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Some tips to success...

Although the duck numbers are way down this year in SE LA b/c of Isaac, I have still been shooting limits on a regular basis. Here are some tips to my fellow hunters:

Boat Blinds:

If you hunt in a boat blind like I do often, then several things you need to take into consideration are:

1. Make sure your fast grass is dark brown that matches your surroundings. Spray paint the grass if needed. Nothing stands out like a sore thumb than a boat blind with yellow (almost white looking) fast grass. The more worn out and aged the grass is the better.

2. Cover the entire boat blind with extra mats of fast grass including the roof. Ducks look down into a blind and see a big hole and movement. I make my blind like a pit blind only leaving small holes for the hunters to be able to stand up and shoot.

3. Conceal your dog if you want hunt with one. Do not put your dog on the bow of the boat or on a doggy ladder hanging off of the front of the boat. My dog goes on my hunt deck with fast grass over him running from the blind to the motor or sometimes I will let him sit outside of the boat blind in the tall grass where he is concealed.

4. Park your boat behind some natural vegatation, not in front of it. This is very important if hunting with the wind to your back.

5. If you use roseau, cane, or brush as additional cover around your boat blind, make sure this vegatation is not higher than the top of your blind or higher than the natural vegatation in the area. Nothing sticks out more than a poor boat blind set up. I can see these from a mile away, so can a duck....


1. If you hunt in coastal marshes where the majority of your bag is gray ducks, do not use a bunch of drake mallard, pintail, widgeon or even teal decoys. Nothing looks more unnatural than a spread with a bunch of white on the dekes (pintails) or green heads in a spread. I use mostly gadwall decoys and hen mallard decoys only with just a few drake mallards (mottled duck decoys are ok).

2. Teal decoy to anything. You do not need teal decoys to get them to decoy. What you do need is larger decoys that the big ducks can see better from a distance, hence this is why I do not use teal decoys.

3. Do not use a spinning wing decoy. You don't need it. Ducks get use to it quickly and it will flare them. The only time I will use a spinning wing decoy is the first few days of each split when we have new uneducated juenville birds in the area.

4. If hunting big open water put out every decoy you have. I carry 4 dozen. Make sure you leave a large opening for the ducks to land in front of you if hunting with the wind coming over your back. Two groups of dekes on either side.

5. If hunting small water or pot holes use less decoys. No more than 18 dekes in small water. If hunting a pot hole 2 to 6 decoys can be deadly.

5. Try a crossing wind set up sometimes especially when the ducks are skittish and flaring off of the blind. This way they are not looking at your blind on their approach. When hunting a crossing wind, you want your dekes about 30 yards up wind from you so the ducks land short of the dekes in front of your blind.

6. Never put any decoys more than 30 yards away from your blind especially if hunting with the wind coming over your back. Many ducks this late in the season will land shy of the decoys. You don't want to take shots at ducks outside of 40 yards. If you place your decoys properly and your blind is concealed well you can have them in your face at 15 yards away.

7. If it is windy, be patient and let the ducks get in close before shooting.

8. If hunting big open water with a strong wind coming over your blind, put some decoys behind your blind too.

9. When ducks are approaching your spread, do not use your duck call. Most hunters would be better off just leaving their duck calls in their truck.

Happy Hunting and Good Luck!
Coot, The Duckbusters agree completely with every point/tip you gave. All great advice form obviously a veteran successful duck hunter. one thing I might add is a face mask on the 'one' person working the birds and everyone else not looking up. They should just face forward and watch the decoy 'air space' until they are told to take em.

Remember ducks get calls shy not duck shy what i mean is ducks talk to each other everyday so sound like a duck and you will kill more ducks call ducks on the corners or going away from u as soon as they turn quit use other calls also gadwall ,whistle that will help u put more ducks in your bag Roland (Duckman )Cortez
Those are some great tips Coot. Its all about being as natural as possible. Thanks
good info!
Good stuff, Coot, I'm on board for sure. One decoy type I put out on every hunt now is WHITE feeder butts. Not the mallard ones, but the pintail butts (G&H or Tanglefree making them), and I cut the pin off. As a predominantly public land hunter, I spend A LOT of time scouting/watching rafts of birds undisturbed. One thing you can see from a mile out is the intermittent flash of white from their tails when dipping. Lately I've been going with a spread of all grays, 4 feeder butts, and a mix of coots and a couple mallards. A spread of grays looks natural, but unfortunately blends into the marsh due to their coloring. Be where they want to be and they'll find your spread! good luck guys
Good tips.....I'll add a couple more

1. Ducks love coots.....put out a whole spread of coots decoys if you got ' friends and I have put out as many as 10 dozen if there are lots in the area.
2. If ducks don't work in to your spread where you want them to move your decoys until they do.
3. Space out your decoys....only scared ducks sit close together. Grays especially will land right smack in the middle of a big pile of coot decoys if you give them enough room.
coot decoys??
did anyone here ever hear of making yur own coot decoys out of 2 litter plastic bottles?? paint the bottle black and the cap white??? they say they work great??? heard this a few times!! does anybody do this??? just curious!!!
Thats as old school as it gets. We've done that in the past with all size plastic bottles and it works like a dream. Flat black paint and white gloss caps. The Duckbusters use more coot dekes than duck dekes, our typical set up
These are all great tips and I can tell that you guys are experienced hunters. Blind with a cross wind to me is the biggest tip of all and can make the biggest difference in your shooting and kills. When set up in a good crosswind, if you let them come all the way in, they simply cannot get away from you. You will shoot your three shells before they get out of range. Good luck to all the rest of the season and stay safe!
I painted my all my hens with flat black spray paint and dabbed the beaks in some left over Kiltz I had....they looks great!....I hunt the deltas and a raft of coots is hard to beat out there so I decided to join em. Another good reason to use coots is that black and white are the colors ducks see from farthest.
All good stuff
I've been using 6 gadwall, 6 ringnecks, and NO mojo. Of course I hunt out for the grass. That helps alot too.
All good tips their coot I use alot of spoonbills ,pintail decoys for their white bellies they show up from far also make sure my blind lots as real as possible would rather hunt a crosswind but will take a wind at my back to decoys are put in a u shape more decoys on the down wind side as a buffer on a cross wind if the winds at my back more decoys on the left and right side with none in front of the blind. put decoys where u dont want the ducks to land
Great Information
Never have I seen a post on this website so full of great quality information. Great job coot as well as the other guys putting in their two cents. Only if every post could be as helpful to people as this one. Keep it up.
Decoy Placement
If you'd like an interesting read. Go to, in the search box enter 'Decoy Placement', and enjoy
Good Luck...
I hope these tips help some fellow hunters. Coot decoys work well if you have a lot of coots in your area, if you 'don't' have coots in your area then don't use them. 2 liter bottles painted black work well too if you are hunting a very large spread of over 150-200+ dekes. In north LA I use to use 2 liter bottles to add to my spread when hunting large resavoirs where we had floating blinds, but in SE LA 4-5 dozen real decoys will work better for big water. The key is experience. Observe your surroundings, watch the ducks and where they want to go, try to hunt where the ducks are holding, observe their fly ways so that you set up in the fly way, observe how they look when in sitting in a pond before you spook them, set your decoys to look like these ducks, and yes as one said do not put decoys too close together. Spread them out. Decoys that are very close together in a tight group can indicate a startled flock of ducks that is ready to get up and fly off.

Experience pays off. I consistently do very well compared to others in my areas b/c of many of the tips suggested in this post. The only other thing that is not mentioned in this post is hunt late or try hunting from 8am to 12pm. Some of my best action is between 9 and 11. Happy Hunting.....
I agree! Great Thread!
Here is a little something from a similar thread last season, it explains my favorite way to set up:
I was very fortunate to grow up and learn to hunt ducks at an early age from a family of duck hunting men. My earliest memories of hunting ducks were with my father and his uncles who always took the time to explain why and how we were going to set up that morning. These men were hunters who hunted as a way of life, to put food on the table, and when it was legal sold their bag of ducks to the market in New Orleans. I remember their stories of when times were hard and shells were too expensive to waste shooting to kill only one duck with a shot. There was a reason for the method and techniques they used and the Paw-Pawís Pirogue family still uses these traditional approaches to increase their chances during the hunt.
We always paddle into the area to avoid disturbing any ducks that are around with the noisy boat motor. After checking the wind, we determine the exact spot we will make our blind and place the bulk of our decoys up wind of that location. We pull our pirogues into the marsh and build a low profile blind of Roseau canes around the pirogue that we can shoot out of from a sitting position. Setting up with a cross wind is always our first choice as it provides many advantages over hunting with the wind blowing over your back. Letís say that the wind is blowing from your right towards your left. By placing your decoys up wind on your right side (about 20-30 yards), the ducks will approach from your left side and look to land right behind the decoys to your right. Your blind will not be in the direct line of sight of the approaching ducks and you will be able to get away will a little movement as you prepare to shoot. Your first shot, from a sitting position, will send the ducks flaring with the wind and bring them right back across the front of the blind for easy and sometimes closer second and third shots. With the wind at your back, the ducks are looking directly at your blind as they approach and any movement could send the ducks away before they get into effective range. Also with the wind from your back, your first shot sends the ducks flaring away from you and your follow up shots are usually more difficult, out of range, and lead to many crippled ducks. When setting up in this manner, be patient and resist the urge to shot at the ducks that are working your spread until they are committed, they will actually pass up the blind and be just up wind of you before it is time to call the shot.
I know some of you also like to set up this way and know how effective it can be. If you have not tried this approach, give this type of setup a chance this season; I think you will enjoy the feeling of completely fooling the ducks with that fist kill shot coming before they even know you are there.
Good Advice Proud Pop
I love hunting a crossing wind... As you pointed out the advantages are the ducks are not approaching you looking at your blind, but the really cool part is if you set your dekes right and let them get up wind from you before shooting, the following shots after your first shot the ducks are even closer to you. It's fun to hunt them in a strong crossing wind and when you miss on your first shot, just wait patiently for them to back paddle with the wind until they are in your face for the sure shot and kill....
Oh yea....
It's funny when I hunt with folks and once we get to the spot I want to hunt they are in hurry to throw out dekes, but I stop them and say 'Wait, we have plenty of time'. I like to choose my spot where I will hunt that day, then sit in that spot observing the wind etc, enjoy a cup of coffee and think long and hard how I will set my spread. I always throw a couple of dekes as markers from the blind location first before I go out and set the rest of my dekes. Nothing worse than throwing out dekes, then you get back in the blind and realize your spread is screwed up and not to your liking.

Also, most of us now have smart phones in which you can use the Weather Channel app for an hourly forecast which will give you wind direction and speed for each hour. Often times the wind will shift directions in the middle of your hunt. Make sure you plan accordingly for this too.

Last but least, always keep a pair of sunglasses in your bag b/c I will set up facing the sun in the heart beat. I don't care if the sun is to my back or not. Actually ducks are less confident approaching a spread coming into the sun just as the sun blinds us, it blinds them too.... Ducks would rather approach a spread with the sun to their butts as they can see better looking for danger.
Make sure to choose sunglasses without a mirror or shiney lens. Leave your Blue lens Costa's in the truck. Get a pair that are dull in frame color with a non-shiney brown lens if possible. No need to get expensive ones, since the likelyhood of getting scratched/broken is high. Good luck to all.
Great article!
i grew up in a very lucky family, my grandfather was the former World Champion duck caller and taught me to call, I picked it up pretty well and won the State Championship and went on to place 3rd in the world several years ago...But i can tell you Competition calling and Hunting calling are two completely different things! Thats one of the hardest things to realize is that even if your good at calling you dont always need to call...get the birds attention and leave them be...the only time i even pick up the call is when they are flying away from the blind and usually just a quick little comeback or a feed call and they break right around back to the hole...being able to call is definatly a plus but being in the right place and blending everything to look as natural as possible is the KEY to having a successful hunt....not having 5 mojo mallards and swimming decoys and four people screaming hail calls at the birds really cracks me up when im invited to hunt with people and they do that and we dont kill a bird then i say guys lets try this...shut off all the motion decoys and put your calls down, then limit out lolol...