My second oldest son, Colby is a really good wingshooter, ya, I'm probably a little biased, but he really is a great shot. With that said, ducks and geese have always eluded the lad. We can have the most amazing shoot one day, bring Colby out the next and he's like the kiss of death! NO BIRDS!
He had a great day with me yesterday. He shot this limit in a little less than two hours. He also did it with a handful of shells! I told you the boy could shoot.
As the season winds down, the birds get call shy. I try to use more widgeon, pintail and teal calls. I also use a mallard drake call and avoid any hen calls other than light quacks and feeding chuckles. Another trick that works well is the use of jerk strings on your decoys. They've been around for ever, and on days when there is little wind, they're necessary if you want birds to work.
When birds are relaxed and feeding, they move about a lot, creating ripples on the surface of the otherwise still water. Without these ripples, your spread looks totally fake and late season birds will avoid you like the plague. The jerk string I use is one I made. They're commercially available too.
I use a 2' length of 1/2" re-bar that I pound into the bottom of the pond. I bought a six foot length of bungee "rope" at my local hardware store. I made small loops at each end of the bungee. One loop goes over the re-bar. On the other loop I attach about 100 feet of nylon cord. This bungee allows you to pull and stretch the jerk string and release it, putting a lot of movement in the decoys which in turn, produces the ripples onn the surface that you need to make your spread look realistic. Along the 100' of nylon cord I put in a loop with a simple over hand knot about every six or eight feet. I use the loops to attach my decoys. I usually just use the loops to make a noose that I place around the necks of my decoys. Some guys attach large snaps that allow them to attach the decoys by the keel. Either way works fine. I usually have four to six dekes attached to my jerk strings. I use a jerk string for each hunter I have in the blind. It takes some extra time in the set-up before shoot time starts, but it makes a HUGE difference in your success.
Another jerk-string that I use is attached to a single "tip-up" type decoy. I have mallard tip-ups and goose floater tip-ups. This set up has a heavy lead weight (I use a 64 oz. sinker I use for sturgeon fishing on the Columbia for mine) I zip-tie a small pulley to the sinker and run my jerk string through the pulley. This allows the jerk string to move a lot more efficiently from the "anchor" and the decoy.
As the season winds down and the birds get tougher and smarter, use less calling. When you have to call, use calls that the birds don't hear coming out of every other blind. Most importantly, get some movement in your spread if you want to shoot limits consistently.