I would say that 2-3 dozen dekes would be fine if placed fairly well and assuming that what you have are good. For every dozen magnum shells, I would recommend that you pick up at least a 4-pack of Big Foots. In the early season, you probably need so many. However, as the season progresses, geese are better attracted to bigger numbers--at least that has been my impression. Of course, if you're competing with live geese in an adjacent field, it doesn't matter whether you have a million Big Foots!
Presentation of dekes is equally as important as numbers. But when the day is done, I would advocate at least 2-3 doz. as a minimum.
Down here in TX, we have found that there is a medium you have to stay on. We used rags our first few seasons and only shot a few geese. The next year we got 5 doz. regular real-geese and the success rate went up a little. We hunted with a guy with 25-30 doz outlaws and limited out in an hour. We are now hunting over a spread of about 20 doz pro series real-geese and 6 doz fullbodies. We'll see this season what a high quality/high quantity spread will do.
I have 3 doz bigfoot, 4 doz mag shells and i start out with that and a few mallard decoys in the early season but for sure as the season goes on i also use another 3 doz herters shells and have the best cover bcuz of hunting pressure in the area and the size of the flocks.
We have found that it changes from day to day. Sometimes we start out with 8 doz. full bodies ranging from magnams to super mags and 5 to 6 doz rags. one day this might bring the geese in and it might not. If not we cut the spread in half and take out all the rags.
Hunter pressure, susbspecies you are hunting, early VS late season, etc, etc...
As Bighonker pointed out, he has found lots of decoys are needed--becuase I bet he is hunting lessors in TX--which like lots of decoys.
As for Giants that I hunt, in the early season, I will use 9 flocked Bigfoots. Later I will use all 3 dz, and in late season I'll use the "garage sale" spread of added 2 dz mag shells, and 3.5 dz Real Geese pros, and a few magnets added for movement to get the numbers up.
As for high pressure areas, well it seems quality is a must from my experience. A tip is use something completely different from what they are used to seeing--meaning if everybody is using Bigfoots, use silos or shells---change up the appearance. But conversely, in very low hunting pressure areas, a guy can use 2 dz shells and do well.
In my experince it is best to buy the good quality gear so it lasts many years VS cheap gear that last a season or 2. You will be $ ahead and have alot less frustration too.
I don't know much of anything but I thing it all depends on where you are hunting, time of year , hunting pressure, feild conditions, and the weather all play a key role in what kind of spread you should present and what kind of decoys you should use.
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