Homemade silhouette goose decoys are perfect for filling out a standard spread or as an alternative for hunters who don't have the space, or perhaps the budget, for shells and full-bodied dekes. Problem is, such silhouettes-typically made of plywood or Masonite-are heavy enough to give you a backache just getting them into your truck. So follow the steps below to make your own featherlight decoys out of corrugated plastic. A dozen of these cutouts weigh under 5 pounds.
(1) Beg or borrow some commercial silhouettes to trace, or draw your own birds on thin cardboard. Be sure to make both sentry and feeder decoys. Then cut them out to use as templates. Trace the shapes onto 4mm corrugated plastic sheets, available at art supply stores or from Birchwood Casey (800-328-6156; www. birchwoodcasey.com). This material is easy to cut with a craft knife or scissors.
(2) Paint the silhouettes with flat Krylon or acrylic spray paint. Don't worry about a photo-realistic paint job. To make snow geese, all you need is a white body, an orange beak, and black wing tips. For Canadas, use black, white, and gray, and don't be afraid to exaggerate the white rumps and cheek patches for visibility.
(3) To form a stake, bend a 40-inch piece of wire (coat-hanger wire works in a pinch, but a stiffer gauge will be better, especially for pushing into frozen ground) into a squared-off U shape with two parallel 18-inch lengths. Paint the stakes the same color as the bodies. Cut four holes in each decoy and thread the wire through them. Push the wire into the ground and start hunting.