Most hunters are tired by the end of Louisiana’s 60-day duck season and they are content with grabbing up all their gear, cleaning their gun and storing the decoys and other duck gear in the corner of the garage or storage building. But if you hunt with motorized duck decoys, that’s a mistake.
And it’s not too late to fix that. Taking a few minutes to perform a little routine maintenance can save you lots of dollars and headaches next year when the season begins and help you get “mo” out of your MOJO or other motorized decoys.
“These products operate in an environment that is tough on electrical equipment: Very high moisture and greatly varying temperatures. They are routinely operated in adverse outdoor conditions then stored, even if overnight, in a heated environment. That’s a formula for corrosion,” says Terry Demon, owner of MOJO Outdoors.
“Almost all, if not all, batteries do not maintain life well if stored uncharged, and worsened by leaving the battery connected to the electrical system, which further depletes the battery and causes corrosion are terminals and similar connections,” he said.
And that is just during the season. Putting up motorized wing decoys for the long off-season just compounds those problems. Think of parking your truck or ATV in the barn at the end of the season with no attention and trying to start it 9 months later. Modern batteries do not recover well, if at all, if left fully depleted.
Even if you have already put up your MOJO decoys for the off-season, it’s not too late to pull them back out and do a little routine maintenance now.
Denmon says first of all, fully charge rechargeable batteries and disconnect them from the electrical systems of the decoys. For products with disposable batteries, take them out and dispose of them. If left in place, they cause corrosion at the terminals and connections that may not allow the decoy to work even with new batteries. If there is any corrosion, clean it up immediately. Spraying the battery connectors with a corrosion resistant or rust preventive spray similar to Dielectric Grease or Corrosion X or similar products will help prevent problems.
“The original chargers for MOJO batteries were not ‘smart chargers’ and should not charge the battery for over 24 hours, Denmon says. Those chargers do not monitor the status of the charge and can damage both the battery and the charger. More recent chargers are “smart” and not as sensitive to this issue as they will monitor the charge and only add as needed, but still should not be left charging batteries or plugged into the AC electrical system for long periods of time.”
Batteries will deplete somewhat even disconnected and on the shelf and it is good to recharge a few times during the off-season.
It’s not just the batteries that need attention. The motors will inherently take on moisture, and sometimes fall underwater. While they are not waterproof this does not cause much, if any, harm but they should be run for at least 15 minutes in a dry environment. A drop or two of a light oil such as 3-in-1 oil placed where the motor shaft exits the motor housing will help to keep them running sound.
Keeping the decoys clean
Cleaning the bodies of the decoys also helps preserve the natural, attractive finishes. And they should be stored in a shaded or dark room where sun rays do not contact them, which will cause the paint surface to fade.
And if you have any issues with your MOJO, don’t panic. Double check all the electrical connections.
“As a note, most of the decoys that are returned to us that do not run are just electrical connections.” Denmon says. “The ones with the AA batteries, most of the time we just spin the batteries and they run.”
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