Anyone who has ever tried to buy decoys will readily agree that they are exorbitantly expensive. With whole body ‘pigeons at around £4.50 a shot and wild ducks starting at £6.00 (apart from mallard drakes, which they sell at the garden centre for £3.99 as “pond decoration”), there is clearly a tremendous amount of money in manufacturing plastic birds. The real kicker is “multi pack” decoys, which seem to have been designed to squeeze me out of being able to afford any decoys at all.
On pay day, I feel flush enough to spend ten pounds on anything I want, regardless of circumstances. During the summer, I often buy a single ‘pigeon and a packet of rolling tobacco. In the winter, I sometimes stretch to buying a weighted keel wigeon decoy. Bit by bit, I have assembled reasonable numbers of wigeon, teal and woodpigeon, but I can only ever buy them from gunshops which have already opened the decoy packaging. Too many dealers insist on selling bulk decoys, which, at £75-00 for 12, puts me out of the bargaining altogether. I don’t want twelve, and I don’t have that much to spend in one go.
The stubble field where I have been shooting pigeons could reasonably be made to attract canadas and greylags based on a large reservior on the far side of Glengorse. They fly over in a noisy clatter every evening, and it isn’t too much to imagine that they come out in a similar line each morning, returning from the Solway at Caerlaverock. Looking online to buy two or three canada decoys and/or a call, I saw that the vast majority were being sold in packs of a dozen for a starting price of £120.
Man has been decoying animals for millenia, and it can’t be that difficult to make your own. As a result, I now plan to start making my own decoys wherever possible, in defiance of greedy manufacturers. Through improvisation, imitation and guesswork, I will make a stand… My first attempt has been to jigsaw some swivel-necked goose silhouettes from a sheet of plywood and paint them up as demonstrated in this week’s Shooting Times feature on decoying in Shropshire. They look ok, but only ok. I have a feeling that “improvised canada goose decoys Mk. II” will be slightly better. Watch this space.