It doesn’t matter if you are an amateur duck hunter or a seasoned pro; you already know that having some realistic duck decoys can make your hunting trips more successful. You can purchase duck decoys at most sporting good stores, but, if you are handy with a carving knife, you can make your own too.
To make a hand-carved decoy, the project requires a lot of time, patience and skill. Carving out a chunk of wood to make it look like a realistic Mallard or Wood Duck, for example, is not as easy as it might sound. Carving duck decoys began as an art form many decades ago with the Indians. Today, master carvers spend many, many hours in order to complete one decoy so that it’s as realistic as it can possibly be, including carving in the intricate feathers. Then, the decoy is painted and sealed, and that takes several more hours of labor.
An easier route for do-it-yourselfers to take is to carve your own duck decoys out of a block of black or tan cork instead. Basically, you follow a pattern to carve out the necessary parts. Then, the head of the decoy and the keel are attached to the body. Finally, the entire duck decoy is sealed and textured.
Undoubtedly the easiest way to make your own duck decoy, though, is to make it by using foam.
This type of decoy is a fairly durable, buoyed version of the real thing. Foam is as easy to paint as cork or wood, and it is absolutely unsinkable in the water.
The first step in making a duck decoy out of foam is to purchase an aluminum, duck-shaped mold from your local sporting good store. If you can’t find it there, then perform a search on the Internet in order to find some suppliers. Most molds are made so that the head and the body of the decoy are formed separately, then assembled later. The best molds can be used with a tool that is purchased separately. This tool, called a “mold extractor” allows you to turn it into the mold so that the formed pieces are pushed out. You will also need some two-part urethane foam, as this material makes the best decoys. This urethane foam is much safer to use, and, it comes in different colors.
The second step is to wipe out the inside of the molds. Then, lightly coat the inside of the molds with a good quality liquid car wax. This will help the decoy come out of the mold easier. Make sure that you get the wax inside all of the cracks and the crevices. A cotton swab might be helpful in this step as long as you don’t leave blobs of wax in the mold. Then, allow the liquid car wax to dry for a few minutes.
The third step is to put on protective eyewear as well as some waterproof gloves. Then, follow the manufacturer’s directions on the urethane foam container in order to achieve the best results. Basically, though, you will measure out equal portions of both parts of the foam. Use an old plastic container for this purpose. Then, mix the two parts together thoroughly. Immediately pour the foam into the molds and place the top halves on. Use several “C” clamps to hold the halves of the molds together. Mix up more of the urethane foam, if needed, to fill all of the molds.
The fourth step is to wait the required amount of time (according to the manufacturer’s directions), then remove the clamp from the molds. Use the mold extractor or a large – bladed screw driver to remove the parts of the decoy from the molds.
The fifth step is to attach the keels with long screws. Then, attach the heads of the decoys to the bodies by using additional long screws. Finally, paint the decoys to make them look realistic.The fifth step