We know there is one thing that a duck hunter loves more than birds dropping from the heavens and that’s cool gear…..Strike that….Cool gear that REALLY works. 

We recently had the opportunity to get our hands on a fantastic piece of waterfowling equipment that, in our opinion, every duck hunter, regardless of where they hunt, should own. What is it you ask? 

It’s the Southern Flyway Outfitters Decoy Raft

Southern Flyway Outfitters Decoy Raft Being Deployed

What is the Decoy Raft Waterfowl Platform?  It’s a polypropylene netting that has built-in rigging lines with anti-chafe pads that allow for a multitude of decoys to be fastened to it allowing the hunter to dictate the number, spacing, and even the direction of the decoy no matter the water’s current.  The decoys are fastened to the built-in rigging lines using Southern Flyway Outfitters (SFO’s) Stainless Steel Decoy Raft Clips.  These clips allow for quick changes in spread or for the raft to remain rigged through the entire season.  As waterfowl hunters we all know that rafted up birds tend to stick together and even the best callers with the most perfect spread are no match for numbers of birds piled up together on the water.

Southern Flyway Outfitters Decoy Raft Being Carried By Hunt Bums Writer

So, what were our thoughts on this?  Did it work any better than individual decoy rigs?  Was it worth the coin?  Did it make setup and cleanup any easier?  Would we recommend it to other hunters?  Well, the short answer is YES. 

The SFO Decoy Raft was VERY easy to set up.  

The night before our hunt, we took a few moments to drink a cold beer and design our spread.  We laid the raft out on the garage floor and simply placed decoys in a sporadic manner.  We found that adding a few decoys facing the inside of the net gave a much more realistic look to the spread.  Rafting ducks tend to, as you would say, not be “all in a row” so this helped replicate what we had been seeing while out on the water.  

Southern flyway outfitters decoy raft laid out without decoys on it

When arriving at our hunting spot in the South San Francisco Bay, deployment from the boat took only seconds.  Held in place easily with only one anchor this allowed for the raft to move with the current and take on a life of its own.   Collection after the hunt was over was just as fast as deployment.  Pull the anchor line into the boat, fold the Decoy Raft up using the three built-in handles and you’re done!  No tangling drops, long lines or wrapping up individual weights!  This made for a very SAFE retrieval of our gear at the end of the day!

Southern flyway outfitters decoy raft being hauled out for duck hunting

Durable and built to last!  The construction of this decoy raft speaks volumes to the commitment SFO has to designing a quality product.  Made of a polypropylene material it makes the raft abrasion resistant to help hold up over many years of hunting different conditions.  The material also helps the raft continuously lay flat just shy of the water surface helping it stay concealed from decoying birds.

Priced to kill birds, NOT your wallet! As waterfowlers, sometimes we tend to have an innate addiction to expensive gear simply because it’s, well, expensive. Not the case here! We found the price point to be very fair!  

With two different sized models there is a unit to fit any hunter’s needs.  The unit we had the pleasure of using was the Original Decoy Raft. This option is the 12’ x 5’ unit that boasts 80 different connection points that allow you to really design the perfect raft of birds. Included with this option was also 32 stainless steel decoy clips. The newest addition to the family is a slightly smaller 6’x5’ unit called the “X2 Decoy Raft”.  This unit contains 40 connection points and comes with 18 stainless steel clips. 

ducks that were shot using the Southern Flyway Outfitters Decoy Raft

Built to fit many different hunting locations!  We found that the Decoy Raft wasn’t just a one-trick pony for big open water hunting.  We decided to take our raft out to one of California’s, Central Valley Refuges and give it a go.  While the 12’x5’ raft may have been a bit big for our location we were able to utilize it to help create the effect of a small gathering of birds in an area where we could see birds had been flying over. 

Something we noticed when we set up is that while a solitary decoy may get lost in the water grass, we were able to recreate an open water hole due to the raft simply covering up and pushing a plot of grass under the water. This gave the impression of a newly developed hole where birds were congregating. 

To add a bit of motion to this spread we put a Higdon Crazy Kicker into the mix to create a rippling effect throughout the 15 or so decoys we had attached to the raft. This would have been a situation where we feel the smaller X2 decoy raft would have been the perfect fit! 
Decoys placed on Southern Flyway Outfitters decoy raft

The waterfowl industry has become a bit stagnant over the years and “innovation” simply seems to be a slightly different reproduction of the same song and dance.  With Southern Flyway Outfitters though, that’s not the case.  These guys really took time designing this one-of-a-kind product.  It’s well made, well thought out, incredibly versatile, and offers a variety of ways to be uniquely utilized

A very noteworthy mention from a customer review we found was from an “old-timer” that stated “The decoy raft has allowed me to put a few more years of great hunts under my boots due to the ease of use and quality design”.  This means that along with being easy to use, it’s allowing the older generations of outdoors enthusiasts the ability to hunt even later in life.

ducks landing in decoy spread with southern flyway outfitters decoy raft

The Hunt Bums Crew gave the Southern Flyway Outfitters Decoy Raft Waterfowl PlatformHUGE thumbs up and highly recommend this product. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re after Divers or Puddlers this product can help you create the X you have been searching for. 

If you’re interested in adding this great product to your collection, use the PROMO Code: HUNTBUMS at checkout for a killer discount on an already fairly priced product! 

Dru Yoder of Hunt Bums Duck Hunting

About The Author

A true hobbyist at heart, Dru is constantly consumed with the many joys of life!

A native Pennsylvanian, transplanted to California in 2012 for a career in the automotive field, Dru has dove headfirst into the great California outdoors!

When not chasing Waterfowl in the winter, or the various species of sport fish in the summer, Dru and his wife spend many days exploring the Sierra Nevada mountains and lakes.

In addition to the normal 9 to 5 job, Dru is also the sole proprietor of Yoder BoatsYoder Boats is a company that specializes in the production of quality-made customizable hunting and fishing boats for North American outdoorsmen.

Dru resides with his wife and their energetic little Goldendoodle, Lilly in the Central Valley area in California.