“The more, the better” is a common mantra among waterfowlers when it comes to decoy spreads. Under certain circumstances, however, you can get by with what you can carry on your back. Following are a few examples of when decoy placement is more important than how many you employ.
It can be difficult for birds to spot your blocks through the treetops, so motion is more important than numbers when getting ducks’ attention in flooded timber. Add movement to your spread with a flapping-wing decoy, vibrating floater, or even by kicking the water with your feet—anything that creates ripples and gives the impression of actively feeding ducks. It’s also a good idea to offer a clear landing zone by concentrating decoys around the edges of an opening rather than in the middle. Brightly colored drakes show up better than hens.
Though it contradicts conventional wisdom, you may be better off creating an opening in the ice near some type of cover on the downwind or crosswind side of the hole, rather than on the upwind side. Remember, it’s close-quarters shooting at a time of year when cover is sparse and birds are wary.