When ducks won’t come into shotgun range, a good guide will do just about anything for his decoy spread to be seen — including waving his arms in the air.
Well, not exactly.
But, after seeing the effectiveness of flagging for Canada geese, guide Stuart Merritt of Morehead City, N.C., experimented with the technique in his scissors rig and found that it will also turn the heads of big-water ducks.
A flag is basically just a polyester cutout of a Canada goose with its wings outstretched, held in place by a fiberglass frame. The imposter is attached to a flexible pole and is flapped profusely — to simulate life in the decoys — when a raft of ducks is spotted in the distance.
“If you can catch one’s eye when they’re flying by or just flying around, you can turn them,” Merritt said. “You might turn the whole wad of them or you might break six or eight off.
“It’s one of those things you have to try. You might do it a couple times without any luck, and then the third time, get 30 to come to you. But you don’t want to do it when they’re halfway close. You have to stand up, and the movement may not look right to them.
“Certain days, it’ll make you look like a hero; certain days, it’ll make you look like a fool.”