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Successful goose hunters recommend that you spread your decoys in one of three patterns. Place your decoys in a "V" pattern, "U" pattern or a "J" pattern. These are the basic patterns and they work. The opening of each pattern should face the wind. The point of the "V" or turn of the "U" should be into the wind. The opening of the "U" or "V" will be the landing zone for most of the birds. Make sure your decoys are facing different directions so the birds see the spread of your decoys from all directions. The birds will land into the wind so more of your decoys should be broadside to the wind. The general guidelines suggest 50% of your decoys be broadside to the wind, 30% at 45 degrees to the wind and the rest parallel to the wind.

Most hunters spread their decoys three to ten feet apart. Individual birds in family groups will stay closer together while different family groups stay farther apart. To understand how flying birds see decoys, place one decoy on the ground and walk around it from 100 feet away. You will notice that the decoys do not completely disappear until you are looking directly at the decoy's edge. It is the size change, appearing and disappearing that gives the decoys the illusion of movement to circling birds. Movement in your decoy spread is critical because live birds on the ground move. Below you will find suggested patterns.

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/ V \ | U | J |