If you're a passionate waterfowler looking to improve your ground, you know the importance of choosing quality gear, mastering the art of decoy rigging, and employing strategic approaches. A quality setup and strategy can make or break how waterfowl interact with your decoys, and the right equipment can extend the time you can sit comfortably in different types of weather.
Waterfowl hunters at Whitetail Properties Real Estate rely on Rig ‘Em Right Outdoors gear to make their hunts as successful–and as comfortable–as possible. We spoke with the Founder and Owner of Rig ‘Em Right, Matthew Cagle, friend and avid waterfowl hunter, as well as Whitetail Properties Co-Owner Wes McConnell, to learn more about the key strategies and essential waterfowl gear you need for a successful season
Creating a Solid Rigging Setup: Waterfowl Decoys Made Easy
Whether you’re heading out in October or January, it’s essential to be prepared for a variety of situations, weather patterns, and bird behaviors. For Wes McConnell, who has spent over thirty years hunting southern sloughs, marshes, and backwaters (long before he was hunting whitetails), reliable gear with a tried and true rigging setup is key.
“When I found out that we had an opportunity to work with Rig ‘em Right, I was really excited because of how they have changed the decoy industry,” said McConnell. In life, I’m always looking for a way to be more efficient and effective. And that is exactly what Rig ‘Em Right has created - an easy button of sorts for waterfowl decoys. When it comes to what is the best rigging, while the answer really depends on your hunting situation, all environments benefit from no tangle line with properly sized weights and tough swivels. Those elements are a constant throughout all situations for me.”
Matthew Cagle created Rig ‘Em Right to meet this very challenge. “I grew up having to use the absolute worst hunting gear available, most of which wasn’t actually hunting gear. I’ve been thinking about how to make stuff work well for a duck hunter for a long time,” says Matthew.
He’s led the company to take bold steps in crafting high-performance, high-quality waterfowl gear that’s easy to use, and it shows in the payoff.
A Foundation to Decoy Rigging
Properly rigged decoys create a realistic and enticing spread that attracts waterfowl, while misplaced or mismanaged decoys can be spotted by fowl from a mile away, causing them to steer clear of your hunting grounds–and you.
Anchor placement plays a vital role in stabilizing and positioning your decoys. Experimenting with different lengths and positions after spending time observing the fowl in your area is a good strategy to use. Watch for movement, and learn how to replicate this with jerk cord or jerk rigging.
Using lines, such as decoy cords or retriever lines, can also add movement and realism to your decoys; attaching lines to the keels or weighted bases allows them to naturally drift and sway with the wind and water currents. Keep spacing in mind; don’t commit to only solo birds or only large groups. Instead, experiment with the combination of placements and spacing that works for your location and target species.
With a solid strategy in mind, it’s time to ensure that your gear is up to the challenge.
Nine Essential Pieces of Waterfowl Gear for a Successful Waterfowl Hunt
“Waterfowling is very gear-intensive,” says Matthew, “so narrowing it down to one or two essential pieces is tough.” Nevertheless, Matthew and Wes agree on nine essential pieces of waterfowl gear to put your hunting strategy to work.
1. Gun & Ammo with Gun Case
Protect your gun and ammo from the elements with a sturdy gun case.
Without your decoys, you’re just sitting outdoors. Luring ducks into range requires you to take good care of your decoys, and carrying a bag that fits a variety of fowl shapes and sizes allows you to adapt your gear to your hunting location and specific fowl.
“We make rigging to fit any-and-all situations a duck hunter would face,” says Matthew. “From deepwater rigs and longlines to shallow water rigs for 12” deep rice fields. Our most popular rigs are definitely any of our pre-rigged Original Rig’Em Right or Texas Rigs, available in a multitude of length and weight options.”
4. Jerk Cord
“A lot of folks know Rig ‘Em Right for their decoy rigging,” shares Wes, “But they have a lot more to offer the avid waterfowler, although my most crucial piece of gear is their jerk cord. It’s helped me kill more birds than any other piece of equipment I own.” The jerk cord is a game-changer created to mimic realistic movement for up to four decoys.
Without reliable anchors, even the best-placed decoy spread will drift too much, causing you to lose your edge. Invest in anchors that allow you to make quick and easy adjustments to shift your spread.
Keep your gear, coffee mug, and hand warmers protected, organized, and easily accessible. Look for a blind bag or backpack with padded shoulder straps, quick-access pockets, and back support.
7. Hunting chair
When you’re spending hours waiting for the perfect shot, especially in cold weather, you want a hunting chair that provides comfort without being too heavy to haul. The Hydeout Chair Collection from Rig ‘Em Right takes you from your blind into the field with ease.
For Wes McConnell, the decision is simple when it comes to choosing the gear that will provide the most successful and enjoyable hunt.
“Rig ‘Em Right gear touches nearly everything I use. My decoys have their rigging, my gun’s in their case, my shells are in their bag, ducks are hanging on their strap, and on a cold day, even my dog is wearing their dog vest, which is pretty key for my favorite hunting partner. But the thing that saves me the most time and energy is their rigging on my decoys. Over my 30-plus years of waterfowling, decoy rigging has come a long way. It used to be tedious work. From setting up decoys before the season to putting them out every hunt–and keeping line from tangling–it used to be a miserable experience. Now, it’s usually just another enjoyable part of the hunt.”
Matthew invites anyone interested in learning more about the best waterfowl gear to reach out online, although as a small family-owned business, he says, “We still love going to shows and meeting customers. We really prefer to meet folks out and about at store events and shows.”
Visit the Rig ‘Em Right website to complete your waterfowl gear checklist.