• Aaron Yetter

Sky view on decoys: Yetter blog

Here is Aaron Yetter's latest blog entry from his aerial surveys. It has an interesting thought on decoy spreads, from the perspective of ducks (or someone flying an aerial survey).

He does the aerial surveys for the Illinois Natural History Survey along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

Survey numbers are posted at

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources links the surveys on their site at

Here is Yetter's latest blog:

November 9th, 2015 – Aerial Waterfowl Inventory Blog

We flew the waterfowl survey on Monday, November 9th ahead of the windy weather system

that blew through later in the week. Duck numbers along the Illinois River were down slightly

(6%) from the previous week but were right at the 10-yr average totaling 283,315 ducks.

We lost some of those fair weather ducks including northern pintails which dropped nearly

40%, and over 110,000 American coots headed south over the weekend. However, we

picked up a few diving ducks, especially ring-necked ducks, from the previous week.

Duck abundance (321,140) along the Mississippi River increased about 27% and was right

at the 10-yr average. Diving ducks were starting to build on Pool 19 from Keokuk

to Fort Madison. And, duck numbers (68,000) more than doubled at the Clarence Cannon

National Wildlife Refuge near Annada, MO. For more information on the waterfowl surveys,

check out our web page at

Last week’s blog photo got considerable attention, and one duck hunter commented that he

liked the aerial perspective of the duck distribution in the photo. My tip for the week is to

evaluate your decoy spread. Sometimes ducks distribute themselves evenly in wetlands

and around beaver lodges (aka…duck blinds), but in many instances, I observe dabbling

ducks concentrating along the perimeter of a wetland. They prefer to feed in the

very shallow water along the wetland edge and form dense clusters of birds. The

accompanying photo illustrates my point. If you have the resources to “black-stack”

your decoys like the mallards, greenwings, and gadwall in the photo, you may just increase

the number of birds in your daily bag!

Be safe and happy hunting! Stay tuned for more updates next week…….

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