9 Tips for Decoying Deer

Steve Johnson

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  • Prostaff Member Steve Johnson

While Rattling for Whitetails has been around for years, using decoys to dupe a wary deer is somewhat a new trend. There are many different decoys on the market today and many different opinions on whether to use a buck or a doe. Here is a quick list of tips and tricks that may help you, should you decide to give a decoy a try this fall…

1.Putting a fake deer in the woods anywhere near you is almost asking for trouble from other hunters. Using blaze orange while carrying your decoy to the setup is a necessity for anyone on any property. I would also recommend using some blaze orange on or very near the decoy, you don't want to dupe other hunters into your setup. Hunting from a treestand is a good idea as well.

2. Keeping your decoy scent free is vital to the success of fooling a big buck. Just as you would keep your clothes and other hunting equipment scent free, the decoy should be treated in the same manner. Once the decoy is setup, spay it down with a good cover scent to kill any human odors that may have gotten on it.

3. Using your decoy in a high traffic area is a key to success. Keep in mind this is a visual attractant, if you take your decoy into the thickest pine thicket, the chances of a deer seeing your setup are greatly decreased. Use the decoy in an open funnel area, or feeding area where lots of deer are apt to travel.

4. Be sure to use the wind when deciding on a decoy setup. Big bucks often like to approach from the downwind side, so make sure the wind is in your favor incase a buck decides to circle before committing.

5. Keep the decoy close to your stand or ground location. Bucks will sometimes get within 10 or 15 yards of the decoy and figure out something isn't right. By keeping the decoy close, you may still be able to get a shot off before he spooks.

6. Bucks approach decoys differently depending on if it's a buck or a doe decoy. If it's a doe decoy, they will mostly likely approach from the rump side of the decoy, so setup the decoy in such a way that you have a good shooting lane directly behind the doe and most of the time you will want to face the doe away from your stand location, so the buck will circle in closer to you.

7. When approaching a buck decoy, most of the time the buck will approach from the front prepared for battle. Make sure your setup allows for the buck to walk into a shooting lane before he gets to the head of the decoy. Also keep in mind, sometimes the buck will charge from a few yards away. If the shot presents itself, take it!

8. Buck and doe scents are a great addition to decoy setups. Use attracting scents that work during the time of year you are using the decoy. If your hunting the rut, then use doe in heat or dominate buck urine to make your setup seem even more realistic.

9. Using a buck and a doe in your setup is a great way to fool a big whitetail. Having a sub-dominate buck tending a doe is a surefire way to set a big whitetail into fight mode. Having the doe bedded about 6-8 yards from your buck decoy is a great way to set the scene and very realistic. Keep the other tips in mind when setting this up to make sure the buck doesn't approach in such a way you can't get a shot at him. In this situation the buck will most likely approach the buck decoy, so keep that in mind.

Decoying whitetail deer is a great way to harvest Giant Bucks. It's a lot of setup and preparation work to get everything right, but during the right time of year with the right setup you can fool a huge buck into bow range that may not have otherwise committed to calling or rattling.

Good Luck this year and if you have questions or stories to share we’d love to hear from you on the Forums!!

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Posted by Steve Johnson under Bowhunting on October 15, 08 09:47 AM | Permalink

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