Coroplast decoys may not win any contests, but if you spread them throughout your decoy spread, the silhouettes will add to its drawing power without breaking the bank.
As more birds wing their way south for the winter, flocks hitting the harvested fields become bigger and bigger. Trying to match their size and look with decoys is downright expensive.
With a little ingenuity and some coroplast from your local officials running for office, you can have a bigger, waterproof spread for just a few dollars in paint.
Start by calling your local election offices; see how many coroplast signs you can have after Election Day. Many municipalities have a date all signs must be removed by; find out when this is, and volunteer to help collect them and dispose of them. Be sure to grab the metal rods as well.
Once you gather a few dozen or so signs, it's time to get to work. Just start by drawing out a simple goose or duck shape on the signs. These geese may be slightly smaller than your current silhouette decoys, but if you mix them in the birds won't notice.
Once you get a design or two you like, cut them out carefully with a sharp knife, and then use them as a pattern for the rest of your signs, I mean coroplast decoys.
Release your inner Picasso
Now start painting. This is a great way to get the whole family involved in a fun afternoon project.
I like to cover my dark geese in a flat black or dark grey, and my snow geese in a flat white. I paint the whole body with these colors at once. Be sure to get the top edges too, because nothing can flair a snow goose quicker than an odd color poking out of a decoys back.
Once you get the bodies all painted, start doing some minor detail work. A few passes of a light grey for the dark goose chest, white for rump and cheek and a black spritz for the head and tail and you're done!
I salvage the scraps from cutting out the decoys to make patterns for these areas.
Snow geese get a dark line on the tail and a little orange or brown for the beak. A Q-tip dipped in black paint makes a quick eye. You should also paint a few of your snows to look like juveniles, so mix a few light grey geese in there as well.
Ducks take a bit more skill, but can easily be done with a few colors of paint depending on the species you're after. Set a few duck silhouettes up on the bank near your blind in a feeding or sleeping position to really seal the deal.
Pull off the spread
Once you're done painting and they're all dried, just stick them back on the metal stakes they were originally on as signs and you have yourself a decoy spread! Don't worry if they do not look as expensive as your store bought decoys, they will work just as well.
If your local officials aren't courteous enough to use coroplast for their election signs, don't worry. Many non-profit organizations use coroplast signs to promote their local events. Call them up and volunteer to collect them after their event. Many will be happy for the help.
If you're still striking out on finding free coroplast, visit your local convenient store. Many of them receive coroplast signs from their vendors and just dispose of them when the promotion is over. Ask for them to keep some for you, and you're in the money.
More from Wide Open Spaces
Don't limit yourself to just waterfowl decoys from coroplast, use it for turkeys, doves, crows, predators and even deer .If you can locate a piece big enough to simulate the south end of a deer, cut out a simple design, paint it, and attach a piece of toilet paper for the tail. You have an instant doe decoy. Be sure to give it plenty of time out in the fresh air to loose the paint smell.
So what decoys have you made from coroplast? Share your thoughts, or questions with us here.