In an ongoing series of posts, Balog checks out new waterfowling gear for this season
Today we continue our look into the best new waterfowl decoys available for 2014. Each of those featured offers something unique - something we need - to kill more birds. Or, at least we think.
Higdon Magnum Full-Form Mallard
This year brings a bunch of new full-body and shell duck decoys to the market, as more than ever, duck hunters are taking to the fields. Higdon, long know for it's Battleship construction and foam-filled floaters, is bringing the same rugged dependability to the field-hunting market. The Magnum Full-Forms are shells, capable of stacking, but they have the overall look of a full body. They ride on stakes for increased motion, and feature 360-degree rotating heads (flocked on the drakes) for nice realism. These are sure to be the choice of those hunters needing realistic field blocks, but short on space in the rig, or manpower for carrying a bunch of decoy bags. Price is $79.99 for six.
Drake Breeze-Ryder Blue Wing Teal
Teal numbers have risen at a faster pace than any other duck species, to the point that many northern states are joining the southern tradition of early teal seasons this year with expanded opportunities. Drake has followed suit with the introduction of some sweet new bluewing decoys. Drake introduced its Breeze Ryders last winter to huge anticipation from hunters, and they didn't disappoint. The decoy offers a keel-free design for incredible motion, or utilizes the cylindrical twist-lock keel when needed. The decoys have built-in cleats for wrapping cords for deep-water hunters, and four anchor points for attaching Texas-rig weights for shallow water options. Also, they're economically priced at $45 for six.
Cabela's Northern Flight Full-Body Mallards
Cabela's advertises their paint methods as industry-best paint adhesion." Judging by their past record of a monumental commitment to standing behind their gear, I'd say it's safe to say these decoys are tough. In addition, the bases feature a system to prevent excess metal-to-plastic noise, and the decoys are oversized and extra bright to ensure visibility. Price is $100 for six.
Decoy Bags & Accessories:
Flambeau Uvision Mallard Paint Kit
Flambeau's research has shown that live waterfowl produce an ultraviolet spectrum of color, visible to other waterfowl, but invisible to the human eye. The ability of animals to see this ultraviolet spectrum led to the production of Flambeau's UVision paint technology. Hunters interested in touching up their existing spread to match these color schemes can now do so with the UVision Paint Kit. The kit contains all of the colors needed to completely paint one dozen mallards, priced at $45.78
Hardcore Texas Rig Bag
Just about everyone is utilizing Texas-rig technology for decoy systems. The ease of set up, mobility and tangle-free designs are a real perk. Carrying the attached decoys without damaging them, however, is often challenging. Hardcore is helping solve that problem with their new Texas Rig Bag. According to spokesman Mike Galloway, the bag is much like a skirt that cinches at the bottom, keeping the decoys from bumping and banging into one another. It's an ingenious idea, and will be particularly welcomed by hunters wanting top-shelf decoys, but painless set-up and tear down. Price is $99.