painting decoy question


Active Member
hello everyone i need to touch up my mallard decoys and just wondering what the best paint to use. if anyone has done this recently, any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. hunting season is just around the corner and starting to get the itch.

thanks in advance

jeff black
There are alot of different decoy paints on the market . Depends on what kind of decoys you have Cabelas carries a few . BUT and this is just "MY TWO CENTS " most of the decoys i have seen guys repaint look like Tammy Fay Baker. They end up very shiny i watched a guy painting his decoys in the line up once and the green head looked like a strobe light we rubbed some sand on the head and that dulled it down a bit . not so bad on a cloudy day but any sun and the birds will flare like there is no tomorrow . the only tip i can give if you are going to attempt it is to keep the colours very very dull . I dont want to sound like iam rich and i know decoys are expensive but i hunt alot of days during the season and i upgrade my decoys about every three seasons not all at once just a rotation of about twelve a year , twelve new decoys in and twelve decoys out . Remember mallards are smart not dumb as hammers like bills and reds that some guys on here like to shoot :) If you want to be sucsessful and not shut out again go with qaulity not quantity a small number of good looking decoys are better than a pond full of shiny reflective decoys. Sorry that this is not really a tip about painting and i admitt i have seen a few repainted decoys that look good .

Krylon makes a spray on clear matte finish that helps reduce glare and gloss. It really helps to use a matte paint in the first place.

Probably Joe Kish an award winning duck carver would be able to give the best answer to that question but this is what I use; Tamiya XF-4 is a yellow/green for the bills, XF-8 is flat blue for the wing patch,XF-9 is hull red for the breast. For the beak on BlueBills I use XF-23 and for Black ducks I use XF-10. These are all acrylic paints in "flat" made by Tamiya and can be found at hobby shops. They have a nice orange for feet but I'm out of that right now and can't remember the number. To touch up the eyes I use nail polish Gloss black,yellow or red depending on the bird. Any flat white acrylic latex will work too ! Mallard heads can be a PITA ! I've tried John Deere Green mixed with a bit of flat black. For Cans and Redheads I mix mostly red primer with a bit of black and a bit of fire engine red.

The most important thing is to clean the dekes really well so the paint sticks. I use TSP and a soft scrub brush,rinse well and totally dry. Also the newly painted dekes may appear shiney at first but leave them outside to "weather" a bit and that will help dull them down or try those "matte" sprays as I hear it helps protect the paint as well as tone it down.
I cant believe you let my dig at diver shooters go by without some kind of come back !!

You said "Remember mallards are smart not dumb as hammers like bills and reds that some guys on here like to shoot." I don't see "the dig" ? Unless you really meant to say "diver hunters are as dumb as hammers" ? LMAO !

Actually that would apply to all duckhunters...really ,who in their right mind gets up at an ungodly hour in the morning to go out in who knows what kind of inclement weather for a chance[just a chance,mind you] to possibly shoot a duck that they could buy a whole lot cheaper than what it cost him in time,equipment,sleep and probably blood,sweat and tears ?

Maybe I should change my "handle" to Sledge Hammer or Ball(Bald?)Peen? ROTFLMAO !!!
I thought about replying to the diver comment but then it is generally true. Canvasbacks are as good eating as any other duck and better than many. Too bad we don't get to shoot many in the bay. I have always had better luck hunting them elsewhere.

guys iam not talking about eating . I too would take a can or a redhead right off the bbq over a mallard anyday .
My point is you can sit on a lawnchair on the beach and shoot Redheads :)
And Dave you might agree my choice for best bird right off the bbq is a good prairie crane

"My point is you can sit on a lawnchair on the beach and shoot Redheads"

Just not the beach at Long Point. The cottagers will put the run on you. LOL

No doubt that mallards and blacks challenge us to be better hunters.

Archer; In the old days( early 50's ?) before the new Prov.Park my Dad and his gang would lay on the edge of the dunes and blast away as the Redheads came in off the lake.
Hey, Kicks -- good to see that you do have your priorities straight when it comes to cooking / eating ducks and, for sure, you're right about the grain-fed cranes from Prairie Canada.

But, anyone with a dozen dekes and a wooden flute can kill mudducks, er, greenheads just about anywhere, but to be a successful diver hunter requires way more gear and knowledge of where to set-up because if you're in the "wrong spot", you're euchred. It's much easier to get a mudduck to go where it wasn't planning to go than it is for a diving duck. And if you've hunted Prairie Canada, then you've seen plenty of mallards that are dumber than a stump.
Well Dave
I dont agree with all youre comments about mallards LOL . Where to set up can be just as important for mallards as it is for divers .And i have done alot of hunting out west and i agree in southern ontario we "Hunt" ducks out west you "Shoot" ducks out west when you shoot divers the flock comes in you knock 6 or 7 down they go out over the bay turn around and come back in . And the mallards come in 200 hundred at a time . The only birds with any smarts out there are the snows and they seem to be getting smarter every year .It is alot more challanging and fun to shoot either divers or puddle ducks where there is sustained hunting pressure .

I think that you've identified a major difference between divers and mallards at LP, Glenn, i.e., except for opening day, we don't have much chance to hunt naive Mallards because even most migrants have been hunted / shot at before they arrive. Divers, however, come from the prairies where virtually no one hunts them, so when they arrive here after a non-stop flight, most of the young birds have never seen a decoy or been shot at.

Oh, and about painting decoys -- it sure feels good when you're finished!

Is that your younger brother Dave ?
Do you still have all those dekes ? I guess they collect dust mostly now not birds or have you sent them to Texas and they don't have to endure our weather anymore!
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