Official Product Review Score: 27 / 30 "A Rating"
- Functionality 4 / 5
- Durability 5 / 5
- Effectiveness 5 / 5
- Variety 5 / 5
- Price 3 / 5
- Overall Product Satisfaction 5 / 5
A. Functionality -
4 / 5
In field testing the original models vs. the new style of the Dave Smith Decoys using the A.C.E. Technology, we felt that the older version needed a lot of TLC to keep the decoys in excellent condition and the greater Canada goose decoys were hard to store and move around. With the new A.C.E. Technology, this has alleviated the essential need for double bagging the decoys and being as careful in storage and transportation, as so to not damage the detailed body paint which has made them not only effective but now very functional as well. The only minor concern for running a decent sized spread is how to transport the spread to and from the field. However we have also found that only about 2/3 of the amount of decoys is needed with the DSD decoys vs. any other brand of full body Canada goose decoys.
B. Durability -
5 / 5
The new A.C.E. Technology decoys are very durable. It is most comparable to the standard big foot decoys. They boast that the decoys can even withstand being shot at 30 yards without major damage. The paint job seems very durable and will not scratch off. The actual decoy material is lighter weight than the original model and is much more durable, again similar to a big foot type decoy. The only area of the decoy that we felt could be damaged is the flocking on the head which could be scratched off as with any other flocked head. But the realism that the flocking adds to the overall decoy is worth the added care needed and the flocking can be touched up.
C. Effectiveness -
We have field tested almost every brand field Canada goose decoys on the market over the past 10 years. In the past 3 years we have used the original version of the Dave Smith lesser Canada goose decoys and this year we were able to compare those to the new A.C.E. decoys. We have found that in many circumstances almost any brand of decoy CAN be effective but have also found that in late season or areas that the birds have been pressured, that the Dave Smith Decoys are the most realistic and effective decoys on the market.
D. Variety -
5 / 5
The new Dave Smith Decoy line-up is very extensive. The lesser Canada goose decoys come in four different body styles (2 feeder positions and 1 restor and 1 sentry). They are also a 1 piece decoy which is nice for durability. They make a snow goose and speckle belly line with the same body positions. In the greater Canada goose decoy line-up, there are 7 different body positions including: (3 sentries, 2 feeders a restor and a sleeper). These decoys are a two piece system with the heads being removable.
E. Price -
3 / 5
The lesser Canada goose decoys are priced at $329 per six and the greater Canada goose decoys are priced at $329 per four. Although at first glance this seems to be a huge investment, in comparison to other goose decoys on the market, the added realism and durability make the new A.C.E. decoys a long term investment and we have seen that over the years, many of the higher end goose decoys made in China do not hold up for more than a few seasons before needing to be replaced. Therefore, up front these decoys are an investment, but long term they will last for many years. We have yet to find a decoy that is more effective in the field.
F. Overall Product Satisfaction -
5 / 5
Overall we have been completely satisfied with the new version of the DSD Canada goose decoys. With the added durability, this alleviates the need for any special TLC and these decoys should last a lifetime. We have been most impressed with there ability to draw in educated geese to not only come into gunning range, but actually land and not leave if given the chance. We have found that all of the aspects of the hunt must be taken into consideration and if geese were flaring, as we did have on several occasions, we had to make adjustments to either camoing up the blinds better or hiding personal gear, picking up shell hulls around the blinds etc. In addition we found that using other brands of decoys mixed in with the DSD spread was actually detrimental. We even found that incorporating field duck decoys was a detriment and especially using motorized duck decoys in the spread. When using just the DSD spread with properly camoed blinds along with good calling, we have had continued success on most every hunt.
- Most lifelike and effective Canada goose decoy on the market in our opinion
- DSD Company has the reputation of excellent customer service
- All Products Made in the USA - very rare to find these days
- New A.C.E. Model much more durable than the original models with same paint detail
- We found these decoys to offer the best decoying results in all circumstances
- We could get by with a smaller spread due to the added realism- about 2/3 spread size
- The new durable body style makes it much easier to transport and store the spread
- The new A.C.E. Technology decoys care a much lighter weight decoy
- The wide variety of body positions gives added effectiveness
- When the stakes are upright and straight, the spread moves very well in light wind
- Steel stakes drive into even the hardest ground with a small sledge
- The up front cost for a spread of DSD decoys is the main concern, this is definitely a long term investment
- These decoys can only be purchased from DSD Company located in Oregon, there is also an additional shipping cost
- Transporting your new DSD spread, as with any full body spread, is always a concern especially with the greater Canada goose decoys
- The only maintenance issue we found was the flocking on the head, as with any flocked decoy. Touch up kits are available
- Being able to locate the upright stakes in the dark was tough. We added a reflective tape to the tops of the stakes. Using a headlamp along with the tape solved the problem
Product Field Testing:
We have been field testing the older original model of the lesser DSD Canada goose decoys through the past 4 hunting seasons and have incorporated the new A.C.E. Technology DSD Canada goose decoys this last fall to see how they compared to the original version. What we initially liked best about the older style decoys was their effectiveness day in and day out on hard to hunt late season Canada geese. We also elected to go with the smaller, lessor Canada goose decoys do to the fact that they were easier to store and transport in and out of the field rather than the larger, greater DSD Canada goose decoys and they were a one piece decoy. However many hunters do like the larger decoys and have found effective ways to transport the larger spread. We also found that the easiest way to transport the old model was to use the Avery 12 slot full body mallard decoy bags but quickly found out that we also needed to double bag the decoys do to the fact that the paint would scrape off while being bounced around in the trailer. However once we double bagged the decoys with a light plastic inner bag that solved the problem.
With the new A.C.E. decoys we feel that they look as good as the old model but are much more durable due to the new material. The paint scheme looks just as good and we were unable to tell the old ones from the new ones when set up in the field. Due to the added durability of the new style, we no longer needed to bag the decoys and we also found the new style of decoys are significantly lighter than the original models. We did elect to keep them inside the 12 slot bags to keep them clean and it seems to be the best way to fit a large spread in a small space. We also like the stake system with the DSD Decoys and that has not changed at all. They use ¼’ stainless steel stakes with a very sharp point which allows the hunter to penetrate frozen or hard ground with a 2 pound mallet. We have hunted all conditions with these decoys besides ice and have yet to be unable to get the stakes in the ground. The only modification we made to the stakes were to wrap the tops of the stakes with a reflective tape as they are a little difficult to see in the dark but the use of the reflective tape and a good head lamp that problem was solved.
Now for the real story, how well do they actually work in true hunting conditions. We were sold the first time we used the original model of the DSD lesser Canada goose decoys when we had been hunting late season, hard pressured birds in western Wisconsin in December and were able to go from four dozen full body decoys from another brand, down to 2 dozen of the DSD decoys and had large flocks of smart birds circle in several times at 15 yards and less and finally touch down. Where as when hunting the same birds over a different spread of quality full body decoys, a few days previous, we had the same birds continually flare at 40 yards. Since that first time out, we have yet to have had a situation where the birds would not decoy in and land, when all other aspects were done properly such as perfectly camoed blinds, no gear left outside the blinds, no dogs outside the blinds etc and when we were hunting a feeder field that the birds had been using. We have also found that these ARE NOT magic decoys. If other aspects are not done properly, the birds will flare and / or not give us a good look, but when we used just the DSD decoys and everything else was done properly, time and time again we have enjoyed large flocks of Canada geese touching down in the spread.
The final test came in late November in Pierre, SD this past fall when hunting out of a well concealed pit blind, we had an adult Golden Eagle drop down out of the sky and dive bomb the spread of 4 dozen DSD lesser decoys. The eagle actually hit one of the restor decoys in the back of the head and rolled the decoy across the field and then took off. This happened at less than 10 yards from the pit blind. In our opinion this truly shows the realism of the new DSD A.C.E. Canada goose decoys and we would highly recommend making a sound investment into a spread of these fantastic decoys.
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