I've hunted with a dozen teal decoys for about 10 years now and I agree the teal will go directly to them. Try this, during the early part of the season keep the dozen decoys away from the mallards (but of course within shooting distance), then as the season progresses move them closer to the mallards. I never fully integrate them together but I find 9 out of 10 times the teal I shoot will be over the teal dekes. Good luck.
Especially toward the end of the season, I will leave most of my mallard dekes at home and bring out a dozen teal, 3 or 4 mallards, and a few sprig. It seems to work pretty well on the refuge when every other spread is exactly the same (1 dozen mallard,1 dozen sprig). Change your spread up, and shoot those little teal when they wing in...they are the best eating of the bunch (IMHO).
I go one step further with the decoy spread. Spend a little time at the refuge or any concentration of ducks and you NEVER see them seperated totally by species. On the refuges I use a dozen teal, four shovelers, four cans, four widgeon, and six of both mallards and sprig. I place the cans off by themselves, and jumble the rest. Since the teal are little I can get all of this in my bag. I honestly believe that the different shapes and colors makes the spread look more lifelike. Works for me....
Thanks for all of the great advice on those teal decoys. I hunt mendota and the kings river out of Lemoore and shoot a lot of teal every year. when you guys see the teal working out in the distance what call do you guys use? I use a "wingsetter whistle" and an "ol' raspy" duck commander.
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I use an Acme Thunderer whistle for teal (and widgeon). Sounds exactly right for the teal. I chip out the ball in the whistle and roll my tongue when calling, similar to a sprig whistle. I'm sure I drive nearby hunters crazy with my constant calling in the early morning, but it really works.
I use both a Maurillo and Wingsetter, and try the mallard call if the whistling isn't working. MQ's post reminds me of a story I was told by my father. Apparently, when I was real little, I got a red and white plastic whistle for Christmas. Well, my dad heard the thing, and thought it sounded an awful lot like a teal, so he took it with him the next week to Volta. He said that the teal were just dive-bombing him, and he limited out on them quickly. I sure wish I had that whistle.
One day I had a little teal decoy come drifting into my mallards and sprig. It had a good growth of algae on it, and no one else was in the pond, so I picked it up and brought it home.
Now whenever I set out my decoys, I always drop the little teal about ten or fifteen yards off my mallards, all by his lonesome. I can't count the number of greenwings I've shot over that little decoy.
Sometimes I'll help out with my 7-in-1 whistle. A few trills will turn them all the way across the pond, and they zero right in on that lone decoy. Actually, that teal call is the ONLY one I have any confidence in. Can't quack a quacker worth a dang.
They are a great confedence decoy, as are coot decoys. I have a bunch of old Victor decoys that I painted black with a white bill, and as birds become waryer (is that a word???) they seem to help out.....hronk