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Decoying magic part 1: tips from the experts: a decoy is nothing more than a visual aid that adds realism to your setup. Here are some great tips from three renowned experts on how to make decoys work in your favor!

Until a few years ago, there was no way I would have packed a gawky deer decoy DECOY. A pond used for the breeding and maintenance of water-fowl. 11 Mod. 74, 130; S. C. 3 Salk. 9; Holt, 14 11 East, 571.  into the field with all of my other gear and equipment. Like many deer hunters, I just didn't feel decoys could have any significant impact on my overall hunting success. However, I quickly changed my mind after watching several hunting videos that showed fired-up bucks with swollen necks and bad tempers kicking the you-know-what out of foam-filled decoys. In truth, adding decoys to your setup can dramatically increase your chances of tagging a bruiser bruis·er  
n. Informal
A large, heavyset man.


Informal a strong tough person, esp. a boxer or a bully

Noun 1.

When coupled with calling, a decoy provides a buck with a visual confirmation that what he heard was real. One or more decoys can also have a calming effect on a suspicious buck that is playing it safe and being too cautious to approach your setup. These are just a few of the advantages of hunting with decoys, but simply throwing up a fake just anywhere is not going to get the job done. Let's take a close look at the decoying secrets and setups the pros use to consistently tag giants all across the country.


DAVID David, in the Bible
David, d. c.970 B.C., king of ancient Israel (c.1010–970 B.C.), successor of Saul. The Book of First Samuel introduces him as the youngest of eight sons who is anointed king by Samuel to replace Saul, who had been deemed a failure.

David Blanton and the Realtree Team know how to crank things up during the fall and capture unbelievable hunts on video that usually feature monster bucks getting smoked! When the cameras are rolling, David always has a few tricks up his sleeve for coaxing a long-tined giant right into a cleared shooting lane. A strategy David utilizes during late October until early November involves deadly decoying setups that will drive the big boys crazy. Pay close attention if you want to see a buck with intimidating headgear headgear,
n the apparatus encircling the head or neck and providing attachment for an intraoral appliance in use of extraoral anchorage.

headgear, radiologic,
n a device that is used to protect the head from injury by radiation.
 march stiff-legged in to your decoy setup this season.

According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 David, pinpointing areas that offer high visibility can play a dramatic role in your overall success.

"I prefer to find a setup that will allow a buck to see my decoy from at least a few hundred yards away," David explains. "This allows me to cover a lot of ground, especially when bucks are cruising for does in open areas. Next, I want to allow the current deer behavior to dictate my decoy setup. For example, I usually start with a single buck decoy, but I will switch gears if the deer are acting skittish or spooky with this setup. Sometimes changing over to a two-decoy setup seems to relax deer that just aren't acting right around a single buck."

In the past, David has had a lot of success with a Flambeau flam·beau  
n. pl. flam·beaux or flam·beaus
1. A lighted torch.

2. A large ornamental candlestick.
 Ready Doe decoy placed in a bedding position facing a small-buck decoy.

"This creates a scenario where it appears the doe is ready to breed, but she is just not interested in the smaller buck," David continues. "When a dominant buck passes by and assesses the situation, it's usually more than he can stand. The last thing a mature buck wants is some cocky cock·y  
adj. cock·i·er, cock·i·est
Overly self-assertive or self-confident.

cocki·ly adv.
 young intruder trying to breed his does. I strongly feel this setup works better, because it simply looks real and it strikes a jealous nerve with the bucks that do most of the breeding."

With either setup, David likes to add a little Tink's 69 doe-in-heat scent around the decoy, and he never starts calling until after he sees a buck. He tries to stay away from blind calling to avoid a buck circling downwind down·wind  
In the direction in which the wind blows.

 from the stand and blowing the setup. David relies on a combination of grunting and rattling to grab a buck's attention.

This type of calling is capable of making a buck turn around and completely change course. According to David, once you see that the buck has committed and is heading toward your stand, it's time to stop calling and make him look for you. These decoying strategies have allowed David to film and tag a number of trophy-class bucks across the country.


Anyone who has ever watched Harold Knight hunt turkeys on television knows that he is a strong believer in decoys, especially the strutting torn "Pretty Boy." This phenomenal turkey decoy has completely changed the way Harold hunts during the spring, but he also feels that deer decoys can be every bit as effective later in the year. In fact, Harold highly recommends that every hunter adding a deer decoy to his or her hunting arsenal, especially bowhunters who are looking to gain an edge by bringing big bucks up close and personal. Harold feels the following decoying strategies will help you close the distance on a thick-necked bruiser this season. He believes that the prime time to use a decoy is from the middle of October until the first of November.

"One of my favorite times to break out a decoy is when bucks are cruising for does," Harold says. "At this point in the season, anticipation of the rut strikes a competitive nerve among bucks with high testosterone testosterone (tĕstŏs`tərōn), principal androgen, or male sex hormone. One of the group of compounds known as anabolic steroids, testosterone is secreted by the testes (see testis) but is also synthesized in small quantities in the  levels. Bucks that are territorial are easily provoked to fight and can't stand the sight of another male on their turf. The key to pulling a mature buck into range is to set up the decoy in plain view and utilize calling to grab his attention."

With this setup, Harold will use a combination of grunts with his Rack Blaster grunt call and intense rattling sequences. He says the blasting chamber on this new grunt call allows a hunter to be extremely loud, and this type of calling is capable of bringing a heavy-racked giant in on a dead run.


"It's not a bad idea to add Code Blue dominant buck urine scent around the decoy to coax any buck that is downwind from your stand closer to the setup. Simply not being afraid to pack a decoy into the field and trying these deadly strategies can be all you need to tag a monster this season!"


Stan Potts, co-host of North American North American

named after North America.

North American blastomycosis
see North American blastomycosis.

North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus.
 Whitetail Television, has built a reputation as a decoying master. In fact, Stan has dropped an impressive number of long-tined giants with his customized decoying setups. According to this veteran hunter, any hunter who leaves a decoy at home from the late pre-rut period to the early post-rut period is really missing out on some golden opportunities. Anyone who has watched his TV shows knows that the right decoy setup is capable of generating some intense and action-packed encounters with bruiser bucks.

Consequently, Stan strongly believes that focusing on open terrain and areas that offer high visibility can make or break a good decoy setup.

"I try to stay away from thick cover or heavily wooded areas when planning a decoy setup," Stan explains. "The only exception to the rule is timbered tim·bered  
1. Covered with trees; wooded.

2. Made of or framed by timbers, especially exposed timbers.

Adj. 1.
 areas that are completely open and flat. I love setting out my "Bucky Jr." Carry-Lite decoy in an open field that runs between two woodlots. Bucks that travel along the edges of these timberlines can easily spot my decoy and will often work in close to confront the intruder."

Other high-impact decoy setups Stan looks for are pinch points, agricultural fields and open food plots that are high-traffic areas used by cruising bucks during the late pre-rut to early post-rut periods. Stan likes to carefully position the decoy anywhere from 20 to 25 yards from his stand. He also prefers to quarter the decoy toward his position to create the perfect shot when the buck circles to the front of the decoy for a face-to-face confrontation. This little trick also gives a bowhunter the perfect opportunity to come to full draw without being seen by the buck since the buck is usually preoccupied with the decoy.

And just like David Blanton and Harold Knight, Stan feels that calling and adding attractant attractant

a material used to attract animals for capture purposes.
 scents play an important role in adding realism to his decoy setups.

"Coupled with calling, using a doe estrous es·trous
Relating to or being in estrus.


pertaining to or emanating from estrus.

estrous cycle
 scent like the Primetime Premium Doe Estrous Plus and Whitetail Dominant Buck Urine from Hunter's Specialties can help pull a buck right in to your lap," Stan insists. "After seeing a buck, I will hit my rattle bag and give him a series of loud grunts. Once I get his attention, a snort-wheeze from my EZEE Wheeze wheeze (hwez) a whistling type of continuous sound.

To breathe with difficulty, producing a hoarse whistling sound.

A wheezing sound.
 call is usually all it takes to bring him my way. Without question, these decoy setups and strategies have allowed me to tag a number of absolute giants!"

This season, get aggressive with your hunting strategies. Don't miss a golden opportunity by being afraid to pack your decoy into the field. Take an assertive stance and try the decoying techniques that have enabled some of the biggest names in the hunting industry to consistently tag wall-hanger bucks across the country. Right now is the perfect time to grab your decoy, climb into the stand, and hang on with both hands for some adrenaline-pumping, rut-crazed action!

Next month, in Part 2 of this series, expert bowhunter and frequent North American Whitetail contributor Steve Bartylla will discuss using ground blinds with decoys. Don't miss this insightful and fact-filled story!



* Always set up your decoy where it can be seen from great distances.

* Adding attractant scents and calling can be extremely effective when hunting with decoys. However, never put any kind of attractant scent directly onto your decoy. Instead, always place estrous doe and dominant buck scent on the ground around it.

* Always use rubber or latex gloves when handling your decoy and try to be as scent-free as possible.

* When it's not in use, try hiding your decoy near your stand to prevent picking up foreign odors from transporting it back and forth. This will keep the decoy scent-free and saves you the hassle of carrying it in and out of the woods.

* Allow current deer behavior to dictate your decoy setup. Sometimes a buck and doe In the United Kingdom, A buck and doe is a party where the families of the bride and groom raise funds for the upcoming wedding. Games like crown and anchor are used and people have to pay for beer in order to offset the costs of the wedding and honeymoon.  combination will work better than a single-buck setup.

* Modifying a set of real antlers antlers

metaphorical decoration for deceived husband. [Western Folklore: Jobes, 395]

See : Cuckoldry
 to fit the decoy can add realism to your setup, but remember to keep the rack small to avoid spooking possible shooter bucks.

* Hanging a real deer tail on the back of the decoy can also add realism to your setup.

* Once you have a buck committed and working toward your position, make sure you stop calling. This will prevent the buck from hanging up or changing his mind. Making the buck look for you is usually your best option with this setup.

* Try to avoid blind calling to bucks to prevent having a buck circle downwind of your setup after hearing you call. When you see a good buck, however, by all means use attention-grabbing grunts or rattling to draw him in close.
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Author:Faulkner, Travis
Publication:North American Whitetail
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2009
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