Decoys are designed to appear closely like a real duck or goose with varying degrees of accuracy. For some people it is not particularly important that their decoys closely resemble a real bird. For others, the more closely it matches the better and there are two primary types of exterior surfaces used to create that realism. You can either use a painted decoy or one that is fully flocked.
The aim is to try to come up with the most realistic duck decoys or the most realistic goose decoys possible.
What is Flocking?
Before we get into the whole flocked decoys question and whether they are effective or not, we should firstly discuss what flocking is. it is a coating process that involves the adhesion of tiny fibers to a surface (in this case a decoy) to give it a fuzzy look.
This is a process that is extremely common and we see the results in many everyday objects around the house such as some plush toys, the lining of luggage, wall coverings and insulating materials.
The result, when it is applied to a decoy, is a surface that more closely matches the exterior of a duck or a goose.
What Is A Fully Flocked Decoy?
In some cases companies offer their decoys just with flocked heads while others offer models that have been flocked over the entire surface. These decoys are termed fully flocked decoys and the intention is that they provide an even greater level of realism.
Fully Flocked Duck Decoys For Sale
Decoy Make / Model
Round base stands
Spirit Water Mallard Decoys
To give you a better chance of comparing the different fully flocked decoys that are available no matter whether you're after them for duck or goose hunting we have also included a detailed description of each.
Higdon Magnum Upright Mallard
These fully flocked mallard decoys come in packs of six and features a head that can be swiveled 360 degrees to allow you to choose whatever position you like. They also sit on top of steel round bases that can be adjusted to whatever height you like to create a variety of attitudes and heights. All decoys can be attached together so they can all be picked up and moved in one motion. The stands allow the decoys to move slightly in the breeze to add to their realism.
For more information about this and other decoys visit the Higdon Outdoors website.
Tanglefree Migration Edition Mallard Resters
These decoys are designed to stand out from the others in terms of being more lifelike. They are specifically created so they don’t flare unnaturally in the sun the way plastic decoys tend to. They are also given an additional edge because they are individually air brushed in the finishing process which makes them all slightly different from one another. They are foam filled and have a weighted keel so they sit naturally in the water and come in packs of six with a mixture of positions (2 upright drakes, 2 rester drakes and 2 skimmer drakes).
For more information about these and other decoys visit the Tanglefree website.
Dakota X-Treme Floating Mallards
These mallard decoys are considered to be among the most realistic and life-like that you can get. They have been designed and constructed with a full hand-painted finish to provide the utmost level of realism.
They have been treated with a special flocking material that will ensure the decoy does not shine in the light when they get wet. They will continue to look good in any light conditions. The heads on the decoys are able to be spun through a full 360 degrees so they can be set in what appear to be different positions.
The decoys are 17 inches long and they feature a weighted keel that allows them to maintain true-to-life movement in the water. The 6-pack of these decoys consist of 4 drakes and 2 hens.
For more information about these and other decoys visit the Dakota Decoys website.
Avian-X AXF Full Body Canada Goose
The Avian-X AXF Canada goose decoys have been designed to provide maximum realism through the combination of finely chosen colors, feather detail and postures that are those that you would see from real geese. The finishing detail is the full body flocking that duplicates the feather sheen that you will get from live geese. The heads are attached with a direct-connect system that eliminates splitting and the square retractable motion bases provides the type of movement you expect from feeding geese. They come in packs of 6 and are available in three different postures: feeders, walkers and sentries.
For more information about these and other decoys visit the Avian-X website.
Spirit Water Mallard Decoys
Decoys are currently not available
The Spirit Water mallard duck decoys are made from polystyrene foam construction and they feature a triple outrigger keel system. They have an impact resistant polymer coating so that they provide great balance and durability. They sit on the water in a way that is significantly similar to the real thing. Their flocked bodies ensure that there is significantly reduced light reflection and this makes them more visible to other ducks. They have an overall dimension of 16.5” which makes them slightly oversized. You can find them for sale in packs of 12.
For more information about these and other decoys visit the Spirit Water Facebook page.
GreenHead Gear FFD Honker Canada Goose Resters
These decoys are designed with the same technology that has made GHG one of the most successful decoy companies in the business. The technology of flocking has been utilized to create a fully flocked floating Canada Goose decoy. They come in a range of different body positions such as active,resting and sleeping styles.
For more information about these and other decoys visit the Avery Outdoors website.
GHG FFD Elite Full Body Mallard Harvester
This is a fully flocked full body mallard option that has been created in a one piece design that is easy to handle without having to worry about pieces coming apart. They are extremely portable and have proven to be very durable to give you years of good service. The fully flocked body adds greatly to their realistic appearance and they stand out nicely to help attract ducks to the immediate range.
For more information about these and other decoys visit the Avery Outdoors website.
Aero Drop Zone Canada Goose
The Aero Drop Zone decoys are life-like in appearance and will prove to be very durable for use in the field. They are custom individually hand painted and are given layers of true-tone paint with a two coat sealer. The decoys are plastic and flexible to give them durability. They have flocked heads and tails and the flocking is UV reflective in the same way that real feathers are. They are one piece apparatus and they are held firmly by a triangle shaped base. You can get them from the manufacturer in packs of 4, 1 dozen or 1 and a half dozen.
For more information about these and other decoys visit the Aero Outdoors website.
Pros and Cons of Fully Flocked Decoys
There is quite a bit of debate among hunters as to whether fully flocked decoys are worth the trouble and expense. Some, who have enjoyed success with them, sing their praises and swear by their worth while those who have not are a little less enthusiastic.
Listed below are the positive and negative thoughts and attitudes towards flocked decoys.
They look a lot more real than hard-shelled plastic decoys
They stand out better and are well suited when you are running a smaller spread in pot holes and timber hollows
They do not give as much shine which is a great thing for field hunting
There is a great deal of difference is appearance on the water between fully flocked and non-flocked decoys
They are significantly more expensive than the other decoys types which becomes even more significant if you are running a large spread
You have to take more care with them when moving them and storing them so the flocking does not rub off
They are more difficult to clean, particularly when they have fallen over and have become muddy
The formation of ice on the body of the decoy is very difficult to remove. You have to wait until the ice thaws before the decoy can be cleaned off
Custom Fully Flocked Decoys
Although it is possible to buy a pack of decoys that have already been flocked, they can be expensive and you may not wish to shell out for a completely new set.
Instead you may wish to turn your previously used painted decoys into one that is fully flocked. There are a number of companies who can take your full body painted decoys and put them through a flocking process to turn them into a fuzzy version.
Take a look at some of the websites of the following companies who will perform this job for you.
Flocking Kits – Flock Your Decoys Yourself
There is another option for hunters who would prefer not to go to the expense of buying pre-flocked decoys or getting them done by someone else and that is to do it yourself.
Flocking kits are widely available and if you have the time and just a little bit of expertise, you can turn your unflocked decoys into good quality flocked decoys. There is a wide range of very high quality duck decoy kits that can get you started at very low expense.
There are duck flocking kits and goose flocking kits available from a number of companies and these kits may enable you to flock the heads or the substantial areas of the body.
As an example, from Fowl Flocker you can buy Mallard Flocking Kits for the head, highlighted body parts or head, highlights and breast, Pintail Flocking Kits and Drake Blue Bill Flocking Kits. The company also provides flocking kits for Canada Geese, Snow and Blue Geese and Specklebelly Geese.
How To Clean Fully Flocked Decoys
One of the most often cited downsides to using fully flocked decoys is the difficulty in cleaning them after use. This doesn’t only include mud and water that may be clinging to the flocked surface but also snow and ice that tends to hang on grimly.
The following cleaning tips have been sourced from hunters who have had the experience of coming home with particularly grubby decoys.
Flocked decoys, no matter whether they are just the heads or the entire body, require specialized cleaning treatment.
No Detergents Required
For starters, you shouldn’t use the liquid cleaner or detergent that you might use on your plastic decoys. Instead, if you want to remove mud and dirt you should simply use a soft bristle brush. If they’re not overly dirty and you have an air compressor at your disposal you can simply blow dry them clean.
The decoys that are left out on the water for the duration of the season, or a good portion of it, are going to be affected for more significantly than those that are brought in every day. As they become more affected the chances are they are going to start fading and will need some refurbishment to refresh their colors.
Bag 'Em and Let Them Dry
When you have brought them in at the end of the day put them in slotted bags so they don’t rub and scrape together. Try to take them out of the bag when you arrive home, particularly if they are wet. You want the mud to completely dry out and then you can use a soft brush to clean them off.
In between seasons you should do a full inventory of your flocked decoys and check for flocking that needs to be repaired. The individual decoys cost a little bit more than the standard decoys and so the smaller investment of a flocking kit is worthwhile.
There are a few different companies, such as Avery and Aero, who offer very good kits and a small outlay of around $30 can bring your decoys back to life and will prolong their life for many years.
If you want to clean the snow and ice from your flocked decoys your best option is to take them in, wait for them to thaw out and simply let the ice or snow melt away.