The Wood Duck’s Return, Part 2
Bob McNally 11.15.16
“Most puddle ducks decoy great to a mallard spread, but woodies seem very species-specific and prefer dropping into a set of wood-duck dekes,” says Bill Cooksey, a lifelong duck hunter from Memphis and director of media relations for Avery Outdoors. “My best results are when I utilize about a dozen wood-duck decoys. Usually I’ll toss them around the edge of a pond in loose groups of two to four. It’s important to make sure there are plenty of landing places for the birds to drop in.
“Sometimes wood ducks work dekes well, making several passes before setting up into the wind and trying to land. This is especially true when they’re flying with other puddle ducks, like mallards. But if wood ducks are flying alone, they’ll usually make just a single pass over a spread and keep going. They’re attracted to decoys, however, and fly over them within shotgun range, so having woody dekes is worthwhile. The challenge is that they’ll be flying very swiftly.”
Motion decoys dupe wood ducks very well, and some hunters, like Tennessee’s Tommy Akin, consistently have success using motorized decoys with spinning wings to attract the birds within range. “Motorized teal decoys are about the same size as wood ducks, and when set in a wood-duck decoy spread they’re great,” he explains. “I do most of my woody hunting on the bottoms of Reelfoot Lake and the Obion River, and we have great results getting birds into our decoy spreads. My best hunting areas are around tall, oversized lily pads, which birds use for shade and cover. Also, they eat moss and insects around those same pads.”