Silhouette Decoy Technique for Doves and Crows Hunting
If you are new in hunting, then the Silhouette decoy technique may not seem familiar to you. But it is one of most effective techniques for the dove and crow hunters now a day. Setting a silhouette decoy trap that convinces the wariest crows and doves gives an excellent advantage as a hunter.
With the silhouette decoy technique, you can have better hunting performance than normal hunting tactics. But setting a proper silhouette decoy is important to catch the cunning birds with the best air rifle. In this article, I will describe the steps of this decoy.
How I made silhouette decoy for doves and crows
Without said bundle, I recently began making my own decoys and discovered three things. Including the cost of all required materials, the finished decoys set me back only 25c a piece.
They were just as effective as the factory-made jobs. And over a period of several evenings, I had a lot of fun at the workbench, an alternative to sitting with my headlights glued to the boob-tube that always gets my vote.
Step 1: Size and measurement
For silhouette decoys, I use ‘1-inch plywood, but it’s not necessary to buy the fancy grade. In fact, the cheaper designations with their rough finishes give the decoys more of a three dimensional, feathered appearance. So whatever you can fish out of the scrap pile, either in your garage or at the lumberyard, will suffice.
Begin by making a paper pattern or template, and don’t worry if — your artistic talent isn’t great. Unlike decoying waterfowl, I have found that decoying doves and crows requires only reasonable facsimiles or representations.
As a guideline, though, live doves measure about 11 inches from their heads to the tips of their tails, and crows are approximately 19 inches in length. Your decoys should be the same size, or slightly larger so they can be seen better from afar. For crow shooting, in addition to decoys that are likenesses of the birds themselves, many hunters like to make an owl decoy or two.
Owls and crows are mortal enemies. In fact, for many years, until it became illegal, a popular practice was to catch a live owl and perch it on a tree branch or fence post with a leather thong around one of its legs so it couldn’t escape.
Invariably, little time passed before flocks of the black bandits would appear from seemingly out of nowhere and attempt to kill the big-eyed decoy. And hunters, stationed behind nearby cover, often saw so much shooting action they found themselves soon having to retreat to vehicles or the local general store for more ammo.
Owl decoys should be about 17 inches tall, and a photo in this chapter shows the type of silhouette design I have found to work best. With dove, crow, and owl representations drawn on paper and then cut out with scissors, now use the resulting patterns along with a pencil to trace their outlines on the plywood. Finally, cut out each decoy with a jigsaw or saber saw.
Step 2: Painting of decoys
Here is a good opportunity to use leftover paints that have accumulated and are gathering dust around your workshop; paints of which you don’t have enough of to tackle some major project or paints that are too old to risk using in more esthetic endeavors.
The dove decoys should be painted flat gray and the owl decoys flat brown. Since crows have a certain sheen to them, use glossy black paint.
Step 3: Placing of the decoys
Dove, crow and owl decoys should be placed in strategic locations. Such as perched on old snags of tree limbs, on fence lines (including posts), or on the ground around the perimeters of fields and crop areas.
The best method of placing decoys in trees is to driller hole in each of the decoys, near the shoulder region; take an 8-inch length of– wire cut from an old coat hanger and bend it into an S-shape. Then, fit the bottom hook into the decoy’s hole. And after that hang the top hook over a tree limb. So, the decoy takes on a natural “perching” pose.
A neat trick for hanging your decoys high in various tree branches, without having to climb the tree, is to make what I call a “decoy tool.” To the tip end of a cane pole (of the type kids use for fishing) simply bind with twine or wire a loop fashioned from a piece of coat hanger.
To set a decoy, insert the bottom of an S-shape wire hook into the decoy’s shoulder hole. Then, hang the top hook on the wire loop of the decoy tool. Now poke the cane pole into the tree branches, set the decoy over a limb, lower the tip of the pole and the top of the S-shape hook will catch on the branch. The, just reverse the procedure to remove each decoy after hunting with the rifle.
Step 4: Important notes
For decoys that are on the ground, such as in corn stubble or around the edges of recently diced fields, drill two holes into the bottom edge of each decoy, one hole in the breast region and the other a few inches up from the tail.
Now, with a pair of nippers, cut 10-inch lengths of wire from discarded coat hangers. One end of each length of wire you can thrust into the ground; the other end supports the decoy. If you stick the wire into the hole in the breast region, the decoy takes on a “feeding” pose.
And with the wire into the vent region, the decoy takes an upright or “sentry” pose. In putting out a spread of crow decoys I usually have one decoy in the sentry pose and the others in feeding poses. For doves, half of the decoys are in feeding poses and the other half standing upright.
An owl decoy should have a hole drilled in the head region. So, that with an S-shaped hook and decoy tool it can be hung from a tree branch. Then drill another hole into the bottom edge between the legs.
This allows the decoy, with a 14-inch length of coat hanger wire, to be perched on a fence post. Or, in some other conspicuous location. The longer wire permits you to take more turns around the top of the fence. This support post perfectly to get a more stable support.
Otherwise, the kamikaze attacks of crows repeatedly hitting the decoy will have you continually running back. This also forth to set the thing up again.
Two final bits of advice for silhouette decoy
First, although doves and crows can be readily decoyed by counterfeits, their eyesight is excellent. And the moving or readily recognizable form of a hunter is easily seen and spooks them. So wear camouflage clothing and make them as little movement as possible.
Secondly, a good way of making quick, clean kills at birds coming in is by the first pacing of 45 yards from the spot where you’ll be doing your shooting. And then, placing one decoy at that outer limit. Forty-five yards is about the maximum effective distance for conventional shotguns. This is also good for the loads that one use in dove and crow shooting. And with a decoy at that range, you’ll be able to judge accurately when incoming birds are within shooting range.