A Hoisington-based hunting decoy company has plans to expand its offerings, and hopefully create new jobs in central Kansas, in the coming years thanks to partnerships with an area manufacturer and a state university.
Deception Decoy Co. is co-owned and operated by brothers Garrett and Grant Doyle, with Garrett operating as the sales and production manager and Grant as the R&D manager and sculptor.
"I guess obsession," Garrett Doyle said of their reasoning for starting the business about six years. "We hunted with my grandpa, we had a private duck club back home that we grew up on and we liked decoys and hunting and whatnot, so we wanted to make the best decoy there was out there, you know, durable and the most realistic. That kind of inspired it."
The small business made a name for itself early on as one of the only manufacturers of sandhill crane decoys and calls. In Kansas, the sandhill crane season runs from Oct. 17 to Dec. 13 in the West Zone and Nov. 11 to Jan. 7, 2021, in the Central Zone. Hunters are required to carry a Kansas HIP Permit and a Sandhill Crane Permit to hunt for the birds.
When the brothers started the company, Grant used to artistic abilities to create just about every type of waterfowl mold you could think of using clay, including mallard ducks, white-fronted geese, Canada geese and Ross' geese, as well as turkey decoys. However, as the demand for the unique crane decoys skyrocketed in Kansas and beyond, the brothers began to focus their efforts solely on making crane decoys and put the other products on hold.
"The process that we're doing right now, with the profits we need, sandhill cranes kind of foot the bill, and that's really all we've been focusing on the last couple of years was sandhills," Garrett said. "I don't think we've made but a handful of goose decoys because we just can't afford to. We've been back-ordered (on geese) for almost two years now."
Garrett said the company is partnering with Fort Hays State University, the brothers’ alma mater, to cast the aluminum molds for the decoys, with student workers hired on to help produce them, and will also partner with Fuller Industries, of Great Bend, to help produce some of the products.
"Which is great, because we can expand so much more rapidly here this next year, so it’ll be great next year," Garrett said.
He said the company planned to release a couple of videos in December to fill customers in on the transformation within the company and explain the reason for the long backlogs on orders, as well as debut the new line of decoys from Fuller.
"I think it'll be good this December once everything's done," Garrett said.
He said after a new line of decoys are made in December, he expected to add a full complement of goose decoys back into the mix, including floater decoys, specklebellies, Ross' geese and Canada geese.
"It's been a struggle, though," Garrett said. "U.S. manufacturing, it's a struggle, not just to get it made, it's the pattern-making. It's awful. It's all overseas. People basically lost the skill of casting metal parts. It's been a wild rodeo, that's for sure."
The Doyles hope to eventually move their company to a space within Fuller Industries in Great Bend, helping to make the decoy production even more cost-effective.
"It makes sense, for logistics, to be under the same roof," Garrett said. "So we can just wheel decoys over, and that way we can meet the demands of our customers. Right now, we just can't meet the demands with what we're doing right now. We're just not making enough."
The other benefit to making a move to Fuller besides being able to produce more products to meet the consumer demand is that they also would be able to offer more affordable decoys.
"It's going to open up our profit margins by about 40, 45 percent," Garrett said. "We're really going to be able to compete with other Chinese markets. Not that we want to compete with Chinese markets, but on the other hand, you go to Cabela's or Bass Pro, that's what you've got on the shelves is Chinese decoys."
He said another benefit would be that the company would be able to expand and create new jobs for people in the Great Bend area.
"It'll be great for Fuller, great for us, it'll just be excellent for Great Bend," Garrett said. "I think we'll be able to produce 20 to 25 jobs just getting into Great Bend in the next couple of years, which I think is great. I mean, that's big for Great Bend."
For more information, call 620-262-6315 or visit https://www.deceptionoutdoors.com.
Another Great Bend company
For those bowhunters looking to knock down a big brute of a deer this fall, one Kansas company is quick to the point.
Magnus Outdoor Products is based out of Great Bend and offers an array of broadheads for bowhunters to choose from.
Magnus produces a wide variety of broadheads for big game hunting, including the Black Hornet, Stinger, Stinger Killer Bee and Snuffer SS. For those who prefer a serrated broadhead, there are also the Black Hornet Ser-Razor, Stinger Buzzcut and Stinger Killer Bee Buzzcut.
In addition, the company offers its Bullhead broadhead for turkey and small game hunters in both 100 and 125 grains. These broadheads come with three separated blades to make for a good neck shot on a turkey.
For more information, go to http://www.magnusbroadheads.com.