Seems like us in the south are always last to know when something new hits the market. Last year the talk was that you just had to try out one of those spinning-wing decoys (FATAL DEDUCTIONS). This years talk is you HAVE to have one to kill any ducks at all! That is if the feds don’t outlaw them first! This craze started a couple years ago on the west-coast; mainly in California which is the third largest state in waterfowling. Actually about fifteen years ago I met some guys out there that produced a similar device that fit onto your regular floating decoys and was wind operated. It was obvious that over time someone would eventually build a better duck trap. This year there are about 20 different versions on the market. One which is manufactured in Monroe LA under the name of Mojo Mallard by Hunt Wise. Reports where so outrageous last year that the feds thought that they needed to conduct studies to see if the population would suffer. This year they were even talking of lowering the limits or days for states that do allow their use. Check you own states’ laws as many have outlawed battery operated decoys.
The feed back that I have read on different sites on the internet and heard from hunters indicate to me that it’s gotten to a point of jealousy. One guy doesn’t want the guy in the next blind over to have an unfair advantage over him! Come on guys we are talking about a decoy. If you really believe that ALL duck hunters should be on the same playing field then let’s all start shooting single shot 20’s, only #6’s, no more than 1 dozen decoys, in gray Dickie’s, with kazoo’s for a call! Actually, probably the same jealousy took place after the duck call was developed in the 30’s.
My experience last year when I had the chance to use them was only with limited success. While on a half a dozen hunts last year; only two of those hunts did I feel that the decoy made a difference. By that I mean a total of about eight birds. You still have to do everything else right such as your blind, other decoys, camo, calling, etc. I don’t think that’s going to have any affect on populations (the predators take care of that for us). Are they worth the money? To me they are. I only have a few days a year when I don’t have a camera over my shoulder and can enjoy some quality hunting with my kids. I want those times to be as magical as I can make them. I think that the average duckhunter over a season will feel the expense justified. It will allow you to position the birds tighter for less cripples; thereby reducing your load cost not to mention any increase in your bag over the anticipated kill. I can not emphasize enough how important positioning your birds for the shooters in the blind can be. It allows young shooters the opportunity to get there first shot off at 15yards vs. 25 to 30.
The best results that I have had are to use them on those “bluebird” days. This also happens to be ideal conditions for those who hunt flooded timber. In timber I place the decoy in the middle of the hole to allow for optimum visibility. In an open water, field or marsh; place it in your landing area with a couple of regular decoys close by. This simulates new birds that have just landed. Keep in mind that most birds will try to land on it. Keep this strategy in mind especially if your hunting partner is a little quick on the draw! Last year I had a flock of mallards that were so high I did not even call to. When they spotted the “Mojo” they immediately locked up and swung right through the decoys at 20 yards! While these type decoys are surely not magic; magical things can sure happen when using them. I have had a lot of guys tell me that the decoys will make duck calls obsolete. I certainly hope not. Like all new things on the market; sooner or later some of the birds will figure it out.
I will say that if there is an unbiased study that finds that it would be harmful to the populations that I would be the first to jump on the bandwagon; but until then lets just all get along! None of us really wants to go back to hunting with the equipment of 25years ago except maybe our model12’s and lead shot of course!