year to finalize the upcoming duck models, market the decoys here in Louisiana and across the country, and learn firsthand about running a business.
He’d like to see Louisiana Decoy Company one day crack into the Top 100 Tiger-led businesses run by LSU grads.
“My goal is to make that list,” he said with a grin. “The only hard part about it is there are several oil and gas companies on that list, so that tells you about how much money it requires.”