Get a group of hunters together and ask them what the most argued over aspect of snow goose hunting in Missouri and 9 out of 10 will probably tell you it is the decoy. Hunters find it hard to agree on type of decoys, how to set the spread, and how many decoys should be used. As a new hunter, it can get very confusing very quickly.
Most Popular Type of Snow Goose Decoys
If you are just starting out, you are more than likely going to choose from full body and windsock decoys. The question is, “How much do you want to spend?” Or more likely, how much do you HAVE to spend?
While there are snow goose hunters that do well with smaller spreads, most will agree that bigger is better. Smaller spreads tend to work at very specific times of the year in very specific settings. In these situations, you are actually attracting smaller flocks of birds, which means less targets. Point being, if you want a better chance of success, you will need to create bigger and better decoy spread.
When purchasing any decoy, the more realistic the better. Decoys are something where you truly get what you pay for in terms of quality and appearance. Decoys on the lower end of the pricing scale will cost about $90-$100 for six decoys. You can be the judge how lifelike these decoys actually look. On the opposite end of the scale, you can spend upwards of $300 for six decoys, but they are stunningly lifelike. These are also the types of decoys you will see on guided snow goose hunts.
Windsock decoys are much less expensive, even for top end decoys. They are also much easier to buy in bulk with even larger discounts. For instance, you can buy 120 headless windsock decoys for less than $600. Top end headed windsock decoys will cost you a little less than $10 each if you buy them by the dozen. If you are setting up your spread alone or have only a few partners contributing, this is by far the best way to go to create larger spreads.
Other Factors to Consider
Storage – windsock decoys are much easier to store and more compact. This is important for many hunters, especially when it comes to transporting the decoys to and from the hunting grounds. For a proper spread, you would need a large trailer to haul full body decoys whereas you can probably get away using a truck or van with some storage bins for windsocks.
Setup and Mobility – ideally, you would be able to set up in one position and hit the jackpot every day. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. There is also the consideration of how early you need to arrive in the morning to properly set your spread. Full body decoys take much longer to set up and are more difficult to move.
Appearance – on a windy day, hunters love the way windsocks add movement to their spread, and so do the snow geese! However, on windless days, the windsocks are much less attractive and may not appear very “lifelike” to the geese from above (you can purchase supported windsock decoys, which do not need wind). On the other hand, a windless day will have no effect at all on full body decoys.
Maintenance – your decoys are going to take a lot of abuse due to a variety of weather conditions. With such a significant investment in full body decoys, you will need to maintain them both during and after the season to ensure you get years of use out of them. Windsock decoys will require much less maintenance and are cheap enough to replace if you get a little lazy in maintaining them. If you go full body, buy a six-pack of several different types of decoys in your price range to see how they hold up over time and how easy they are to maintain.
So, what decoys are you going to buy? If you are still undecided, buy a small sampling of each to see what you like. You may find that you actually enjoy setting up the decoys before dawn and prefer full body decoys, so waking up early and staying a little late is not a problem at all. Or, experiment using both types of decoys together and gradually add full body decoys to your windsock spread to create more variety. The beauty of creating your decoy spread is that you don’t necessarily need to fall in line, just as long as you are bagging some birds and having fun while snow goose hunting every day!