One of the best suggestions around is to use your binocs and look at the local flocks that are really setting up now.
What I've found is that the majority of the birds will work into the wind. That being said, the birds that are feeding are looking at the ground and milling around while they eat. As to the number of sentries from 1 to 6 or 10 is a good mix. When setting up be sure to keep plenty of space between the dekes. Nervous birds seem to bunch up and have more sentries.
Your decoys should face into the wind(if the wind is from the north face them semi sorta north). As for sentries, the more sentries you have means the more danger they are looking for. Try to use as many feeders as possible with only a few sentries. And like ponass said, kind of look to see what they are doing in that field and try to mimic it the best you can.
As I passed by a sod field tonight there had to be 200+ honkers in the field that reminded me of one more thing. Honkers tend to feed as family units early in the season. I wouldn't use more than one sentry per family unit and be sure to seperate the "families" into groups of 6 to 12 with space between to clearily define the groups.
For honkers, I use maybe a 1 to 10 or 12 ratio. I llok at what they are doing--and when there are haeds up -there are on guard for danger. I want my spread to be welcoming to incoming birds-not making them leary.
As for placement--on the outside of the spread-that is where you see the sentries in the field when they are feeding.
After studying our local birds i have went to a 1 in 10 ratio. I have also noticed that there is always a sentry on the end of the flock if they are in a line. So far this year we have been making sure there is a sentry at each end of our spread, wehter its a U or a J or what have you. Its been working well for us.
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