However with a quick bath of soap and clean water the debris came right off and they didn’t look too much worse the wear. Our conclusion, were the decoys durable- functionally absolutely. I had no concern that the high density foam decoys could hold up to any hunting condition but it is the high end custom finish on the decoys that concerned me. Thus I would not recommend buying even a small number of the decoys if they were not treated like an investment and were just thrown in with the rest of the decoys spread in a standard decoy bag and tossed around. The reason being, you can buy foam filled decoys for a lot cheaper that $40 a piece. What you are investing in with the Spirit Water Decoys is the custom painted and fully flocked finish that adds to the realism of the decoys and gives the hunter a major advantage over his adversary and competition.
So the next step was to make sure the finish is as compelling to the ducks as advertised. To be assured of this we needed to get our hands on a real spread. We ordered 2 dozen mallards, 8 redheads and 4 canvasbacks. We put the 3 dozen brand new Spirit water Decoys into 12 slot zipper top bags to ensure the finish would stay new for years to come, a small added investment. We actually found that it is easier to transport the decoys in the boat with the were in the individual slotted bags rather than putting them in a big jumbled bag and kept the boat much more organized.
We took the new spread up to The North Platte River in Nebraska. We would be hunting late season, wary Mallards who had been in the area for quite some time and were starting to get stale to our permanent blind set up along the river. Even though this scenario did not give us a fair test on the diver decoys as we so 100% puddle ducks on this hunt, we were able to get a very good feel as to how well a population of hard hunted, stale, late season mallards and widgeon would react to the new decoy spread. We mixed in some old G and H plastic mallard decoys as well but segmented them across the river, while placing the Spirit Water spread on the bank closest to the blind. We were also hunting a no wind day as well. Right off the bat we had a flock of over 20 mallards drop right into the spread on our side of the bank and we dropped 5 mallards in the first volley, with only one cripple. They came in tight. Over the next 2 hours we had flock after flock of late season northern Mallards work the river. Not every flock committed to the spread but we had numerous big flocks of mallards work right into the holey hole at less than 15 yards over and over until we filled out on a 3 man limit of 5 mallards per hunter and one widgeon per hunter. Being that the birds finished so well we were able to harvest ALL Greenheads and did not lose a bird all day!
Overall we felt that the added realism that the Spirit Water Decoys brought to the hunt was a major factor in our success. Again being set up in location where there are birds as well as being hidden from the birds are both major factors that need to be taken into consideration, as well as the caliber and amount of calling used but the added value brought to the table by upgrading to the Spirit Water spread is one component of the hunt that is controllable on each hunt and gives the hunter a definite advantage that we feel is well worth the investment.
We understand that these decoys are not for everybody. But time is valuable, and it is hard to put a price tag on a lifelong memory that may not have happened hunting over an inferior decoys spread, in our opinion.