Like most of you, I started my duck hunting career using any decoy I could get my hands on with the money I had in my pocket. Hand me down decoys, yard sale specials and flea market deals is what I relied on to drive my passion for duck hunting. Only in the past 5 years have I been able to start buying decoys that, up until now, I’ve only seen my mentors use. Due to the stories I’ve heard and hunting over them a couple times, I decided I was going to try floaters from G&H Decoys out of Henryetta OK.
I really wanted a decoy that would hunt as hard as I do so I was looking forward to putting these Mallard decoys to the test. Most years, I put in 70-75 hunts. I would say that 75% of those hunts are on water of some kind and about 60% of those water hunts are out of my 18’ flat bottom aluminum boat. I also Texas rig all my floaters and if I’m hunting out of my boat, my decoys DO NOT get bagged up. They get drug in and out of that boat by the lines and tossed into the set. These decoys get beat to death day in and day out during the season. I’ve now completed my 4th season with them.
In Oklahoma, I hunt the full spectrum of weather and temperatures from early September Teal to late January Mallards. There are days I hunt in 70-75 degree weather and I don’t see any kind of durability or deformation issued in the body, heads or keels. I also hunt in the opposite extreme during the late season and I’ve not had one of these decoys crack in the beak, head, body or keel.
Paint scheme and adhesion
I will say right now that I do not think that these decoys are the best looking decoy on the market OUT OF THE BOX, however the paint scheme on the G&H Mallards is very realistic. I’ve been to the G&H factory in Henryetta and they are hand painted by a real human being, every one of them. They use a non-glare paint as well. But before they are painted, the molded plastic body is dipped into a special treatment which helps the paint adhere to the plastic. Of course, they wouldn’t enlighten me on this process any more than what I just explained. I’m sure there are much “fancier” looking decoys on the market but, like I said before, I’ve beat these things up and, other than a few nicks and scratches here and there, they pretty much look like they just come out of the box after years of use and abuse.
Features and Points of Interest
There are a few things that make these decoys stand out against the competition in my opinion:
- Realistic looking acrylic eyes – I’ve noticed most decoys on the market have eyes that are just molded with plastic. G&H actually has an acrylic eye the pops into the “socket” and adds to the realism. I have lost a few eyes but you can get extras if needed and they are easy to replace
- Recessed bottom – The G&H decoy has a unique “cupped” bottom. On choppy water, most flat bottom decoys will sort of bob around side to side but the cupped bottom of the G&H creates a vacuum and holds it lower in the water so it rides fore and aft
- Front and rear tie offs – Out of every dozen decoys that I rig, I will rig 4 of those from the rear of the decoy to give my spread a more realistic look to incoming birds. G&H has holes in the keels on the front and rear so you can rig them however you want
Price point comparison
G&H Decoys are not the least expensive or the most expensive floating decoys on the market. They seem to be right in the middle when it comes to full retail price. I tried to stay away from any flocked decoys in doing my comparisons. Using multiple websites including manufacture direct pricing, prices of similar magnum sized Mallard decoys ranged from $100 to $180 per dozen. The G&H Magnum Swivel Mallard Decoy (Item# M4M) is retail priced from the manufacturer at $150.00 per dozen before tax or shipping.
Even though the G&H Mallard decoys may not be the best looking decoy out of the box, in my opinion, they are the best value for the hard working duck hunter. The value really comes when you think about the longevity that you will be hunting over these decoys compared to others on the market. They are proven duck killers not only by my team but by the many guide services and hard core hunters out there chasing the migration. My recommendation is to get your hands on a dozen or two and try them out for a couple years. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Best part is, they are all MADE IN THE USA!
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