Duck Decoy Spreads for Open Water

Duck decoy spreads for open water that bag more ducks!  Here are 3 insanely effective duck decoy spreads for open water that will help bring ducks in close. We will show you exactly how to set each of these decoy spreads for ducks so that you can have close shooting opportunities as the ducks approach the landing zone.


Duck Decoy Spreads for Open Water #1

duck decoy spreads for open water
duck decoy spreads for open water

 “Gauntlet” Duck Decoy Spreads for Open Water Summary:

  • Directs ducks into a funnel for “in your face” shooting
  • Can be used on large bodies of water
  • Good for hunting out of a boat
  • Requires several dozen decoys



Directs ducks into a funnel for “in your face” shooting

Any duck hunter would love to have ducks approaching right in front of you for perfect shooting opportunities.  Well, with particular duck decoy spread for open water you are setting up your decoys with the intent of direct face on shooting.


Really, this an extremely decoy spread because you are simply making two long line groups of decoys on each side of the hunter which makes a nice funnel.  You will then set the boat with so that it is on the upwind side of this decoy spread for ducks.


As you can see from the wind indicator arrow in this diagram the wind is blowing from right to left so that means you should expect most of the ducks to approach from left to right and when they do you should have some excellent shooting opportunities.


Can be Used on Large Bodies of Water

Weather you are going to be on a lake, large pond or even an ocean this duck decoy spread for open water can work well for you.  Unless you are hunting an extremely small body of water you should be able to bag plenty of ducks with this setup.


Good for Hunting Out of a Boat but Also Shoreline

This decoy spread is really setup well for hunting out of a boat in the open water.  However, you can even try this decoy spread for open water with shoreline hunting.  The biggest thing you will want to keep in mind if you are going to use this for shoreline hunting is ensuring that you have the wind to your back and then place the two long lines of decoys out in front of you.  This way the ducks will still need to land into the wind and as they do they will be heading to you hinging on the shoreline.
The other thing you should plan with this spread when hunting from shore is the distance between you and the furthest decoy in the spread.  You see most shotguns are effective to about 40 yards or slightly further.  So what I recommend is placing the furthest decoy at a maximum of 4o yards away.  This way you know that any ducks that cross past the furthest decoy or closer will be within shotgun range.


Utilize several dozen decoys

Having a large spread of duck decoys will be essential in creating a nice “Gauntlet” setup.  For each of the two groupings of decoys you will want to plan for at least 3-4 dozen floating duck decoys.


By doing this it will ensure that you have enough decoys to catch the attention of approaching ducks while also ensuring that you create a very unique looking landing zone for the ducks in the middle.


Duck Decoy Spreads for Open Water #2

duck decoy spreads for open water
duck decoy spreads for open water


“Big Water” Duck Decoy Spreads for Open Water Summary:

  • Requires a well concealed boat
  • Works well on lakes and large bodies of water
  • 4 landing zones
  • 2 fly through channels


Requires a Well Concealed Boat

With any duck hunting setup you need to ensure that you are well hidden from the sight of approaching ducks to have any chance of bagging your limits.  That is no different with this decoy spread so you need to ensure that you get your boat blind concealed well.


The two most effective ways to accomplish concealment with this spread is to use a boat blind or to use natural vegetation.  For the boat blind you can either purchase a boat blind setup from a sporting goods retailer or build one yourself.


Purchasing a boat blind setup will be the easiest as all of the parts will be there to make your blind and then all you will need to do is cover the blind with fake reeds or even real vegetation if you can get your hands on it.


However, if you are not afraid of taking on a project you could build the boat blind frame yourself.  Many guys use PVD piping to make their boat blinds or other building materials to essentially frame up the outside of their boats.  Once you have your frame together then you will still want to cover it up with all sorts of real or fake vegetation to ensure that you make a natural look to your boat so the ducks will not flare off.


Works Well on Lakes and Large Bodies of Water

For best results on this duck decoy spread for open water you will want to use it with larger rivers, lakes, oceans and other waterways where you will have plenty of open water on both sides of the decoy spread.  This is because you will need to leave plenty of room for the ducks to land inside of the landing zone or on the outer sides of the decoy spread where you should still have ample shooting opportunities.


4 Landing Zones

We also like the benefit that this duck decoy spread for open water has which is 4 landing zones.  You will see that there is a landing zone in front of the boat and behind the boat as well as landing zones on both sides of the boat.


It can be an effective technique to leave multiple landing zones like this because ducks will have so many options to chose from as they make their approach to land.  They can pick what is most comfortable for them and head to that spot.
The other benefit of having these multiple landing zones is it can allow for quick adjustments if the wind changes direction.  With some decoy spreads you would need to completely change the decoy setup if the wind changes direction.


However, if the wind changes with this decoy spread for ducks all you would need to do is simply change the direction that your boat is facing and you will be back in business ready to harvest your limit of ducks.


2 Fly Through Zones

Another benefit of this duck decoy spread for open water is that it leaves two fly through zones for the approaching ducks.  You see, ducks do not always like to fly over other ducks so having these fly through zones creates spaces that ducks can fly through if they become nervous.  Then if they do fly through these zones you will have excellent shooting opportunities as your boat blind will be well within shotgun range of these passing by ducks.



Duck Decoy Spreads for Open Water #3

duck decoy spreads for open water
duck decoy spreads for open water


“Glory Hole” Duck Decoy Spreads for Open Water Summary:

  • Can be accomplished with as few as 18 decoys
  • Works with or without shoreline or vegetation behind the hunter
  • Can be effective in open water
  • The 3 decoy groups leaves openings for wary ducks to approach the landing zone


Can Be Accomplished With as Few as 18 Decoys

Some decoy spreads for ducks can require several dozen decoys to be effective.  However, the nice benefit of this decoy spread is that it can be setup with as few as 18 decoys.  We are simply going to make 3 different groupings of decoys each consisting of 4-6 decoys per grouping.


Examine how this decoy spread for ducks is setup where each of these groups has about 10-15 yards in between each group.  We are intentionally leaving this spacing so the approaching ducks have plenty of landing options as they approach.


Works With or Without Shoreline Vegetation Behind the Hunter

One advantage of hunting from the shoreline is that similar to the “big water” you are able to take advantage of many ways to conceal yourself from the approaching ducks.  In this example the hunter has a blind placed along the shoreline.  The hunter is actually using a layout blind along the shore but perhaps you have a permanent blind and that will work great as well.


Another method you could use to conceal yourself is to use the tall grass or cattails to stand under.  With good camouflage clothing on you should be able to find a spot within close shooting distance that still provides plenty of cover.  Consider putting on some camouflage face paint to keep any of your exposed skin from scaring off the ducks.


3 Decoy Groups Leaves Openings For Wary Ducks to Approach the Landing Zone.

We also like the benefit that this duck decoy spread for open water has which is a nice opening in the middle for ducks to land but similar to the “Big Water” decoy spread for ducks you will be leaving plenty of landing options on the edges of the decoy spread.


You see that if you place the decoys within about 20 – 25 yards of your hunting spot you can be sure that any ducks that are within the decoys are well within shotgun range as well as any ducks that skirt the edges of the decoy spread will still be in shotgun range.



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Scott – Owner – DecoyPro