Waterfowl hunting is a sport that is burned deep into America’s history and rich traditions. Men have been hunting waterfowl for centuries; a sport that dates back over 2000 years. Native Americans were some of the first hunters to use waterfowl decoys. Using bows and arrows for weapons, they discovered that it would make more sense to build some sort of decoy to attract waterfowl into a close shooting range. Natives were able to build a decoy carved from wood and cork, and feathers were woven onto the decoys with hemp strings. They would paint the decoy’s head and neck for a more realistic resemblance of a duck or a goose.
In today’s times, and thanks to available technology, decoys are now being produced in mass quantities. It is much easier today as hunters to provide ourselves with realistic decoys than it was 2000 years ago. I recently had the privilege of sitting down with good friend and decoy builder Brent Sawyer. Brent is the mastermind behind Odyssey Outdoors, Blue Collar Decoys and is very knowledgeable in the outdoor industry. I wanted to pick his brain a little about decoy selection and ask him a few questions. Thankfully, Brent was willing to pass along some of his wisdom!
Q. How important is paint and sculpture detail when choosing the right decoy? Brent – “There are two very important details to look for when choosing the right decoy: Texture and the quality of paint. Texture decreases reflection and is vital for a realistic look. I prefer a good quality, flat paint and believe this can be the difference between finishing birds and just shooting on the pass.”
Q. Do numbers matter? How do you determine how many decoys to use for each hunt? Brent – “I personally always use odd numbers. Numbers vary with the area and there are two important variables you should always consider. What do the birds look like in the field and find out what is working. Don’t be afraid to network with other successful hunters in the area and discuss strategies. This is why scouting is so important.”
Q. Do you prefer a smaller decoy body or larger such as an over sized or magnum? Brent – “When talking about size I prefer real life plus 10%. To be seen, contrast is king. Use a decoy with a good paint scheme and keep them as clean as possible. It is very important that you take care of your decoys.”
Q. How has decoys changed the Waterfowl Industry over the years? Brent – “Decoys have changed the industry, but the industry has also changed decoys. Hunters today demand a better product. With the sport of waterfowl hunting more popular than ever, there are more hunters along each flyway. Birds are becoming more educated and you have to almost be perfect to harvest on a consistent basis. Decoys need to look as realistic as possible.”
Odyssey Outdoors, home of Blue Collar Decoys is located in Hammond, Louisiana and all of their products are 100% American made! They do customized orders and strive to make a decoy for life. With each decoy they expect nothing short of realism. If you’re looking to make your decoy spread more realistic this hunting season be sure to check these guys out! www.odysseyoutdoorproducts.com.