Best Duck Decoy Spread

best duck decoy spread

What is the best duck decoy spread? This question has been asked by waterfowl hunters so let’s discuss what is commonly known as the best duck decoy spread.


In my opinion the “U” setup is the best duck decoy spread that you can use. It does not mean that other duck decoy spreads are not effective but I feel that the “U” is best duck decoy spread to start with and then you can adjust your spread on how the ducks are reacting.


Here is quick video on this best duck decoy spread:


Best Duck Decoy Spread Benefits:

  • Easy decoy setup to learn for beginners
  • Works on water and land
  • Good when wind direction is consistent
  • Funnels ducks for “in your face” shooting
  • Works for one hunter or multiple hunters
  • Adjust decoys on how ducks are reacting


Easy decoy setup to learn for beginners:

I love the “U” diagram because it is super simple for beginning hunters to memorize. All you need to do is picture the shape of a “U” in your mind and build your decoy spread in this shape. The size of the “U” that you build is determined by the amount of decoys that you have. If you have a large amount of decoys you can make the lines longer and thicker but with smaller amounts of decoys you can decrease the distance that the “U” spans. But again, due to its simplicity it is such a great way for waterfowl hunters to get started.


Works on water and land:

The concept of a “U” setup can work very well for hunting ducks over water or land. You see, the “U” shape simply uses the fact that ducks land into the wind as a way to funnel ducks into the opening of the “U”. Regardless if you are hunting in a field or water the ducks will most often work into the opening of the “U”. When you know where ducks are probably going to come from you can plan a very good location to setup where you are in close shooting distance to the landing zone.


Good when wind direction is consistent:

If you are hunting on a day that has much wind at all the “U” shape is effective because you can simply determine the direction that the wind is coming from and point the opening of the “U” with the direction the wind is blowing. As I previously mentioned ducks want to land into the wind so as long as the wind stays blowing in the same direction you should be able to effectively hunt this spread all day long. However, if you are hunting on a day where there is no wind or when the wind is changing directions rapidly it is probably not the best duck decoy spread to use. No wind days will require a different type of duck decoy spread such as a “X” or other shape.


Funnels ducks for “in your face” shooting:

The “U” shape of this spread is extremely effective to funnel ducks into this opening. It really makes the ducks focus on the opening where there are no decoys as this is the place where they will have space to land. The best thing about this is that it makes it more predictable on where the ducks will approach from which will make it easier for you to get some good shooting opportunities in. In contrast, there are other decoy spreads that are effective but with this spread you benefit with knowing where ducks should be coming from and ultimately that should increase how many ducks you are able to bag on a daily basis.


Works for one hunter or multiple hunters:

Regardless of the amount of hunters you have in your hunting party the “U” spread can work well. If you are going to be out duck hunting by yourself then I would say that you can get away with as few as 12-18 decoys in this spread. You can use a small spread for just one hunter because there are not as many blinds that you need to conceal with decoys. However, as you increase the amount of hunters in your party then I would recommend that you will likely want to increase your decoy spread size. You see the more hunters you have the more blinds you will need to conceal. Many hunters try and set out at least one dozen decoys per hunter so if you have 3 hunters with then you may want to target about 36 or more decoys.


Adjust decoys on how ducks are reacting:

Since people getting into duck hunting have not seen ducks fly into decoy spreads much this spread can help people see how ducks react to decoys. As with any hunting there is no guaranteed way to be successful but by starting with the “U” shape you should be able to have some success but you can really see first hand on what ducks like and what they do not like. Starting with the “U” allows you to see the ducks reaction and then make slight adjustments each time as you keep hunting. After many times of hunting and adjusting you should be able to see what works best for you and the area that you hunt.


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