DIY homemade duck decoys can do the trick


Duck hunters looking for a way to add a little spice to their sport may want to try crafting a decoy or two to their gear bag.

I know, the catalogs are full of life-like decoys, some so perfectly shaped and finely colored that they appear to ready to take flight. But know this: hunters have been fooling ducks for eons with pieces of old tires, mud piles, bundles of straw, cardboard silhouettes, painted soda bottles, commercial net floats, and more.

So let’s cut through the perfect paint jobs and feathers that look like a jeweler engraved them and get to the real deal, something a distant duck can see and mistake for a resting cousin.

It starts with a few supplies, and handful of basic tools, and a couple hours of time. The following pictures should tell the story.

Start by searching decoy supplies websites for some cork and roughed out pine heads. Get the rest at your local hardware.

Duck decoys
Cork and pine duck decoys can be made at home in a couple hours with a few supplies and some basic tools.


Roughly shape the cork body with a hand saw or power band saw then work into a more realistic shape with rasps. Keep a store bought decoy handy and a few magazine clips to guide your shaping efforts.

If you like the look, slice the tail area with a crosscut hand saw and glue in a thin board to add to the look.

Next, add a treated wood keel then run a long screw through a pre-drilled hole the keel and body to attach the head which can you can shape or detail to your satisfaction.

Duck decoy
Homemade duck decoys can be painted to attract different varieties of ducks.


Float the decoy in a tub and add weight to the keel until the bird looks like it ought to in the water. Hunting magazines, especially the Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl, have tons of photos to compare to.

Paint the final product to your liking; diving ducks will approached plain black blocks, but mallards like the right colors.

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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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