If you have hunted as long as I have, you pick up a few things along the way. For example, hunting in the first half of the season for mallards can be tricky if you do not pay attention to your decoy spread.
I say this because in November and December, mallards have not paired up yet. Have you ever had a group working and you notice that they are all hens? Yes, the hens and drakes do not begin pairing up until the latter part of the season. So mixing hens and drakes together is a dead giveaway to the ducks flying overhead. In November and December I leave the hens at home and double up on the greenheads. You don't want to shoot the hens anyway, right? In January you can begin to mix in a few Susies into the bunch for a more realistic spread.
And don't be shy to place a few other species of ducks off your main spread. I mix in a few widgeon and pintail off of each end to add realism. Just last week two bull sprigs buzzed my pintail dekes and caught me off guard, so be ready. Some will even mix in a few coot off to one side.
Experiment and have some fun in the meantime.
Larry Lauck, Treasurer
Lone Star Hunting Retriever Club
Field Expert, Sporting Dog Team
Drake Waterfowl Products, Inc.