The mirror-like water you see on those calm, still days might make for some neat pictures, but it is an unpleasant sight for duck hunters. Sit and watch a group of ducks on the water and you will always see movement, whether it is a splash of water or the flutter of a wing. Even early season ducks can become wary when they fly over a lifeless decoy spread. A little breeze can be a huge help to move the decoys around and create some ripples on the water, but we don’t have time to wait for the perfect weather. If you are tired of watching ducks circle your decoys and leave, look at some of these best motion duck decoys in 2023.
Short On Time? Here Is The Bullet List
- Non-Powered Motion Decoy: Mossy Oak Jerk Rig Kit
- Gimmick Motion Decoy: Mojo Flock A Flicker
- Spinning Wing Decoy: Mojo King Mallard
- Water Motion Decoy: Higdon Outdoors XS Pulsator Mallard Drake
- Wind Activated Motion Decoy: Sillosocks Sentry Mallard Duck Windsock Decoys
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Different Types of Motion Decoys
Today’s duck hunters have an endless number of options to choose from when looking for ways to create motion. You are no longer limited to tossing rocks or splashing water with your feet. For the beginner who is looking to get started, all of the different methods can be a little confusing. Certainly, some methods will be better suited for a particular hunting style than others. Let’s take a look at some of the different ways decoys are used to create motion.
Spinning Wing Decoys
Spinning wing decoys have revolutionized the way we hunt ducks today. They work by imitating the wings of a landing duck. Scanning across a public marsh, it is easy to see why these decoys are so effective at drawing the attention of ducks. The flash of the wings from hunters spinning wing decoys sticks out immediately. This type of motion does not help stir up the water on those windless days, but it is still a great way to get ducks to come take a look at your spread. Spinning wing decoys are also very effective when hunting ducks in the fields. If you are looking to get your first motion decoy, I would certainly recommend you consider purchasing a spinning wing decoy. They are not necessary to kill ducks, but they do make a difference; especially if you hunt public land with a lot of competition.
When hunting the public marshes around my area, I almost always have a spinning wing decoy with me for the first half of the year. We have an early teal hunting season, and a lot of times the teal practically land on top of the decoy. However, about mid-way through the season, I stop putting it out. The spinning wing decoys have a tendency to flare wary birds late in the season. They still work to pull the attention of the ducks, but as they get closer they may flare, or land wide of the decoys. There are decoys that have remote controls to shut them off, and that is a great option for late in the season.
Water Motion Decoys
Water motion decoys are designed to create movement on the water itself. There are a lot of different varieties, but in the end, the goal is always the same. Stir up the water so it looks like live ducks are using it. Water motion decoys do not usually attract ducks from a long distance away, but they work very well for pulling in those mid-range ducks and getting them to finish in the decoys.
Most hunters dislike the windless and calm days but I look forward to them. When everybody else has a decoy spread that is lifeless and dead, the ducks work my spread much better when I have decoys that create water motion. Additionally, the movement of the water sticks out a lot more when the rest of the water looks like a mirror. It can be frustrating trying to hunt ducks with no movement in the decoys. Even fresh birds tend to act stale and are difficult to decoy. But with water motion decoys, you can consistently finish ducks regardless of the wind.
Decoy movement is going to be similar to water motion. The difference is that the main purpose of this style of decoy is to physically move the decoy itself. These decoys will create ripples on the water when they move around, but usually, the decoy itself is powered. Whereas water motion decoys will move other decoys because of the ripples they create on the water. Both of these styles essentially accomplish the same thing, they just do it in a different manner.
Depending on how you hunt, one style may work better for you than the other. For example, you can get movement from a decoy that has a paddle attached to it that spins. This propels the decoy around. However, if you hunt in water that has a lot of vegetation, the paddles can get hung up, so that might not be the best solution for you. But if you hunt in open water, that style of decoy can be very effective as it moves the decoy around and kicks up water from the paddles.
The Best Motion Duck Decoys on the Market in 2023
Best Non-Powered Motion Decoy:
The Mossy Oak jerk rig is my all-time favorite way to create motion on the water. It works by using a bungee cord attached to a grappling anchor. Then there is 100” of nylon line with four swivels. Simply clip your decoys to the swivels and deploy the line and anchor. With your decoys in the water, pull on the line to stretch the bungee, then release. This will pull your decoys towards you and then they will spring back.
When ducks are a long way off, I like to really yank on the jerk rig to make the decoys thrash around. This creates a lot of motion on the water and helps get the other decoys moving. The closer the ducks come, the more I tone it down. I will pull in three to four feet of line, and then slowly release it as the ducks are flying over the top of the spread. This prevents me from making a lot of extra movement from the blind and lets the decoys drift back in a very realistic manner. Then, when they have their backs turned to circle, I will pull in the cord quickly to create a sharp ring of ripples, and be ready to slowly release as they turn around.
It is my opinion that every duck hunter needs to have a jerk rig. They are simple and most of all, they work. There are no batteries to fail and no expensive parts to break. This kit is also small and compact which makes it easy to carry around. My first jerk rig was a DIY that worked fine but was bulky and cumbersome. After several years, I finally purchased this setup and wish I would have bought it a long time ago.
- Small and lightweight, this Jerk Rig Kit is easy to take with you every hunt.
- Can be used to create water motion and decoy motion.
- Produces natural looking movement that is very effective at drawing in wary ducks.
- This is not a battery operated device that you can turn on and forget about.
- It will be difficult to use this if you use both hands to call ducks.
- Because of the grappling anchor, this is recommended for water depths of 5’ or less.
Best Gimmick Motion Decoy:
The Mojo Flock A Flickers come as a package of six vertical mojo wings that are pre-programmed with on/off timers. If you spread these out throughout your decoys, you will get the attention drawing flash much like a traditional spinning wing decoy, but it is random which makes it look more realistic. As the ducks circle your decoys, instead of having one spinning wing decoy to key in on, they will see periodic flashes throughout your entire spread.
As duck hunters, we love the new gear that promises to help us kill more ducks. There are a lot of exciting and innovating products available, and sometimes it can be tough to distinguish between products that are marketed towards tricking the hunter more so than tricking the ducks. These Mojo Flock A Flickers lie somewhere in-between. I purchased these with high hopes that late in the season, they would have the effectiveness of a regular spinning wing decoy, without flaring off the ducks. And they do work. I used these for dove season and throughout duck season and would say they definitely helped to attract ducks. The problem is that within a few months, all but two of them quit working. If you have bottomless pockets and want a competitive edge over other hunters, I would highly recommend these decoys. Just be prepared to replace them every season. For the rest of us, the Mojo Flock A Flickers are just another gimmick. Watch this video for more!
- Flock A Flickers will give you unique motion that attracts ducks without flaring them when they get close.
- They are small, lightweight, and offer easy setup and hands-free operation.
- Excellent for field hunting, and work for doves as well as ducks
- These are not durable at all and you will most likely have to replace them every season.
Best Spinning Wing Decoy:
Mojo is perhaps the most well-known motion decoy brand out there. They pioneered the spinning wing decoy and have remained innovators in the field for many years. They have numerous types and styles of motion decoys, but they recently released an exciting upgrade to their original spinning wing decoy. New for 2017, the Mojo King Mallard has some excellent features that make it the best spinning wing decoy currently available.
Most notably, the working components of the decoy are attached directly to the support pole, and the flexible decoy skin fits over them. This results in motion that is quieter and produces less vibration and wobble than standard spinning wing decoys. It also has a drop in battery and built-in remote receiver allowing you to easily turn the decoy on and off in the field as needed. This decoy features the easy to install magnetic-attached wings, and a cam lock support pole. If you want the best spinning wing decoy, look no further than the Mojo King Mallard. Watch this video for more!
- The motor and battery are attached directly to the support pole.
- Easy operation and set-up in the field.
- This is one of the pricier motion decoys available.
Best Water Motion Decoy:
The Higdon XS Pulsator is another exciting upgrade for motion decoys. What I really like about this decoy is that it has a built-in lithium-ion battery. You no longer have to carry around a separate battery box which makes it a lot more convenient to use. The decoy includes a pre-programmed timer to periodically create a spray of water. Not only does this result in great decoy motion, it also produces water motion from the pump. Additionally, the spray of water acts as an attention-grabber as ducks can see it from a good distance.
I have used a different style of Pulsator in the past and can say without a doubt that this is a more user-friendly and higher quality product. Simply plug in the cord at the bottom of the decoy and it is ready to start creating motion. The upgrade to lithium-ion batteries gives you a max run-time of seven hours and only takes three hours to charge. You can also fit a second battery in the decoy which would give you up to fourteen hours of motion. The last notable upgrade on this decoy is the pre-programmed timer, which has three pulses and then a short delay to give the best combination of water and decoy motion. If you are looking for a simple and effective way to create motion on the water during those windless days, I would highly recommend the Higdon XS Pulsator. Watch this video for more!
- The decoy comes with a pre-programmed timer
- It is easy to use and creates great motion on the water.
- With an additional battery, you can get up to fourteen hours before recharging.
- When picking up decoys, you have to time it right to avoid getting sprayed with water.
- These aren’t the most expensive motion decoys, but they certainly are not cheap, and the price starts to add up when you want to buy three or four of these for your spread.
Best Wind Activated Motion Decoy:
Whether you live in an area that does not allow battery-operated decoys or would prefer to hunt without the aid of these new motion decoys, you might be looking for the best wind-powered motion decoy. They make spinning wing decoys that are powered by wind, and they are a decent method to get motion. The problem with the wind-powered spinning wing decoy is that they are loud and require a lot of wind to work well. If you want to get great motion in your decoy spread with the help of a little wind, I would really recommend you look into windsock decoys.
These Sillosocks windsock decoys are lightweight and a breeze to set out and pick up. I like to set these up on the edge of the water, or mix them throughout my spread if I am hunting in shallow water. With a light wind, you get realistic motion as the decoys bounce around. Using these decoys, you will have better depth to your spread and more natural looking movement. While most of the motion decoys listed here are sold individually, the windsocks come in a package of twelve with eight flocked head drakes and four hens.
- With a light breeze, these decoys will give you excellent realistic motion.
- Great option if you are looking to add full bodies to your decoy spread.
- These are held in by stakes so they only work in shallow water or dry ground.
Best Motion Duck Decoys Final Thoughts
Duck hunters love nasty weather. The birds seem eager to land in the decoys instead of viewing them with suspicion. With the right motion duck decoys, you can achieve these same results even on the windless and calm days. I only had to go on a few disappointing duck hunts before I realized the importance of having motion in the decoys. No matter how you hunt, whether from the field, over large bodies of water, or shallow marshes, you can find a motion decoy that works well for your situation. These are truly some of the best motion decoys available on the market currently, and I believe you will find more success adding any of them to your spread. If you are looking to buy your first motion decoy, I would suggest checking out the Mojo King Mallard or the Higdon XS Pulsator. Both of those decoys, when used in the right situation, can dramatically affect the final outcomes of a hunt. But if you are on a budget, you simply cannot go wrong with a jerk rig. Make one yourself or buy the compact kit, but don’t make the mistake of going another hunt without adding one of the best motion duck decoys to your spread.
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Mark is dedicated to improving his skills and prides himself in putting in the time and effort to be successful in the field. During the fall and winter he is focused on waterfowl hunting and will hunt every chance he has. He has a simplistic hunting style, often using only a handful of duck decoys over an ultra-low profile blind. When waterfowl season closes, you can find him fishing, camping, or at the shooting range preparing for 3 gun and IPSC competitions. Mark is passionate about hunting and the outdoors, and loves helping others get involved.