Opening day of duck season is still a couple of months away, but it’s never too early to start getting your gear ready.
The key to a successful hunting season is preparation. Part of that involves exercise, part involves practice with your tools and part involves rehabbing and organizing your gear collection.
And, of course, no self-respecting hunter would think about starting the season without buying something new, or maybe even a few new somethings.
At the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade show at the Sands Expo Center in January, I happened upon a new duck decoy that could be an option for waterfowl hunters who are looking to tip the scales in their favor by adding movement to their decoy spread.
The mallard look-alike was floating in a small tank of water when its head suddenly dropped forward in a feeding motion and into the water. As the head disappeared, the body was pulled forward until the decoy’s body tipped up and its tail pointed skyward in a typical feeding motion.
After a few seconds, the tail suddenly dropped back toward the water and the decoy’s head reappeared through a slot in its back before dropping forward again in a feeding motion. The cycle then repeated itself continuously.
Labeled as the Flashback Decoy, the motorized mannequin is hand built at Duck Creek Decoy Works in Denver and is the brainchild of the company’s founder, Tyler Baskfield.
“We came up with the Flashback Decoy to take on a problem that I had,” said Baskfield, who then explained that he has a farm that is an inholding within thousands of acres owned by a person who does not hunt. That meant his farm was surrounded by what he called sanctuaries “that would hold a ton of mallards.”
“They knew where to go, and I couldn’t suck them into my pond where I could get some shots. So we had to come up with something that is ultra-realistic,” he said. “We came up with this after four years, and we built a motion decoy that’s like no other. It’s got the most realistic motion, and you can’t kill these things.”
So sure is Baskfield about the longevity of his creation that he gave it a one-year warranty. Not bad for something that will spend duck season floating in a hunting zone during all kinds of weather. The decoy’s battery acts as the weight to hold it in place.
He said the Flashback Decoy had been available through one full hunting season going into the SHOT Show and that those hunters who had been using it were seeing good results. The key, he said, is in the feeding motion.
As the decoy’s black and white tail feathers repeatedly point skyward and then drop back down, it creates what Baskfield described as a strobe effect that passing birds can see from a great distance. That movement also creates ripples that accentuate the motion and are significant enough to keep water from freezing up when using multiple decoys.
Fueling that movement is a 12-volt rechargeable battery that is included with the decoy along with a charger.
The decoy is available for $250 at flashbackdecoys.com. Baskfield said he was looking to add a Gadwall, a hen mallard and maybe a speckled belly or Canada goose to his product lineup.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions are his own. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.