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I would like to learn more about how to hunt ducks over medium to large ponds. It seems like the only duck that ever decoys in are teal and shovelers. Do Mallards or Pintails ever come into water spreads. Any advise for how to get them in? I see plenty of them fly by a mile high and ignore me but never really come down and take a good look. I have a small spread of about 12 mallards, do I need a big spread for them to come down?
 

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Of course they do - they're WATERfowl. I would scout a little and try to find the sloughs or the parts of the lake that they like best. A dozen or two decoys should get you some shooting. Make sure you are hidden.
 

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Over decoys is the only way to shoot mallards in my book. Especially on sunny days when the greenheads really stand out.

Make sure you're hidden well and work them with the call. Many that you see may be going to feed, but the ones that come over that are lower and looking will just be loafing along and lock up pretty quickly when you hit them with the call. Stay hidden, as they'll look things over pretty good, but they will work their way down and be hanging over the decoys at 25 yards or so if they like what they see.

I've been setting from seven to 18 decoys and have had everything from singles to flocks of 20 - 30 birds over them. So yes, they come in to water sets. Just remember, the longer they stay in an area, the harder they are to work. So get excited about a good NW or Northerly wind and some cold weather that will bring new ducks to your area.

Good luck,
Dan
 

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Agreed. Nice answer! The guy/gal would like to learn more about duck hunting. Come on! :******:

Back to the question, yes ducks will come into a spread on water. Scout the area to find out where the ducks are holding and what species. Then simply put your decoys out. I usually put a group of decoys on one side of me and another on the other side making a "hole" for the ducks to land into. You should be just fine with 12-24 decoys. Calling is also an important part. Good luck and keep asking questions, there are plenty of people on here that can help out.
 

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His question is a common question for people hunting bigger waters! Many only see the gads and teal because of a variety of reasons. Back home I use to hunt with a teacher of mine. He was originally from MN. He would always set up on one side or the other of a point on the largest water in the area.

The lake would hold lots of mallards but they seldom shot many. One day my brother and a friend of his took him out on this water for a morning hunt. They shot a limit of ducks and educated him on concealment, calling and location choice especially in regards to wind conditions and terrain.
From that point on his success improved and he became a very prefect hunter learning as well the value of transition waters vs hunting the edge of the roosts.

So my advice to you is to watch the body of water you are hunting. Watch how the birds come in and out of the water, areas they avoid be it hills or towers, roads etc... and then find a place to set up in the path or area they like to frequent.

If the flocks are larger, you may need to increase your spread size you can do this by spacing your decoys farther apart or adding numbers. Something that we found that worked well on bigger water was to run 10-15 decoys in a long line 40-50 yards out beyond the spread. This seems to bring a few ducks down for a look see and then it is up to you !
 

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The most important thing about hunting over decoys is that you are where the ducks want to be. If you not on the X the best decoy spread and the best calling in the world will not put them there they will fly by and maybe give you a look but not much more. You may get a lonely single to decoy every once in a while If your on the X you don't need to to do a lot of calling either. Just my 2 cents
 

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a good majority of the ducks i shoot seem to be a big lakes and sloughs.. the key is to stay hidden and dont make any sudden movements while the ducks a circling. oh and i agree a mojo is a great add on to a puddle duck spread!
 

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We are hunting a little water hole in the middle of a picked corn field and if you are hunting like that put the decoys on one side and leave the other side open and the green heads will land and the teal will still land in the spread to.
 

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Do any ducks ever actually come into a water spread?
Yes they do, but unfortunately most of the time it's about 5 minutes after shooting hours end and I'm standing in the middle of the dekes picking them up. It's like they know.. :lol:

Really though, it's not that hard. Just find a spot where you see ducks all the time when they're NOT roosting. If I see a pond one day that's got a dozen real ducks in it (not someone's dekes) I'll keep an eye on it. If it consistantly has ducks in it, it's a good spot to set up. The first time I hunt a spot I like to get there an hour or so before I can even start throwing the dekes out so I can get a good blind made. If the ducks that are coming in and circling can see you, you're screwed. I also like to wear a hat with a bill (baseball caps... duh...) so I can avoid looking directly at them when they're close in but aren't dedicated to landing yet. For some reason, especially with some local woodies, I get busted more by staring at them than I do anything else.

Sum of it all:
-Find the ducks play pond
-Build a good blind, keep hidden
-And finally listen to Mel Gibson:

Don't shoot 'til you can see the whites of their eyes
... except this concept is backwards.
 
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