Official Product Review Score: 27 / 30 "A Rating"
- Functionality 5 / 5
- Durability 4 / 5
- Effectiveness 5 / 5
- Variety 5 / 5
- Price 3 / 5
- Overall Product Satisfaction 5 / 5
A. Functionality -
5 / 5
The three aspects that we felt sets the Spirit Water Decoys apart from the crowd are: the outrigger keel system which allows the decoy to sit much low in the water in a much more natural position, the high density foam bodies allow for a higher quality material and no chance of a sinking decoy, and third and most important is the fully flocked and custom hand painted finish on every decoys. The flocking material gives the UV light presence that is much more natural to a real bird and has the big draw power that we saw during our time hunting over the new decoys. Functionally the decoys scored a 5 / 5!
B. Durability -
4 / 5
Overall we felt the durability of the decoys was very good. In fact we put the decoys to the test by hunting over several demo decoys on a long trip, throwing them in with the rest of the spread in one big bag with no care taken what so ever to preserve the finish and they held up pretty well. The custom flocking did get a little banged up but overall they did not loose the overall effectiveness and the mud was able to be washed off with soap and water. The good news is, for the hunter planning to invest the dollars into a spread of these caliber of decoys, the “Pro Pac Package” comes with a 12 slot zipper top bag for each dozen decoys to ensure the finish will last for years and years. In our opinion, no you cannot throw the decoys into a standard decoy bag all season and expect them to be as effective, a little precautionary care needs to be taken. However, the upside to these decoys is a smaller spread can be used with the same or better results, so taking a little more time in setting a smaller more effective spread offsets the extra care needed. We scored this aspect a 4 / 5.
C. Effectiveness -
This is where the rubber meets the road with the Spirit Water Decoys. Yes spending $40+ dollars per decoy may seem extreme to some but, so is spending weekend after weekend, year after year watching the guy in the other blind shooting all the birds while you go home with less than expected. The advantage that we found by upgrading to the new Spirit Water Decoy spread are as follows: first you are able to customize any specific order you would like from the 5 different decoys species currently available as each order is custom made from scratch. Next the combination of how well the decoys ride the waves with the foam bodies and outrigger keel system, and the custom painted and fully flocked finish offers something that no other duck decoy manufacture can currently offer. In our opinion, the finish of the decoys offers the most lifelike presence available, drawing in birds that are normally decoys shy. Now- they are not magic decoys and great attention to scouting and blind camoflauge still needs to be taken, but we have found that using the Spirit Water Decoy Spread is similar to watching a flock of ducks land out in the middle of a lake with 8 live birds sitting on the water rather than landing with a spread of 60 plastic decoys out in front of your blind. We scored this an easy 5 / 5!
D. Variety -
5 / 5
The different species of Spirit Water Duck Decoys that are currently available are: Mallards, Bluebills, Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ring Necks and new for 2014 Blackduck Decoys are expected to hit the market. In addition each order is individually placed so you can order as many hens to drakes per dozen as you would like or mix and match any of the species into your own unique dozen. We really liked the flexibility of the ordering process. There is nothing cookie cutter about this company! They scored a 5 /5 !
E. Price -
3 / 5
The big question- how much do they cost- The standard mallards are $45.75 a piece or $549 a dozen. With the Pro Pac Package that includes a 12 slot decoy bag and a pre rigged set of decoys that arrive ready to hunt over, upgrading the price to $618.00 / doz. The Bluebill Decoys are $41.58 a piece or $499.00 dozen and also come with an extra 13th drake decoys to honor the wildlife artist Les Kauba who always painted 13 birds in all of his paintings. The Pro Pac Bluebill Package is $569.00 doz. The other three species fall somewhere in between. Isn’t it funny how you can pay $30.00 for a dozen decoys at Wal-Mart or $549 for a dozen decoys at Spirit Water Decoy Company. Why spend the extra money? In our opinion for the same reason I can get a beat up cheap truck made across seas for under $5,000 or a new Ford F150 for $40,000+. Its in the performance and reliability. Personally my time is worth as much as my money these days and when I spend the week off work, along with the gas, the hotel and meals and other travel expenses to get to my hunting destination I want a hunt to remember, not one to forget… So I will take the advantage every time and we feel the Spirit Water Decoys justify the advantage over the price, but that is an individual decision each hunter has to make for himself. These decoys are definitely a long term investment that can be handed down from generation. We gave this category a modest score of 3 / 5.
F. Overall Product Satisfaction -
5 / 5
Overall we were 100% satisfied with the new Spirit Water Decoys once we had a chance to hunt over them for an entire season and really appreciate what has gone into creating each one of these magnificent decoys from scratch right here in the good old US of A! We commend creator and decoy artist Tom Wosika for making a new brand of decoys that was not available on the market until now! A definite 5 /5!
- The custom outrigger keel system creates the lowest riding decoy on the market for added realism
- Each decoy is made of a high density foam filled body which alleviates the chance for a "leaky decoy"
- Each decoy is fully flocked and custom painted creating the most realistic duck decoy on the market in our opinion
- With the Pro-Pac Package the decoys come in a 12 slot decoys bag and the anchors are pre-set with the Tanglefree decoy anchor system
- Since the decoys are so lifelike, it decreases the need for a large decoy spread, quality vs quantity
- There are 6 different duck decoy species available- mallards, canvasbacks, blue bills, redheads, ring necks and black ducks
- The underside of the decoys is coated with a water / dirt / ice protection layer
- The ability to mix and match any specific decoy spread of your choosing by ordering online
- The purchase of one dozen blue bill decoys comes with an extra drake for FREE for a total of 13 decoys- the “Les Kouba” dozen
- Each decoy is Made In The USA and comes with a stand up warranty and outstanding customer service
- This is a significant investment with prices ranging from $499 - $618 per dozen
- Due to the incredible fully flocked and custom painted finish extra care needs to be given to the decoys to keep the finish in good condition
- The pre-set anchor system using the coated line caused some of the lines to pop out of the water in shallow conditions
- The only weak point we found on the decoys was the bill which could be broken but is repairable
- In heavy current the decoys tended to pull down into the water even further which looked a little unnatural
- The decoys are only available online through Spirit Water Decoy Company thus there is a considerable shipping charge with each order
Spirit Water's -
Mallard Drake Decoy
Redhead Drake Decoy
Canvasback Drake Decoy
Spirit Water's Unique
Outrigger Keel System
|Field Testing The New Spirit Water Decoys |
by dan wennerlind
We had a chance over the course of a season to field test the new Spirit Water Decoys. Our first interaction with the decoys was using a half dozen sample decoys including 4 mallards and 2 redheads. The sole purpose of this test was to see how well the decoys would hold up to the abuse of a standard duck hunt. We threw the brand new $40 / piece decoys into the mix with everything else. After a long hunt, up front they didn’t look the greatest, the incredible finish was dulled with mud and pond scum and there were a couple dings and scratches on the decoys when we returned to the office. However with a quick bath of soap and clean water the debris came right off and they didn’t look too much worse the wear. Our conclusion, were the decoys durable- functionally absolutely. I had no concern that the high density foam decoys could hold up to any hunting condition but it is the high end custom finish on the decoys that concerned me. Thus I would not recommend buying even a small number of the decoys if they were not treated like an investment and were just thrown in with the rest of the decoys spread in a standard decoy bag and tossed around. The reason being, you can buy foam filled decoys for a lot cheaper that $40 a piece. What you are investing in with the Spirit Water Decoys is the custom painted and fully flocked finish that adds to the realism of the decoys and gives the hunter a major advantage over his adversary and competition.
So the next step was to make sure the finish is as compelling to the ducks as advertised. To be assured of this we needed to get our hands on a real spread. We ordered 2 dozen mallards, 8 redheads and 4 canvasbacks. We put the 3 dozen brand new Spirit water Decoys into 12 slot zipper top bags to ensure the finish would stay new for years to come, a small added investment. We actually found that it is easier to transport the decoys in the boat with the were in the individual slotted bags rather than putting them in a big jumbled bag and kept the boat much more organized.
We took the new spread up to The North Platte River in Nebraska. We would be hunting late season, wary Mallards who had been in the area for quite some time and were starting to get stale to our permanent blind set up along the river. Even though this scenario did not give us a fair test on the diver decoys as we so 100% puddle ducks on this hunt, we were able to get a very good feel as to how well a population of hard hunted, stale, late season mallards and widgeon would react to the new decoy spread. We mixed in some old G and H plastic mallard decoys as well but segmented them across the river, while placing the Spirit Water spread on the bank closest to the blind. We were also hunting a no wind day as well. Right off the bat we had a flock of over 20 mallards drop right into the spread on our side of the bank and we dropped 5 mallards in the first volley, with only one cripple. They came in tight. Over the next 2 hours we had flock after flock of late season northern Mallards work the river. Not every flock committed to the spread but we had numerous big flocks of mallards work right into the holey hole at less than 15 yards over and over until we filled out on a 3 man limit of 5 mallards per hunter and one widgeon per hunter. Being that the birds finished so well we were able to harvest ALL Greenheads and did not lose a bird all day!
Overall we felt that the added realism that the Spirit Water Decoys brought to the hunt was a major factor in our success. Again being set up in location where there are birds as well as being hidden from the birds are both major factors that need to be taken into consideration, as well as the caliber and amount of calling used but the added value brought to the table by upgrading to the Spirit Water spread is one component of the hunt that is controllable on each hunt and gives the hunter a definite advantage that we feel is well worth the investment.
We understand that these decoys are not for everybody. But time is valuable, and it is hard to put a price tag on a lifelong memory that may not have happened hunting over an inferior decoys spread, in our opinion.
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