Decoys luring hunters, birds
Several years ago, spinning wings for bird-hunting decoys were devised to fool ducks and lure them within range of hunters.
But birds wise up and learn to be wary, claims Static Motion, a Yuba City company that has come out with a competing product.
Static Motion aims to outsmart the birds with a flashy, reflective lens that can be stuck to wildfowl decoys, mimicking the appearance of wings. It hopes to lure in hunters to purchase the $37.50 set of a half dozen, large-sized wings. Static Motion is a division of Blueline Technologies Inc., a petroleum fittings company on Burns Drive.
The wings are reflective lenses that stick to decoys. As the view angle of an approaching duck changes, the fake wings appear to flutter.
Dale Wilder, an avid hunter who came up with the product, said the wings appear totally random and natural.
"That's what makes them natural - birds are random in their movement," said Wilder, who handles product development for Static Motion.
The company's product can also be used during the entire hunting season. In California, hunters cannot use a decoy with mechanical or electrical spinning wings in certain regions during the first half of the waterfowl season.
Wilder said he first thought about the idea when he saw a holographic baseball card.
Other hunters scoffed at his notion and he put it aside. His interest was renewed when he was driving on the road in 1998 and saw a flashing disc on the back of a commercial truck. Rotary-winged decoys were becoming popular with hunters then. Wilder researched holograms on the Internet and ordered some from a company.
To test his idea, he scattered the holograms in a soccer field beneath the 10th Street bridge, went on the bridge, and saw the image flicker below.
Wilder and Static Motion President Brian Henry came up with some wings that drew pigeons and didn't scare them away. Wilder then set out a dozen prototype wings in 2002 at Butte Creek Farms and ducks landed next to his dozen decoys, he said.
"When they lit, all of them exclusively, all five flocks, lit right in the middle of my dozen decoys," Wilder said. "And so that was a pretty good indicator that it wasn't going to scare them and they saw something they liked, and I was pretty excited about that."
Wilder said the wings have so far met with a good reception during what is essentially the first season of sales.
"Everybody gets it when they see it," Wilder said. "Sales are starting to move real well."
Promotion of the wings is also picking up.
Ads for the wings have appeared in hunting magazines including "Wildfowl" and "Southern Sporting Journal" as well as in catalogs. Wilder said the product will be in the Bass Pro catalog this month.
They will be on television next year with a contract to appear on Fox Sports "Mastering the Hunt" in 2005, Wilder said.
Appeal-Democrat reporter John Dickey can be reached at 749-4711. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.