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How to go about acquiring working decoys

Last weekend, I took the time to organize my waterfowl decoys for the upcoming season. This two-hour long chore basically entails counting, assessing their condition, floating them and checking decoy lines and weights. That takes just about five minutes. The rest of the time is spent figuring out how you will rationalize getting a dozen more.

Not to brag, but I happen to be an expert on decoys. I have carved them, hunted over them and gained enough proficiency to stuff 13 decoys in a bag that was only designed to fit 12. And one day, God willing, I hope to hone the skills required to get them out of that bag too.

I am also an expert in decoy acquisition. And I have discovered that the best way to get new working decoys is to give your spouse decorative ones for the house.

Perhaps I should explain terminology. Aworking decoy is an old weathered decoy that is used for hunting. A decorative decoy is an old weathered decoy that you put on a shelf in the house to spruce up the place. In my house, the term “place” loosely means my workshop, the shed or the laundry room.

But how does bringing your spouse decorative decoys relate to getting new working ones, you ask?

Well, the only real difference between a working decoy and a decorative decoy is a single pellet hole.

One pellet hole in a working decoy typically means it will sink faster than the Titanic during a half-hour documentary. And if it sinks, it is, by definition, no longer working – which means it is purely decorative.

Sure, you could plug the shot hole in the decoy with a matchstick and then use paraffin wax or some other type of sealer to repair it completely. But that would mean you would be eliminating your reason for buying another decoy. So get that thought out of your mind.

No, it is far better to repurpose that shot-up working bird as a decorative decoy or if there are too many holes in it, turn it into a handheld sprinkler. This ensures that the decoy is now your spouse’s problem and also opens up room in the roster for a new one.

Most people would call that a win-win.

So, as you can see, the decorative decoy plays a key role in keeping a hunter’s decoy spread fresh and up to date. If not for them, we would all be shooting ducks over decoys that are older than our kids. And what fun would that be? Worse still, how would your shed look?

The biggest issue then is how to get those old decoys into the line of fire so they can spruce up your shed?

Well, I find that this can be achieved easily by auditioning several hunting partners and finally sticking with the one who can’t resist shooting birds whose feet have just touched the water in the middle of the decoy spread. Then, when setting up your decoys for the hunt, set up all the ones you want to turn into decorative decoys in his shooting zone. There is no quicker way to rationalize getting a half dozen new decoys.

Needless to say, a hunting partner like this is worth his weight in gold. Heck, if he is a really good guy, you might even be able to convince him to purchase a couple of decorative decoys for his wife.

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