How To Use A Deer Decoy

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap


Watching a buck react to a deer decoy is a spectacular thing. Hair stands on end. Ears pin flat against the head. Eyes roll back in their sockets. It’s a pretty incredible thing to watch.

Decoying for deer can be a very effective tactic, if used correctly. Do it right, and you have the makings of a great hunt. Don’t follow guidelines, and things can go south in a hurry. So follow the five steps highlighted in the video and the additional tips and information listed below.

STEP 1: Rid the decoy of any scent.Decoys can provide that edge you need to get the job done. Pictured here is "The Freshman" by Montana Decoy.

STEP 2: Decide whether or not your setup calls for a decoy.

STEP 3: Set up the decoy (the right way).

STEP 4: Apply scent eliminator a second time.

STEP 5: Add realism to the illusion.

As mentioned, those are the five main things to keep in mind. However, there is plenty of additional information to consider.


It’s all about visibility. Make sure bucks can see your decoy from a distance. You don’t want a deer to sneak up on your decoy. You’re trying to lure him, not startle him.


Keep it to where the buck has a 360-degree escape route. In case things go south, bucks are more apt to engage if they see a way out.


Body language is extremely important when decoying whitetails. Make sure you’re fluent in it.


Be very cautious when using a decoy. Take all of the necessary precautions, such as scent management.You won’t always get a shot before the buck crushes the decoy. However, most times a buck will run a short distance, stop, and turn back to look at what happened. Shoot when it does.


Don’t expect it to happen the first day out there. Give it some time and stay persistent. It’ll come together if you put the time in.