Sitting in a duck blind, like whiling away the hours on a deer stand, offers ample time for contemplation.

In doing so over the years I’ve come up with what I thought were some pretty darned good ideas. The one that really got away though, the one that I rue to this day, was the million-dollar duck decoy.

If necessity is the mother of invention, frustration is very likely the father. It was frustration that first got me wondering why, more often than not, the ducks would avoid my decoy spread in favor of a single, live duck somewhere else on the pond. My meticulously molded blocks mimicked the real thing in every way imaginable, right down to the shiny glass eyes and precise paint colors.

The first clue came on a windless bluebird day, the type when you just know it’s going to be slow. But it was the opening day of the second half of the season and there was enough shooting to keep a few birds moving. Unfortunately, they characteristically avoided my spread for some unseen object sending ripples out from the flooded rice. “That’s it!” I concluded, “Motion.” Next came finding a means for that motion.

Duck season usually opens around the same time as fair season. And so it was while walking down the midway eyeing an array of arcade games that the light went on: pinwheels. If I could figure out a way to put wheels, or even better, wings on the back of a decoy that would spin with the wind, I would be a waterfowling wizard.

I had the inspiration down. It was the implementation where I often tripped up, and this was no exception. I even had the concept of running a wooden dowel through the decoy and fashioning spinning wings from plastic cut from a bleach bottle. I just never did anything about it, and soon my mind moved on to other things, like how to use a plastic film canister and a piece of string to create a device that slowly dispersed deer urine. (Yup, that was my idea too.)

Then it happened. About a decade later I began to hear rumors about a new decoy, so effective that some states had already considered banning it. It was called the Mojo Mallard, and just like my original idea, it had a pair of wings mounted on a central axle. But the folks at Mojo went one better. Rather than relying on the wind, their decoy was battery powered.

Since then, thousands of hunters have purchased Mojo spinning-wing mallards, not to mention pintail, gadwall, wood duck and even dove decoys, making Mojo one of the more successful suppliers of hunting gear. The company also carries a full line of accessories including decoy and blind bags, gun cases, choke tubes, bird totes, lanyard – the list goes on.

I guess things turned out OK for me but still, on some windless days I sit in my blind staring out at the perpetually waving wings of my Mojo wondering what might have been. I could have been a Mojo magnate.

Magnate, magnet – wait! That gives me another idea. What if I could mount a small magnet slightly off center on an axle, attach it to a small, battery-powered motor and put the whole assembly inside a waterproof can? Turn it on, throw it in the water and it would vibrate, sending irresistible ripples out across the pond that would call in ducks better than the most precise acrylic duck call on the market. I’ll bet nobody’s thought of that yet.

Bob Humphrey is a freelance writer, registered Maine guide and certified wildlife biologist who lives in Pownal. He can be reached at:

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