Decoy Do's and Dont'son Oct 21, 2012
Hunters who have not had success using decoys in my opinion are usually doing something wrong. I have used decoys in the South as well as the Midwest, and had equal success in both areas. The most common mistake I think is when the decoy is placed where the deer cannot see it until they are close to it. If the deer cannot see the decoy from a long distance away, it will likely startle the deer if it suddenly walks up on the decoy. For this reason I always place my decoys in open areas like fields, pastures, or larger food plots, and avoid putting them in thick areas like inside the timber or fields with tall grass like CRP. I want to be able to pull bucks in closer that are cruising by just out of range. To do that, they need to be able to see the decoy long before they are in range of it, otherwise it will catch them off guard and they will likely spook.
Also, never put out a decoy without making sure you keep it as scent free as possible. Scent will linger on a plastic decoy for a long time. So, scents from your hunting shed, basement, etc. as well as your human scent from carrying and setting up the decoy, all need to be kept to a minimum. When storing decoys, keep them as far away from items that will create scent as possible. It is also a good idea to air them outside for a week or more before using them. When carrying a decoy, try not to let it brush up against you too much and always wear gloves when handling it. The last thing you want is for a buck to walk up to your decoy and get a good whiff of human scent. I also like to spray down the decoy with scent elimination spray such as Tink's Btech to help contain odors in the field.
When a decoy is placed perfectly, the results can be explosive!
Additional Tips and Tricks
There are a few things that can up the ante even more; increasing your odds of success while using a decoy. One of these is appealing to an additional buck sense……smell. Sure, he has already heard your grunt and saw the decoy, but if you really want to “reel him in” your decoy needs to smell like the real thing as well.
I will sometimes place a Scent Bomb filled with Tink's Dominant buck urine on a buck decoy. In addition, for a doe decoy I will often use Tink's #69 estrous. This simply serves as extra verification to a buck that the decoy is a real deer. Another tactic I like to use, is what I refer to as the One-Two punch.
Essentially, I put out two decoys….one buck and one doe, in a breeding scenario. It is the ultimate attraction for a buck. If I can, I will even take the legs off the doe decoy to make her appear bedded and then have the buck decoy standing guard over her; just like a mature buck will do when he is locked down with a doe. This combination is lethal because it tells other bucks that this doe is in estrous right now. They will almost always come in to see if they can steal the doe away.
Using both a buck and a doe decoy can be a deadly combination.
Of course we must remember that no tactic is set in stone, and nothing works 100% of the time. But when executed correctly, decoys are a deadly weapon in the bowhunters arsenal. If you have not tried it, get out there and do so. Nothing compares to having a buck come in and charge your decoy! If you have tried in the past with little success, don't give up. Putting a decoy in the right place at the right time can produce some incredible results. Best of luck!!