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Top Waterfowl Decoys for 2014

Top Waterfowl Decoys for 2014

For some, setting decoys is a chore. What a shame. There is plenty of joy to be found in it: the satisfying smack of a decoy hitting the water; the pleasure of creating a natural scene; and all the pre-dawn optimism that accompanies the ritual. Shooting ducks over my own detailed spread thrills me today as much as it did in adolescence.

Much has changed since then.

There is emphasis on motion, and the decoys you'll find profiled here are rather mind-blowing in their creativity, engineering and mimicry of real fowl. There are flocked designs, paint that mimics the light absorption of real feathers, foam-filled, durable plastics and more variety and postures than previous generations ever imagined.

The thought of pitching these babies across a favorite slough has us clamoring for duck season.

Spruce up your 2014 spread with any of these decoys.

Higdon Alpha TruSleeper Magnum Canada Full Bodies

What looks more relaxed to a goose than a group of sleepers? Higdon really nailed its new Trusleeper Magnum Canada Full Body. Check out that tucked leg — no detail overlooked. The heads are flocked and the bodies feature a proprietary, very real paint scheme. Price: $120/4-pack

Higdon Battleship Mallards

The flocked heads on Higdon's new Battleship Mallards prevent unnatural shine yet offer a subtle, life-like iridescence — truly it's something you must see to appreciate. As an added touch, the bodies are foam-filled to ensure they remain afloat. In order to add versatility to the rig, all decoys sport swiveling heads, and each six-pack includes two upright drakes, two relaxed drakes, one relaxed hen and one upright hen. Price: $100

Avian-X AXP Over-Sized Mallards

World champion carver Rick Johannsen designed some of the truest-to-life postures of feeding mallards you'll find. Non-chip paint schemes and the contrasting light and dark colorations, boost visibility. Each 6-pack includes four drakes, two hens and a decoy bag. Price: $150 (6-pack)

Avian-X Topflight Canada Floaters

Check out the high, white tails on these goose floaters — can you say visibility? The bodies are constructed of flexible plastic that remains even under freezing conditions. The flocked heads are factory-connected to ensure tight lock-up. Price: $130 (4-pack)

Banded Canvasback Floater

If Banded's mallard and teal introductions are any indication, then diver aficionados can expect one of the most competitive blends of realism, toughness and affordability available. Each 6-pack includes four swimming drakes and two resting hens. Price: $60

Big Foot Oversize Mallards

Sporting the same Big Foot base that made it's Canadas so iconic, the large, colorful greenhead decoys are all about giving visibility of your spread a boost. Just as durable as the goose blocks, these mallards will be at your duck club for a lifetime...and beyond. Price: $110 (4-pack)

Big Foot Standard Goose

It's the decoy that strikes fear in the hearts of every Canada goose across the four flyways. Nearly impossible to beat Big Foot's realism and durability, that's why you'll find them in so many commercial hunting camps, the famous leg-foot assembly means no stakes or tie-downs. Price: $130 (4-pack)

Dakota Decoy X-Treme Canada

Arguably the most detailed, realistic decoys Dakota has unveiled, the Canadas were developed with an EVA blend plastic, a soft, hearty material that really retains paint. The non-removable heads and tails are flocked, and movement is fostered by Wind Walker Motion bases. Price: $220 (6-pack)

Dakota Decoy X-Treme Mallard

Dakota's flocking consistently exceeds our expectations. The X-Treme Full-Bodies are extremely realistic, featuring Wind Walker bases, and fine paint schemes. The 12-pack includes four feeders, two searching feeders, two relaxed actives and four uprights. Price: $299

Deadly Decoys Canada

The heart of the design in these goose socks lies in the 'Backbone Support, ' which keeps the decoys aloft and moving well under 10 mph winds. It even acts as a wind vane, self-orienting the decoys into the breeze. Available in 12-packs of headless or flocked heads. Price: $60-$135

Deadly Decoys Mallard

Greenheads hit a field to feed aggressively, creating a flurry of activity. The slightest wind brings the Deadly Decoys to life — it's eye-catching, natural, and makes mallards commit. Available in 12-packs of headless or heads. Price: $60-$125

DOA Rogue Canada Floaters

It's tough to find a goose floater that sits just right on the water. DOA's keel has a recessed hexagonal design, providing a realistic ride while accomplishing proper movement in the breeze or current. Six-packs include adjustable active (4) and sentry (2) heads. Price: $170

Drake Breeze-Ryder Mallard

Keels can hinder motion, so Drake gave its Breeze-Ryder (available in magnum or standard) a concave bottom — they stay upright and dance given the slightest breeze. In nastier weather, just slap on the separately sold Twist-Lock Keels for added balance. Price: $70-$90

Flambeau Storm Front Mallard

Flambeau's patent-pending UVision is on the cutting edge of real duck feather reflectance, so when you throw these blocks, rest assured the greenheads won't resist. The innovative keel has front, center and rear tie points for different motion options. Price: $80

Flambeau Storm Front Canada

World champion carver Richard Smoker really came through on Flambeau's field dekes with high-level realism and unique postures. The 12 different head positions are compatible with Flambeau's shells and floaters. Available in active, resting, feeding and upright. Price: $180 (6-pack)

Fowl Foolers Canada

Burlap-wrapped Styrofoam, you may just pass these hard-molded blocks on to the next generation. For a few bucks more, Fowl Foolers will also slap on a protective coating for the iciest of conditions. Heads are virtually indestructible. Price: $290 (12-pack)

Fowl Foolers Mallard

Fowl Foolers' Mallard may just be the most durable on our list. Their Styrofoam decoys are wrapped in burlap to ensure strength and, along with the updated paint scheme, a feathered appearance. Keels are hardwood rather than plastic. Price: $260 (12-pack)

GHG Commercial Grade Honkers

These soft-body Canadas survived being run over by a four-wheeler during a field test, so we think they'll stand up to your abuse. Available in 10 different postures, the heads are flocked and detachable. Push the stakes in the ground, set the full-bodies and you're ready to take on the migration. Price: $230 (6-pack)

GHG Pro-Grade Redheads

Whether you're a pothole or open-water hunter, you might as well carry a six-pack of redhead blocks: They tend to randomly show up whether shooting mallards or bluebills. Available in active and sleeper, the paint schemes are ultra-realistic. Price: $70

Hard Core Full-Body Snow

White geese flock by the thousands, so you're going to need an attention-grabbing spread. That's where Hard Core's TruMotion bases come in. They make Full-Body Snow Geese dance in the slightest breeze, drawing the birds in for a look. Price: $165 (6-pack)

Hard Core Jerk Cord Combo

When the wind dies, the HC Jerk Cord brings decoys back to life. Along with the snaps, cords, and anchor weights, the kit includes four mallard decoys so hunters don't have to pilfer from their perfect dozens. Price: $60

Hard Core Puddle Pack

You'd be hard-pressed to find a better gift for a public-land waterfowler than the 18-duck Puddle Pack. It includes mallards (two magnum, four standard), wigeon, black ducks, teal, pintails and woodies pre-rigged with an included mesh bag. Price: $189

Lucky Duck Lucky Flapper

Flagging is vital to putting geese in the decoys, but that motion also attracts attention to the blind and the shiny faces within. The Lucky Flapper can flap its wings continuously (up to 9 hours) or intermittently (3 seconds on, 10 off). Remote control included. Price: $200

Lucky Duck Lucky Pair

You can't beat the price on these two hen and drake spinners. The 'Junior ' decoys are life-size, remote-ready (with a battery life of 12 to 16 hours) and plastic magnetic wings. Two 42-inch stakes are included. Price: $100

MOJO Mama Jama

The new Mama Jama not only features the company's trademark spinning wings, but also swims thanks to a propulsion pump. Thus the decoy creates ripples, splashing sounds and the natural 'V ' of a moving duck. Price: $200

Primos Final Approach Honkers

A redesigned motion system uses heavy shock cord to mimic legs and foster movement in light winds. Heads and tails are flocked and the bodies are heavily textured. Each 6-pack includes three feeders (each in a different feeding position), a sentry, rester and walker. Price: $338

Primos Final Approach Mallards

Stand out from your neighbor with the unique, realistic postures on these Field Mallards. An active drake, two drake runners, one drake walker/feeder, one active head hen and one snuggle-head hen are included with each 6-pack. Versatility is furthered by their swivel-head design. Price: $184

Quack Rubber Goose Shells

Unlike plastic decoys, these shells won't crack in cold weather, and they self-seal even when shot. Plus, they're lightweight and stackable for easy transport, but built to remain in place in winds up to 70 mph. Add a Windwalker Stake Kit for a few dollars extra. Price: $13-$15 (each)

Quack Rubber Wood Duck

The FOREVER Wood Duck Decoy comes with a host of features: 360-degree movable heads; self-righting, brass weighted, 'Line-Lock ' quick-adjust keels and durable paint — not to mention it's rubber, so that aggressive shooter in your group won't sink it. Price: $24 (each)

Real-Geese Pro Series II Mallards

These mallard silhouettes are 30 percent larger than the original design for added visibility and include a variety of all-new poses. Photo-realistic printing is also well done, but here's an even bigger plus: A dozen weigh just seven pounds. Price: $130 (12-pack)

Reel Wings Flocker

If you REALLY chase snows, Reel Wings are in your trailer right now. With the Flocker (available in 2- and 4-arm), your success is no longer dictated by blustery winds. We've seen sky-high migrators tornado straight into this motorized rig — adults and juvies alike. Price: $380-$480

RedHead Floating Goose

High-end features like removable/flocked heads, removable/weighted keels and four head positions (sentry, semi-sentry, rester, and semi-rester) — all at a price that leaves wallet space for steel shot. Price: $90 (4-pack)

Real-Geese Pro Series II Canadas

An Ohio buddy makes his own silhouettes, lays down in the dekes and smashes honkers. We don't have his artistic flair, so these two-dimensional Pro Series fakes are perfect. The silhouettes are textured on both sides so there's no shine. Price: $225 (12-pack)

Rig'em Right Mega Motion

Make those decoys two-step on a calm morning with the Mega Motion Jerk Rig. The kit is set for 12 floaters, comes with 100 feet of mainline rope with pre-tied bungee cord, rope winder, three collapsible anchors, spring clips and floating case. Pre-rigged clips attach to decoys. Price: $130

Tanglefree Migration Bufflehead

Decoying buffies gets everyone to feeling good. Problem is, butterballs fly notoriously close to the water, which leads to sunken decoys. Tanglefree's blocks are filled with high-density foam, which helps them ride high on the water, and stay afloat if shot. Price: $70 (6-pack)

Tanglefree Pro Series Speck

Specks aren't just a West Coast or southern bird anymore, and if they're showing up in your flyway Tanglefree's Pro Series is a must. Floaters (4-pack) and full-bodies (6-pack) are available, all of which feature life-like paint and postures with detailed texturing. Price: $100-$160

White Rock Flocked Canada

Delivering a windsock with adjustable flocked feeder heads for added realism, these Canadas (six feeders, six uprights) bring life to an otherwise stagnant spread. The Tuf-Snap collapsible support system makes setting and picking up decoys a snap. Price: $110 (12-pack)

White Rock Mallard

If it's time to go big, White Rock's Mallards are a speedy alternative to lugging full-bodies. The heads are oversized, fully-flocked and accompanied by 24-inch ground stakes. According to White Rock, 120 socks occupy the same truck space as the average 12 regular decoys. Price: $110 (12-pack)

Wonderduck Skimmer

Make the real birds think there's a feast on the water with the Skimmer, equipped with a five-second on/off delay simulating the motion of a duck searching for food. Available in drake or hen, the head is adjustable and the paddling feet won't get stuck in the weeds. Price: $130

Wonderduck Goose

Some contend geese are too wary for spinners, so why not try spinning feet? The Wonderduck Goose adds motion to a honker spread over water. It features a quiet, waterproof motor and its feet paddle and spray water for 15 hours on two D-cell batteries. Price: $130

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