I don't know the answer, I'm a rookie duck hunter so to speak, but have always wondered.....
Is the ultra-realistic decoy, the paint, the flocking, the ride on the water, does that really bring in more ducks, or is that just to bring in more dollars for the manufacturer?
I don’t think it hurts.
I have a big mix of everything. The Avian X mallards look great to me but the ducks like Higdon Battleship Mallard, Foam Filled.
Woodies like the cheap flexible cabela’s model about $40/6
For divers (mostly buffies here) I like my tanglefree.
But you’re right, “cheap” decoys placed where ducks want to land will get’er done. And I think your hide is more important.
Then motion, I like a few on a jerk string.