I spent last week perched about 15 feet above the ground waiting for that big buck. The one I wanted never showed. I did see a really nice 4x4 with good mass and symmetry. My guesstimate from 300 yards away was that he had an inside dimension of 18-inches wide and had G2 tines that may have been 14-inches tall…definitely a shooter buck.
He may have been the dominant buck for the area, but I’m not totally sure. He was perhaps a 150-class buck. I have to admit, I did flick off my safety once when studying him in my scope, but I let him walk so he could pass on those good genes.
One of the “fun” things I got to do while watching deer move around was see my deer decoy bring in several other bucks. There was evidence the dominant buck showed up as well. Do deer decoys work? Yes they do!
I am fascinated by the art of decoying game! Add calling to this and I can have a great day in the field just studying animal behavior. Deer decoys work because they draw deer in close that otherwise would pass by undetected.
If you are hunting with a bow or pistol, you can use your decoy to pull in deer closer to provide better shots. Deer will be focused on the decoy they see and not movement you make…especially important for bow hunters.
I’ve been using full-body deer decoys for about a dozen years. I’ve watched a lot of deer behavior in that time and learned a lot. I’ve also had a few laughs, like the time I watched a young buck attempt to breed my decoy and get frustrated when he popped the back legs off of it and stood there puzzled as to why it wouldn’t stand up again. I was concerned that my two hunting partners sharing the blind with me and I were going to make too much noise laughing and alert all the other deer in the area.
To use a decoy effectively you have to put it in the right spot. You can’t set it up in Walmart’s parking lot and expect it to bring in the trophy buck you’re after. It takes some scouting to find the right trails and crossing points deer are using. I set my decoy up where three trails intersected right on the edge of the timber.
Any deer moving along the south side of the river could see the decoy from several hundred yards. I was sitting about 50 yards away. If my calls and rattling were heard and a buck came in looking for the sound, he would definitely spot the decoy.
How do I know it works? Well, sometime during the first night my decoy was set up, the dominant buck came in and whipped its butt! The next morning I found my decoy busted up and spread out. This happened two nights in a row. I wish I could have seen the fight.
To make a decoy even more effective it has to move. You can buy robotic deer decoys, but you’d better have a couple thousand dollars ready to pay for it! I add a little life to my decoy much cheaper by using tan and white fabric on the ears and the rump of the decoy. I make the fabric strips so that they are tan on one side and white on the other. As the wind moves the fabric it flashes the white, just like a deer does when twitching its ears or flicking its tail…pretty simple, but quite effective.
The best time to use a deer decoy is during the rut or just after the rut. I don’t like using decoys in the early season. I think it can train the deer and they will be suspicious of it later on. The way Nebraska sets its firearm deer seasons, it is quite often the peak of the rut. Give it a try.