PETER THEOBALD says: The best way to prolong the life of shot birds to be used as decoys is to pop them back into the freezer at the end of each session.

However, you would need a very sympathetic wife indeed, to agree to share her freezer space with 20 stinking decoys, especially in the summer.

There are still a few diehard decoyers around who insist that only real birds will work, and these people will usually keep a dozen or so birds in the freezer, use them once and throw them away.

They will then keep some more from the ones they have shot that day, taking great care not to mix the manky ones with the fresh ones.

I have to say that I rely entirely on artificial decoys to kick start a day’s decoying, save for two dead birds that go on the rotary.