PETER THEOBALD says: There is no ‘effective’ range at which to place your decoys, rather an effective range for your gun and cartridge.
There is a popular misconception amongst decoyers that pigeons will not respond to decoys if they are too close to the hedgerows, hence the advice of some experts to always place them at least 30 yards out.
Obviously, if the wind is in your face, then expect pigeons to overshoot your pattern if it is set too close in.
But there are many situations – drillings, for example, or when birds are eating acorns – where the food is right at the very edge of the field, and it therefore makes no sense to put your decoys too far out.
My overriding criterion, is to make sure those approaching pigeons can see my layout and, provided I achieve this, I place the pattern as close as possible.
If I am convinced pigeons can see the pattern but are not responding, there is little chance that moving the decoys further out will solve the problem.