Snow Goose Decoys

February 14, 2009 by  

By Chris Hustad

Most snow goose decoy spreads are always evolving

Most snow goose decoy spreads are always evolving

The month of August marked the beginning of decoy making season when I was growing up. We would meet in the backyard one of our hunting partners where we would put our ideas to the test in our always evolving snow goose spread. We made our own shell decoys from life-size to the equivalent of super mag decoys. We also made our own flying snow goose decoys which aren’t too far from what’s out there today. And I remember our first purchases. We bought 10 dozen Northwind windsock decoys, and a couple snow goose kites. I thought our spread of 300 all-white snow goose spread killer. And it was, well, for a little while anyways.

Fast forward to today and it’s amazing how things have changed. I can tell you first hand I’ve got a garage full of THE decoys of yesteryear; it’s like a blue and snow goose decoy museum. I’m a pack rat and I have a hard time letting go. I can barely keep up with all the snow goose decoys on the market today, and every year breeds new ideas and new versions of what was out last year. Some of them work, and some of them look good on the box. Here are the snow goose decoys out today that you need to watch.

Uvision Decoy Paint

A group of hunters from Fargo, ND with degrees in Chemical Engineering and a Masters degree in Polymers and Coatings Science, got together with an idea. They studied the concept on how humans can see color in 3 primary colors: red, green, and blue. While birds can see a combination of 4 primary colors: red, green, blue, and UV. It is this UV that they felt has been missing in decoy paint through today. Many types of bird feathers will naturally reflect UV and that is what contributes to the natural “color” of the bird–though the human eye cannot see it. Most waterfowl species have several areas with moderate to bright UV reflection and that can clearly make a distinction between the colors of a bird and the paint of a decoy.  With extreme testing the UV imaging equipment shows the UV reflection just as bird feathers do.

UVision paint may change how snow goose decoys are painted.

UVision paint may change how snow goose decoys are painted.

And that brings us to where they are today with their newly formed company, Twilight Labs, LLC. Their product, Uvision, has a long line of water fowl decoys paints. And in particular, their first tested species was snow geese with their snow goose decoy paint. For those hunters who painted their decoys with this snow goose decoy paint, most claimed their success increased. While this product is still in it’s testing infancy, it is one of the most closely watched products along with their results this year. This could change the way we approach not only decoys, but colors surrounding all forms of camouflage.

Purchase UVision Decoy Paint here at Nodak Outdoors.

Avery Greenhead Gear Life-Size Series Snow and Blue Goose Decoys

If you have the room, full bodies are tough to beat for realism

If you have the room, full bodies are tough to beat for realism

With the evolution of the full body decoys for Canada geese, you knew it wouldn’t be long before full bodies became standard for snow geese. While many manufacturers jumped to the scene, it’s hard to argue that Avery has came out with the most realistic and affordable full body blue or snow goose decoy today. They have a wide variety of decoy looks and poses as well as paint schemes for both adults and juveniles. Coupled with their RealMotion™ bases the spread comes alive. To combat the problem with storing and transporting full body decoys, Avery gives the option of their slotted decoy bags which allow you to stack your decoys to maximize your storage space. This reason alone has changed the way many snow goose hunters have approached the design of their decoy trailers.

To test this decoy this spring some of the Avery Pro-Staffers took the field with one of the largest snow goose full body decoy spreads ever put together. Over the course of the season they faired very well on decoying geese on average. While the spread they used may not be affordable to most hunters, it proved that full body decoys have a place in the snow goose decoy game. And I don’t see Avery slowing down any time soon.

Deadly Decoys

One of the more well known snow goose guides in the spring migration is Tracy Northup. Tracy along with some help runs Up North Outdoors Inc. out of Mound City, MO near the famous Squaw Creek Refuge. For years their decoy spreads consisted of homemade snow goose windsock decoys which constantly required maintenance and were at the mercy of the lack of wind. While he tested different products out there, he felt there wasn’t a quality snow or blue goose windsock decoy so he went to work on his own. And just this year he launched Deadly Decoys.

The screen printed blue goose decoys are one of the best weve seen

The screen printed blue goose decoys are one of the best we've seen

Windsocks have huge advantages over other types of decoys. They are light weight, compact, affordable, and add unrivaled movement to your spread. Most snow goose hunters will agree that snow goose hunting is a numbers game, and there’s no more affordable way to amass a lot of quality decoys than with windsocks. The biggest downfall of windsock decoys has been the lack of realism and their limp look on no wind days. Deadly Decoys has designed a blue and snow goose decoy that addresses both of these problems. They have a highly detailed screen printed body, realistic molded head, and a backbone support system that will hold the decoys shape without any wind. And the best part of this windsock decoy is it’s durability. The only stakes available are stainless steel so there will never be a need to replace what breaks. I personally have added a large number to my decoy spread this fall for my snow goose hunting in Saskatchewan and North Dakota. I’m looking forward to the look of the spread when Mother Nature leaves us windless.

SilloSocks

From the state of Nebraska a few years ago came the appearance of a new form of snow goose decoy, the SilloSocks. SilloSocks basically came to be by taking the pros of the silhouette and windsock decoys and bringing them together. SilloSocks were the first snow goose windsock decoy to come out that would hold their shape in no-wind situations. The SilloSocks head and body are permanently attached eliminating lost heads which was a headache for windsock hunters for years. They also have a unique stake system with spring steel that provides realistic movement. In low wind situations, you can stake the decoy up in the air to pick up the slightest breeze. In high wind situations, you can push the stake closer to the ground, allowing it to “hug” the surface rather than whip back and forth like regular windsocks. And the best part of the decoy is they barely weigh anything at all, let alone 100 in your arms.

SilloSocks are the most company snow goose decoys available

SilloSocks are the most company snow goose decoys available

SilloSock snow and blue goose decoys have a screen printed body which look very realistic compared to traditional windsocks. And they have a realistic feeding head which was lacking for many years. SilloSock decoys can set up and take down fast and travel well with their decoy carriers. I personally use these carriers to store almost 500 decoys on the roof of my trailer. This gives me an excellent option for storage and for when I need to backpack a spread when the fields are wet.

Purchase SilloSocks here at Nodak Outdoors.

Rotary Wing Decoys

Realistic movement is the best thing to add to a motionless snow goose decoy spread

Realistic movement is the best thing to add to a motionless snow goose decoy spread

There’s no doubt that spinning wing decoys have made a difference in the duck hunting community. So much so that their use is banned in many US states. Lately, the concept is being tested for snow geese. SilloSocks Inc. has brought the patent from overseas and is launching this new snow goose decoy system.

With their Rotary Wing System (not yet available, coming soon) coupled with their Flapping Goose Decoy, this will simulate circling snow geese moving around a decoy spread. This snow goose decoy system will be invaluable on no wind days where your decoy spread is otherwise lifeless. I’m taking this system to Saskatchewan this fall and will see for myself how effective this can be with weary adult snows and blues.

Wind Wavers

Motion snow goose decoys that require zero maintenance are a big plus for large decoy spreads

Motion snow goose decoys that require zero maintenance are a big plus for large decoy spreads

The innovators of Wing Waver Decoys have brought out a newly designed flying snow goose decoy for the fall of 2006. Throughout the past decade there have been many stationary flying snow goose decoys released on the market. The biggest drawback to these decoys is their wings don’t look real. Only with the right wind will they fly right, otherwise their too spastic or too motionless. The Wind Waver can flap with wind to activate the bungee cord mechanism attaching the fabric wing to a 32” silhouette body. Depending on the wind, there are two different weights of cord that come with the decoy that allow you to adjust to varying wind speeds. The wind makes the wing snap back to simulate a realistic flapping snow goose.

This product is so new that testing has been minimal. But we’ll be putting this decoy to the test this fall and see if the snow geese find it as attractive as we do.

Purchase the Snow Goose Wind Waver here at Nodak Outdoors

These are some of the products that I think will shape the snow goose decoy evolution into the future. Snow goose hunting will always revolve around quantity and quality and these are some options that can help you balance your decoy spread and your wallet. Can you still use those old homemade snow goose decoys and kill geese? Sure they will in certain situations, but if there’s one thing I know it’s that snow geese aren’t getting any dumber. Their ability to spot decoys is as amazing as the decoys coming unto the market themselves.


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