A decoy (derived from the duck-coy, "duck cage"[1]) is usually a person, device, or event meant as a distraction, to hide what an individual or a group might be looking for. Decoys have been used for centuries most notably in game hunting, but also in wartime and in the committing or resolving of crimes.

Decoy in action
Illustration demonstrating the use of a dog in a duck decoy tunnel (1886)

The term decoy may refer to two distinct devices, both used for hunting wildfowl. One is a long cone-shaped wickerwork tunnel installed on a small pond to catch wild ducks. After the ducks settled on the pond, a small, trained dog would herd the birds into the tunnel. The catch was formerly sent to market for food, but now these are used only to catch ducks to be ringed and released: see ornithology. The word decoy, also originally found in English as "coy", derives from the Dutch de Kooi (the cage) and dates back to the early 17th century, when this type of duck trap was introduced to England from the Netherlands. As "decoy" came more commonly to signify a person or a device than a pond with a cage-trap, the latter acquired the retronym "decoy pool".

The other form of duck decoy, otherwise known as a hunting decoy or wildfowl decoy, is a life-size model of the creature. The hunter places a number about the hunting area as they will encourage wild birds to land nearby, hopefully within the range of the concealed hunter. Originally carved from wood, they are now made from plastic.

Wildfowl decoys (primarily ducks, geese, shorebirds, and crows, but including some other species) are considered a form of folk art. Collecting decoys has become a significant hobby both for folk art collectors and hunters. The world record was set in September 2007 when a pintail drake and Canada goose, both by A. Elmer Crowell sold for 1.13 million apiece.[2]

Carved, wooden duck decoys

Military decoy

An inflatable dummy tank, modeled after the World War 2, M4 Sherman

The decoy in war is a low-cost device intended to represent a real item of military equipment. They may be deployed in amongst their real counterparts, to fool enemy forces into attacking them and so protect the real items of equipment by diverting fire away from them.

Alternatively, large numbers of military decoys, or dummys, may be deployed as an aspect of Military deception. Their purpose is to fool the enemy into believing forces in a particular area are much stronger than they really are. One notable example are Quaker Guns.

For a defense system, decoys and chaff for ICBMs would mainly work in mid-course: during the boost phase they would be inside the rocket, because separate rockets for each of many decoys would not be practical, while at atmospheric reentry light decoys and chaff considerably slow down and/or are destroyed in the atmosphere.

Bomb decoy

In irregular warfare, improvised explosive devices are commonly used as roadside bombs to target military patrols. Some guerillas also use imitation IEDs to intimidate civilians,[3][4] to waste bomb disposal resources,[5] or to set up an ambush.[6][7][8] Some terrorist groups use fake bombs during a hostage siege, in order to limit hostage rescue efforts.[9][10][11]

Sonar decoy

In biochemistry

In biochemistry, there are decoy receptors, decoy substrates and decoy RNA. In addition, digital decoys are used in protein folding simulations.

Decoy receptor

Decoy receptors, or sink receptors,[12] are receptors that bind a ligand, inhibiting it from binding to its normal receptor. For instance, the receptor VEGFR-1 can prevent vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) from binding to the VEGFR-2[12] The TNF inhibitor etanercept exerts its anti-inflammatory effect by being a decoy receptor that binds to TNF.[13]

Decoy substrate

A decoy substrate or pseudosubstrate is a protein that has similar structure to the substrate of an enzyme, in order to make the enzyme bind to the pseudosubstrate rather than to the real substrate, thus blocking the activity of the enzyme. These proteins are therefore enzyme inhibitors.

Examples include K3L produced by vaccinia virus, which prevents the immune system from phosphorylating the substrate eIF-2 by having a similar structure to eIF-2. Thus, the vaccinia virus avoids the immune system.

Digital decoys

In protein folding simulations, a decoy is a computer-generated protein structure which is designed so to compete with the real structure of the protein. Decoys are used to test the validity of a protein model; the model is considered correct only if is able to identify the native state configuration of the protein among the decoys.

Decoys are generally used to overcome a main problem in protein folding simulations: the size of the conformational space. For very detailed protein models, it can be practically impossible to explore all the possible configurations to find the native state. To deal with this problem, one can make use of decoys. The idea behind this is that it is unnecessary to search blindly through all possible conformations for the native conformation; the search can be limited to a relevant sub-set of structures. To start with, all non-compact configurations can be excluded. A typical decoy set will include globular conformations of various shapes, some having no secondary structures, some having helices and sheets in different proportions. The computer model being tested will be used to calculate the free energy of the protein in the decoy configurations. The minimum requirement for the model to be correct is that it identifies the native state as the minimum free energy state (see Anfinsen's dogma).

Decoys as folk art

Ever since Joel Barber, the first known decoy collector, started in 1918, decoys have become increasingly viewed as an important form of North American folk art. Barber's book Wild Fowl Decoys, was the first book on decoys as collectible objects. It was followed in 1965 by folk art dealer Adele Earnest's "The Art of the Decoy" and "American Bird Decoys" by collector Wm. J. Mackey.

William J. Mackey made many trips to Chincoteague Island for the great flounder fishing as well as hunting for Chincoteague decoys. On his trips to the island he called Snug Harbor Marina home. He would send out locals to search for great finds of Chincoteague history. Cigar Daisey was one of the local Chincoteaguers that would help Mackey find all the best decoys that made his collection world-famous. Cigar has told many stories of the many truck loads of decoys he rounded up for his good friend. By that time a milestone in collecting had already occurred with the publication of "Decoy Collectors Guide", a small magazine created by hobbyists Hal & Barbara Sorenson of Burlington, Iowa. The 'Guide' helped foster a sense of community and provided a forum for collectors to share their research.

By the 1970s decoys were becoming big business, at least by previous standards. The death of Wm. F. Mackey brought his decoys to market in a series of auctions in 1973 and 1974, with the star of his collection, a Long-billed Curlew by Wm. 'Bill' Bowman selling for a record US$10,500.

Since the 1960s numerous collectors organizations have been created, specialist books and magazines published, with specialist dealers, and special interest shows around the US and Canada.

The largest collectors organization is the Midwest Decoy Collectors Association (MDCA)which despite its name is the de facto international group. MDCA is a non-profit, [501(c)(3)] organization which sponsors the biggest show of the year. There are numerous state and regional groups as well.

The current world record was set when two decoys (Canada goose and a preening pintail drake) by A. Elmer Crowell of East Harwich, MA were sold for $1.13 million each on September 19, 2007 by Stephen O'Brien Jr. Fine Arts, in what O'Brien describes as "the largest private sale of decoys ever." The decoys were part of a private sale of 31 decoys for $7.5 million. [14]Joe Engers, Editor of Decoy Magazine, noted that O'Brien is one of the top dealers of decoys in the country.[15]

Among other admired makers were the Ward brothers, Lemuel (1896–1984) and Steven, of Crisfield, Maryland. Their career output is estimated at between 27,000 and 40,000 birds, working and decorative.

One of the most famous decoy makers in recent times is Delbert "Cigar" Daisey from Chincoteague Va. Cigar decoys are in high demand all over the country. The best decoy he ever made was a pintail that he made for his wife in 1973. This decoy was featured in National Geographic in June 1980 on page 826. This decoy is estimated to be worth between $100,000 - $150,000.

Fish decoy collecting is also quite popular. Especially ice fishing decoys. See also fishing lures.

See also


  1. ^ Wedgwood, Hensleigh (1855). "On False Etymologies". Transactions of the Philological Society (6): 71.
  2. ^ Frangoulis, George (2014). Ducks and Decoys. tuscaloosa, Alabama: The Farmstead Press. ISBN 978-1-312-60897-9.
  3. ^ "Four decoy IEDs found in Port Said polling stations - Egypt Independent".
  5. ^
  6. ^ "In Battle, Hunches Prove to Be Valuable". The New York Times. 28 July 2009.
  7. ^ "One enemy TTP is to set decoy IEDs in order to observe the immediate reactions of coalition forces. By studying our tactics they can increase the lethality of their attacks, like setting up mortars and rockets on the kill zone or safe area." (PDF)
  8. ^ James H. Lebovic (1 August 2010). The Limits of U.S. Military Capability: Lessons from Vietnam and Iraq. JHU Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-8018-9750-4.
  9. ^ Bonnie Malkin in Sydney (6 September 2011). "Video: Man takes female hostage in Sydney office bomb siege - Telegraph".
  10. ^
  11. ^ "How Sydney siege gunman tricked police into thinking there was a bomb in his backpack". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  12. ^ a b Hugo H. Marti. "Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor".
  13. ^ Zalevsky J, Secher T, Ezhevsky SA, et al. (August 2007). "Dominant-negative inhibitors of soluble TNF attenuate experimental arthritis without suppressing innate immunity to infection". J. Immunol. 179 (3): 1872–83. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.179.3.1872. PMID 17641054.
  14. ^ "Joe Engers, Editor of Decoy Magazine". Decoy Magazine. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  15. ^ "To tune of $1.13m, decoys are the real thing". The Boston Globe. 2007-09-21. Retrieved 2007-09-21.

External links


The ADM-141A/B TALD was an American decoy missile originally built by Brunswick Corporation for the United States Air Force and the Israeli Air Force. Later it transitioned to joint US/Israeli manufacture with Israeli Military Industries Advanced Systems Division (IMI-ASD).

The Tactical Air Launched Decoy (TALD) was intended to confuse and saturate enemy air defenses, as part of an overall SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) strategy, thus allowing attacking aircraft and weapons a higher probability of penetrating to the target. The Improved TALD is a turbojet-powered version.


The ADM-144 was a missile project considered by the United States.

The ADM-144A designation was reserved for an unspecified missile project in 1989. No formal request for allocation of the designation followed, indicating that the project was cancelled in the very early stages.


The ADM-160 MALD (Miniature Air-Launched Decoy) is a decoy missile developed by the United States.

ADM-20 Quail

The McDonnell ADM-20 Quail was a subsonic, jet powered, air-launched decoy cruise missile built by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. The Quail was designed to be launched by the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber and its original United States Air Force designation was GAM-72 (GAM standing for Guided Aircraft Missile).

AN/SLQ-25 Nixie

The AN/SLQ-25 Nixie and its variants are towed torpedo decoys used on US and allied warships. It consists of a towed decoy device (TB-14A) and a shipboard signal generator. The decoy emits signals to draw a torpedo away from its intended target.

The Nixie attempts to defeat a torpedo's passive sonar by emitting simulated ship noise, such as propeller and engine noise, which is more attractive than the ship to the torpedo's sensors.

The AN/SLQ-25A Nixie is a clean-sheet design when compared to the AN/SLQ-25 Nixie. Apart from a few minor mechanical components, they share no common parts. The AN/SLQ-25A utilises a fiber optic tow cable (FOTC) and a 10-horsepower RL-272C double drum winch. Several engineering changes resulted in COTS equipment being utilised extensively in the system. A diagnostic program can be initiated locally or from the remote control station, and tests all electronic functions.

The AN/SLQ-25B includes equipment of the AN/SLQ-25A and incorporates a towed array sensor to detect submarines and incoming torpedoes. The AN/SLQ-25B also incorporates additional active sonar decoys by receiving, amplifying, and returning "pings" from the torpedo, presenting a larger false target to the torpedo.

The AN/SLQ-25C System is an upgrade to the AN/SLQ-25A system. The AN/SLQ-25C incorporates improved surface ship torpedo countermeasures with the addition of new countermeasure modes along a longer, more functional tow cable.

Typically, larger ships may have two Nixie systems mounted on the rear of the ship to allow operation singularly or in pairs while smaller ships may have only one system.

Under a joint UK/ US Memorandum of understanding, the UK MoD and the US DoD are furthering torpedo survivability systems. The US is currently working on an Active Source program called the DCL Technology Demonstrator programme and the UK has developed and entered into service the S2170 Surface Ship Torpedo Defence system.

An improved torpedo countermeasure system called the AN/SLQ-61 Lightweight Tow (LWT) Torpedo Defense Mission Module (TDMM) is lighter than the AN/SLQ-25 and has a different tow profile, making it more suited for small combatant warships operating in littoral environments. The LWT is a modular, digitally controlled soft kill countermeasure decoy that can defend ships against wake-homing, acoustic homing, and wire-guided torpedoes.

Decoy (album)

Decoy is a 1984 album by jazz musician Miles Davis, recorded in 1983.

It features keyboardist Robert Irving III and guitarist John Scofield contributing most of the compositions and the other solos. The theme of "That's What Happened" comes from Scofield's improvised solo from the track "Speak" included on the previous album Star People. Saxophonist Branford Marsalis guested with the group on the September 1983 studio sessions.

Decoy (chess)

In chess, decoying is the tactic of ensnaring a piece, usually the king or queen, by forcing it to move to a poisoned square with a sacrifice on that square.

Decoy Carr, Acle

Decoy Carr, Acle is a 56-hectare (140-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest south of Acle in Norfolk. It is part of the Broadland Ramsar site and Special Protection Area, and The Broads Special Area of Conservation.This area of wet carr woodland, fen, reedbeds and open water, is spring fed. It has a number of rare Arctic–alpine mosses, such as Cinclidium stygium and Camptothecium nitens, which indicate only minor disturbance since the end of the last ice age. There is a network of dykes which have clear spring water and a variety of water plants.The site is private land with no public access.

Decoy receptor 1

Decoy receptor 1 (DCR1), also known as TRAIL receptor 3 (TRAILR3) and tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 10C (TNFRSF10C), is a human cell surface receptor of the TNF-receptor superfamily.

Decoy receptor 2

Decoy receptor 2 (DCR2), also known as TRAIL receptor 4 (TRAILR4) and tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 10D (TNFRSF10D), is a human cell surface receptor of the TNF-receptor superfamily.

Decoy receptor 3

Decoy receptor 3 (Dcr3), also known as tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 6B (TNFRSF6B), TR6 and M68, is a soluble protein of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily which inhibits Fas ligand-induced apoptosis.

Flare (countermeasure)

A flare or decoy flare is an aerial infrared countermeasure used by a plane or helicopter to counter an infrared homing ("heat-seeking") surface-to-air missile or air-to-air missile. Flares are commonly composed of a pyrotechnic composition based on magnesium or another hot-burning metal, with burning temperature equal to or hotter than engine exhaust. The aim is to make the infrared-guided missile seek out the heat signature from the flare rather than the aircraft's engines.

HMS Decoy (H75)

HMS Decoy was a D-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. Ordered in 1931, the ship was constructed by John I. Thornycroft & Company, and entered naval service in 1933. Decoy was initially assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet before she was transferred to the China Station in early 1935. She was temporarily deployed in the Red Sea during late 1935 during the Abyssinia Crisis, before returning to her duty station where she remained until mid-1939. Decoy was transferred back to the Mediterranean Fleet just before the Second World War began in September 1939. She briefly was assigned to West Africa for convoy escort duties in 1940 before returning to the Mediterranean. The ship participated in the Battles of Calabria without significant damage and escorted ships of the Mediterranean Fleet for most of the rest of the year.

Decoy assisted in the evacuations from Greece and Crete in April–May 1941. She began escorting supply convoys in June to Tobruk, Libya until the ship was badly damaged in a collision in November. Repairs were not completed until February 1942 and Decoy was transferred to the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean the following month. She remained there until September when she was ordered to return to Britain. The ship was refitted as an escort destroyer from November to April 1943 and transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy that same month as HMCS Kootenay. The ship was assigned to convoy escort duties in the mid-Atlantic for the rest of 1943 and early 1944. Kootenay was transferred back to British coastal waters in May to protect the build up for Operation Overlord. Together with other ships, she sank three German submarines between July and September. The ship was given a lengthy refit in Canada from October to February 1945 and returned to the English Channel in April to protect against any last-gasp efforts by the Kriegsmarine to interfere with Allied supply lines to the Continent. After the end of the war in May, Kootenay served as a troop transport in Canadian waters. She was placed in reserve in October and broken up in 1946.

Life Model Decoy

A Life Model Decoy (frequently known by the abbreviation LMD) is a fictional android appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. LMDs duplicate all outward aspects of a real living person, with such authenticity that they can easily impersonate a specific person without casual detection. LMDs first appeared in "The Man For the Job!", a short story by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby that ran the anthology book Strange Tales #135 (August 1965) in which the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. created LMDs of agent Nick Fury to use as decoys for an attack by the terrorist organization Hydra.

LMDs have been used in numerous Marvel Comics storylines in the half century since their first appearance, and have also been adapted into other media based on Marvel, including films, television series, animation and video games.

Mark 36 SRBOC

The BAE Systems Mark 36 Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasures Chaff and Decoy Launching System (abbreviated as SRBOC or "Super-arboc") is a short-range mortar that launches chaff or infrared decoys from naval vessels to foil anti-ship missiles. Each launcher has three tubes set at a 45-degree angle, and three tubes set at a 60 degree angle, providing an effective spread of decoys and countermeasures to defeat radio frequency emitting missiles. The SRBOC can also be fitted with the TORCH infrared "flare" decoy system. A typical ship's load is 20 to 35 rounds per launcher.

As of 2010, the Mark 36 SRBOC is used by 19 navies around the world. It is similar to the NATO Sea Gnat system.

The Flyrt radar-decoy drone was designed to be launched from the Mark 36 launcher.

Mixed-member proportional representation

Mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation is a mixed electoral system in which voters get two votes: one to decide the representative for their single-seat constituency, and one for a political party. Seats in the legislature are filled firstly by the successful constituency candidates, and secondly, by party candidates based on the percentage of nationwide or region-wide votes that each party received. The constituency representatives are elected using first-past-the-post voting (FPTP) or another plurality/majoritarian system. The nationwide or region-wide party representatives are, in most jurisdictions, drawn from published party lists, similar to party-list proportional representation. To gain a nationwide representative, parties may be required to achieve a minimum number of constituency candidates, a minimum percentage of the nationwide party vote, or both.

MMP differs from parallel voting in that the nationwide seats are allocated to political parties in a compensatory manner in order to achieve proportional election results. Under MMP, two parties that each receive 25% of the votes may both end up with 25% of the seats, even if one party wins more constituencies than the other.

MMP was originally used to elect representatives to the German Bundestag, and has been adopted by Bolivia, Lesotho and New Zealand. It was also used in Romania during its 2008 and 2012 legislative elections. In Germany, where it is used on the federal level and in most states, MMP is known as personalized proportional representation (German: personalisiertes Verhältniswahlrecht). In the United Kingdom such systems used in Scotland, Wales, and the London Assembly are referred to as additional member systems. In the Canadian province of Quebec, where an MMP model was studied in 2007, it is called the compensatory mixed-member voting system (système mixte avec compensation or SMAC).

Newton Abbot

Newton Abbot is a market town and civil parish on the River Teign in the Teignbridge District of Devon, England, with a population of 25,556.Newton Abbot grew very rapidly in the Victorian era as it was home to the South Devon Railway locomotive works. This later became a major steam engine shed and was retained to service British Railways diesel locomotives, although it closed in 1981 and is now the site of the Brunel industrial estate.The town has a racecourse nearby, the most westerly racecourse in England, and has a country park, Decoy. The town is twinned with Besigheim in Germany and Ay in France

Orb-weaver spider

Orb-weaver spiders or araneids are members of the spider family Araneidae. They are the most common group of builders of spiral wheel-shaped webs often found in gardens, fields and forests. "Orb" was previously used in English to mean "circular", hence the English name of the group. Araneids have eight similar eyes, hairy or spiny legs, and no stridulating organs.

The family is cosmopolitan, including many well-known large or brightly colored garden spiders. With 3122 species in 172 genera worldwide, Araneidae is the third-largest family of spiders (behind Salticidae and Linyphiidae). Araneid webs are constructed in a stereotyped fashion. A framework of nonsticky silk is built up before the spider adds a final spiral of silk covered in sticky droplets.

Orb-webs are also produced by members of other spider families. The long-jawed orb weavers (Tetragnathidae) were formerly included in the Araneidae; they are closely related, being part of the superfamily Araneoidea. The family Arkyidae has been split off from the Araneidae. The cribellate or hackled orb-weavers (Uloboridae) belong to a different group of spiders. Their webs are strikingly similar, but use a different kind of sticky silk.


Q-ships, also known as Q-boats, decoy vessels, special service ships, or mystery ships, were heavily armed merchant ships with concealed weaponry, designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks. This gave Q-ships the chance to open fire and sink them.

They were used by the British Royal Navy (RN) and the German Kaiserliche Marine during the First World War and by the RN, the Kriegsmarine and the United States Navy during the Second World War (1939–45).

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