These five homemade decoys are perfect for the waterfowler on a budget. The economy is bad, but the duck hunting this season should be good–real good. A warm winter, coupled with record-high waterfowl population counts, means 2012 could be a banner year–if you can afford to hunt it. Here are five waterfowl decoys for divers, dabblers, and geese that you can make yourself. That way you can save your hard-earned cash for all that ammo you’re going to need this season.
a duck decoy made out of a lobster buoy
The Lobster Pot Diver
▶ Cost: $12 or less per decoy
▶ You need: Lobster buoy, furring strip, basswood, epoxy, paint
▶ How-to: Saw the buoy in half (one buoy makes two decoys). Cut a 1-inch furring strip for a keel. Carve a basswood head or find plastic replacement heads online.
Bonus: Commercial fishermen may give or sell you old buoys for less than you’ll pay for one online. Outdoor Life
a recycled duck decoy
The Recycled Decoy
▶ Cost: $7 or less per decoy
▶ You need: That pile of shot-up plastic dekes in your shed, a glue gun, paint, clear coat
▶ How-to: Heat up the glue gun and start plugging holes. Clean up the plugs with inexpensive crafts-store paint, and then harden them with flat matte clear coat.
Bonus: This is a great way to turn beat-up old mallard decoys into those harder-to-find species like shovelers and ringnecks. Outdoor Life
a duck decoy made out of plastic foam
The Foamer
▶ Cost: $9 per decoy for a dozen or more
▶ You need: Pink insulating foam board, epoxy, burlap, mastic, basswood, furring strip
▶ How-to: Laminate the foam boards into a duck-sized block and start carving until it resembles the shape of a resting bird. Cut a keel from the furring strip and epoxy in place. Wrap a layer of burlap over the foam. Apply mastic and let it sit for 24 hours. Carve a duck head from the basswood or find a plastic head online. Paint to match plummage.
Bonus: You can find inexpensive painted replacement decoy heads quickly online. Sources such as and are good. Outdoor Life
a duck decoy made out of a trash bag
The Texas Trash Bag
▶ Cost: $2 or less per decoy
▶ You need: White kitchen trash bags, cardboard, spray paint, stakes
▶ How-to: Cut a goose head and neck silhouette out of the cardboard and spray-paint it white (optional). Tie the bag to the stake at two points like a windsock. Attach the cardboard neck and head (not shown) to the stake. Spray black wingtips on the tail end of the bag.
Bonus: Use a black garbage bag and white paint for a Canada goose decoy. Outdoor Life
a duck decoy made out of an empty bleach bottle
The Bleach-Bottle Seaduck
▶ Cost: $2 or less per decoy
▶ You need: Bleach bottle, flat black spray paint, anchor
▶ How-to: Peel the label off an old Clorox bottle, paint a black stripe around it, and tie an anchor line to the handle.
Bonus: Clear jugs work, too. First, put a little white paint inside, seal, and shake. Outdoor Life

Duck hunting decoys don’t have to cost you $150 per dozen. For the waterfowler on a budget, these 5 decoys you can easily be made at home.