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  • Micro/smaller Spreads

    I know, I have in the past discussed this topic in other threads but I thought I would post a specific thread and then post reviews as I go along and hope others do as well.

    This year has been a challenge for sure but it has also forced me to "rethink" many many things...I guess social distancing at home can do that. I have been saving my money up for awhile now for some spread improvements(Like I need more stuff) (but i do). One of the items I am wanting to do is improve my small (micro) spread. Typically I use 1 to 3 dozen full body decoys on some walk in areas and have in the past had some good hunts. I have said I think my average cost average looking decoys do a fine job. In the back of my mind(way back) I have wondered if upgrading to a higher quality decoy would make any difference in my success. Hence, I have saved and saved and saved to finally be able to find out. Well sort of.

    I went online and had planned to order 3, 10 packs of Dave Smith decoys. 1 snow combo, 1 snow feeder and 1 blue combo. Unfortunately, they are currently out of the snow geese. I did get 1 box of the blues now. I sent them a message to find out when the snows would be back in stock and am waiting to hear back.

    Will the DSD's make a difference in a micro set? Any one else think this is a good idea or not? Anyone else running smaller sets like this? What do you think,what would you do?

    I have a couple of more items I picked up and am anxious to try and will post them up as time goes by but thought I would start here with the decoys and see if we can get some conversation going.

    Qac


  • #2
    I've seen situations that I'm convinced a small spread would work. I don't think it would take much if you had a hot field. I was looking at a field yesterday that was a WHA that has a history of being a good field. I couldn't help but wonder if a bag of 200 socks would be all that was necessary to pull in low migrating flocks

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    • #3
      I am looking forward to your results. I would ask, how do you plan to "control" the veriables of weather, hide, pressure, etc when you assess the impact of the DSD vs whatever???

      I did this experiment many years ago with some 03 hardcores vs custom socks. I used 30 of each. I found no difference between the decoys in overall kill numbers, but the socks were just hands down easier to handle and deploy, even in the limited numbers. I only hunted traffic fields, no ponds and used the same ecaller, with just me shooting while comparing.

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      • #4
        Kansasgoose, assessing it on an equal playing field is going to be a bit of a challenge I think. Now it will be the same fields, and same food source which is nothing but grass really. Outside of that I don’t think anything will be the “same”. Pressure will be what it will be, hopefully not bad on the days I hunt. Hide should be pretty close as I use the edges mostly anyway so don’t think much different on that front. Weather will be whatever, prolly crappy. Just my luck.
        I think assessment will be based on “feel” did they commit like I like them too. Adult to juvy ratio. More flocks vs singles and pairs... I like my birds to really decoy well , feet down is what I like. So if I see more or less I think that might make some difference to me. No wind days will play a role as well. Those are the hardest to get birds to settle in to me. I don’t really know yet outside of if they build my confidence and I feel better, Then I think it will be deemed a success

        i do know that 2 bags of socks around 50 dozen is no more difficult to get in to these spots then the 30 FB’s. Then it becomes numbers vs individual realism. No way can I get enough FB’s in to those places to look totally real in the snowgoose game. I’m excited to start playing around and see what happens. Got plenty of time yet till spring to chew on it.

        Qac

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        • #5
          Qac, my personal belief is that the high quality decoy vs a quality decoy will not make a difference. I just don't think the birds can pick out the extra quality. (That your paying for) But I am sure we are all looking forward to your experiment!

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          • #6
            Qac, I admire your initiative with thinking outside of the box and trying something different. It is good to spoil yourself once in awhile with something special

            I’ve never been convinced that higher priced decoys are necessarily better. What actually makes them “better? There are only so many poses, texture, paint, & sizes so what really separates expensive decoys from the average run-of-the mill brands?

            I too will be looking forward to your results. Best of luck!

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            • #7
              The past 6-7 years I've ran a small spread 30-150 full body decoys in Texas. I started out with 60 GHG 1 piece and grew it to around 150, sold those and went with 120 Avian X for two years and now I have 120 Dave Smith. Haven't hunted over the Dave Smith yet so I cant comment on them other than they do look really good. At first with my GHG the goal was just to trick them into range to get a shot and over the years our hides have gotten better, figured out how to use the wind in regards to how we set up better and I guess with age its become more about the show than just killing them. None of us are starving so if we get burned and don't get a shot its not a big deal. With that being said when the conditions are right to get birds tight it may take multiple passes of a few birds right over the decoys or walking in the decoys to get a big group down close. My opinion better looking decoys make a difference in our situation especially on mediocre weather/wind days. Its hard for me to gauge if one brand is better than the other due to different hatches, number of bird in our area and amount of pressure from season to season. I will say mixing the two brands there's a definite difference to the human eye looking at them together in the field on which looks better. For the average joe Dave Smith's are very expensive and I personally wouldn't drop that kind of cash starting out but in my situation is was an upgrade to where once I sold my avian x it wasn't to pain full to throw in the extra to get Dave Smith's. Hope to have a solid review of them in a month or so.

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              • #8
                Qac, I also fall on the side that an increasing degree of realism improves results. But it's incremental! It's about finishing closer, more frequently. The big question is how well it works with a small spread. Back home in the first 5-7 years of the conservation season, we were hunting a lot of Kansas Dept. of Wildlife land. So it was walk in. We started out using socks and laying in the spread. I remember the results were outstanding in the early morning low light. As soon as it got brighter the birds would not decoy near as well. So we started using about two dozen full-bodies that I had made (back then nobody sold a full body snow). And we always hid in edge cover outside the decoys. We saw a noticeable improvement in close in decoying. For me that was just the first of many instances over the years that formed my belief in the use of full-bodies. I will say we only used small spreads when hunting the x. And I think that could make a difference.

                I think it is almost impossible to put forth any comparison test, or uncover any scientific proof that one decoy performs better than another. Just too many variables that are changing day to day, and even hour by hour. We develop preferences based on our unique hunting experiences over time. I can't cite any proof, just opinion. I will be interested on what you see.

                By the way, you may want to consider a paint protective coating for your DSD blues. The paint on the blues scuffs way to easily. And on the dark body it shows badly. Shouldn't have to with that expensive of a decoy, but it is what it is. Best time to do it is when they are brand new and clean. I used a product called Modern Masters, Dead Flat Varnish. Very flat, very tough. water based and doesn't yellow.

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              • #9
                Also when downsizing like 50 decoys or less my opinion is blues don't matter. If I take 36 decoys 34 are going to be snows and 2 blues if that. I cant make 36 decoys look like 300 but I can make 36 look like 24 from a half mile away if 12 of them are blues. To get the most pull I feel I need as much white out there as possible when downsizing.

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              • #10
                GC, a half gallon will be plenty. I just sprayed a bunch and it took about a gallon to do 80 with two coats each. Two coats was probably overkill! I think spraying takes more product but you get a nice coat. Rolling works well. Just takes longer. If you roll, use the longest knap roller. A lot of texture in the DSD's. Brushing also works but is way too slow and tends to create runs if you are not reasonably careful.

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                • #11
                  Btw, I tested the Modern Masters against Krylon and Rustoleum clear products. Sprayed each on separate decoys last June. The Krylon and Rustoleum products would still allow me to scratch the paint with my fingernail after two coats each, though not as easily as with no clear coat. The Modern Masters was much harder to scratch at the outset, and has even become harder after 4 months. It is much tougher than the other two.

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                  • #12
                    If you are running such small spreads and few blues just bag them???
                    .

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                    • #13
                      Good info from all. Thanks for the info on the paint too. I will be bagging these so I will have to decide about the paint protection.

                      I would like to hear your results gulfcoast200. If you feel like the DSDs are working better. I think it will be a gut feeling that translates into confidence to define working better maybe. Unless you start landing big groups of all adults and shooting bands that say they are 15-20 years old. Then we might have a workable result.

                      Qac

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                      • #14
                        Originally posted by gulfcoast200 View Post
                        With that being said when the conditions are right to get birds tight it may take multiple passes of a few birds right over the decoys or walking in the decoys to get a big group down close.
                        I can't wait to kill those walkers in the middle of those DSD's...LOL

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                        • #15
                          Originally posted by twdjr View Post

                          I can't wait to kill those walkers in the middle of those DSD's...LOL
                          I bet... between you shooting them and the dog knocking them off in the mud I may have to double up on the blood pressure meds!

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