Benoit Boudreau, June 13, 2021
Are you struggling to get ducks and geese to land in your decoys? Your first instinct might be to just buy more waterfowl decoys, but perhaps the next decoy you should buy is in fact a coyote. Usually hunters only consider how they can use a decoy to attract wildlife, but very few think about how they can use a decoy to repel wildlife. Anyone who hates pigeons has seen those fake owl decoys on top of buildings. The idea being that you use a fake version of the pigeon’s natural predator and put it in a place you don’t want the pigeons to congregate. I am here to tell you that you can use that exact same strategy with waterfowl!
Coyotes prey upon ducks and geese all year long. In the spring when they lay their eggs. In the summer, when they are trying to raise their young and in the fall when they are trying to fatten up for winter. Can we blame coyotes? Not really: waterfowl taste delicious, there are a lot of them and they sometimes make stupid mistakes. So rather than hating coyotes, lets use them to our advance and incorporate their natural predation of waterfowl to our advantage. How do we do that? Well the simple answer is. Put the coyote decoy in a place that the birds want to be, but where you don’t want them going. For example, let’s say there are two fields that ducks are feeding in all afternoon. You did a good job scouting and realized that there is going to be an issue during your hunt the following day because if you start shooting in one field then all the birds are just going to double up in the adjacent field. However, if you also have permission and access to the adjacent field you can set up a coyote decoy right in the middle of it to bounce birds back to your field. Now, one of the first questions that might come to mind is well I don’t hunt in fields very often. Does this strategy still work for hunts over water? It does. But not as well depending on how tall the vegetation is. If you have short vegetation around a river or small pond just put the coyote decoy right on the edge of the water. Birds are a lot less likely to land nearby and if you have a convincing decoy spread a safe distance away, the birds might head straight towards you. The moral of the story is that you need to plan your hunt ahead of time and do proper scouting. If you do not know where the birds want to be, this strategy is a lot less likely to work.
One frustrating thing about using a coyote decoy is its difficulty to test its efficacy since you are hunting waterfowl a few hundred yards away. You cant be near the decoy to watch how the birds respond to it. It’s hard to know if waterfowl are coming towards you because of the decoy or if they were going to come towards you anyway. Don’t get me wrong, the coyote decoy definitely works, just realize that in waterfowl hunting there are so many variables going on simultaneously it is difficult to attribute success to just one thing.
Do I think that every waterfowl hunter should get a coyote decoy? No. I would only recommend a coyote decoy for hunts where birds bounce around a lot and don’t seem to want to congregate in just one geographic area. Also, I also recommend putting some orange flagging tape around the neck of your decoy so some hillbilly doesn’t shoot your decoy during the hunt 😉
Speaking of hillbillies, if you are interested in predator hunting you can also use your coyote decoy for that as well and get double the use out of it.