How to String Duck Decoys

Updated February 21, 2017

Well-set decoys can make the difference between success and failure when duck hunting. The right amount of decoys makes your presentation more natural and attractive to flying ducks. Properly rigged, the lines used to secure your decoys will not twist or tangle. Correctly set, the decoys will not only draw ducks in, they can form a landing zone to guide ducks directly in front of your boat or blind, giving you the best opportunity to shoot.

Choose strap weights for the decoys, from 113 to 227gr., depending on how strong the wind and current are for that day.

Cut a 6-foot length of tangle-free decoy line. Thread one end of the line through the hole in the keel of the decoy. Tie an overhand knot in the end of the line. Thread the other end of the line through the hole in the strap weight and tie an overhand knot in that end. This allows the line to turn in the holes, preventing it from twisting.

Thread the line through the left side of the decoy keel on half of your decoys and the right side on the other half of the decoys. This allows the wind to turn the decoys either left or right, providing a more natural presentation.

Wrap the line around the decoy for transport. Set out between two and three dozen decoys to form what appears to be a good-sized flock when spotted by ducks in the air.

Unwrap the line from each decoy. Bend the strap weight into a "J" shape to hold the bottom better.

Start setting two-thirds to three-fourths of the decoys at 15 yards from the blind or boat and on the windward side of where you will shoot to about 30 yards away. Place the decoys at 4-foot intervals to prevent the lines holding the decoys from tangling each other. Position the remaining decoys in two or three smaller groups on the downwind side of where you will shoot.

Tie long cords to several of the decoy lines and lead them back to the boat or blind for hunting on calm days. Pull the cords occasionally to generate waves and motion among the decoys for a more realistic grouping.


Ducks are intelligent animals that recognise even subtle differences in decoys that may prevent them from landing. Use decoys with characteristics appropriate to the type of species you are hunting, including size, shape and colour.

Things You'll Need

  • Decoys
  • Decoy line
  • Strap weights
  • Dark braided cord
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