Decoying whitetails is an adrenaline rush unlike any other. It’s fun. It’s exhilarating. But it’s also an art form. You have to do it a certain way or risk failure. There are a lot of mistakes that can be made while decoying deer. Are you making any of these?
1. Your Timing Is Off
I’ve learned the best time to decoy is between October 31 and November 15. Anytime outside that window will likely produce lesser results.
2. Your Location Is Wrong
Decoy out in the open. After all, they have to be able to see your decoy to respond to it. Don’t put decoys out in areas they can’t be seen.
3. You Won’t Monitor the Wind
Wind direction is key. Set up with the wind in your face. Put the decoy upwind. Hopefully, deer will not get downwind of you.
4. You Ignored Scent Control
The decoy has to be scent free. Most of the time, mature bucks will circle downwind of the decoy before committing to it. If they smell human or foreign odors on it, it’s game over.
5. Distance and Position Aren’t Factored In
Set up the decoy 15 to 20 yards from the base of your tree. That way, if the buck hangs up, they’re still potentially in range.
6. Realism Isn’t Added to Your Setup
I prefer to call and rattle when using a decoy. Scent lures can also help paint the picture of a rutting buck. These things help add realism to your setup.
7. Your Decoy Is Intimidating
Don’t use a big-bodied or big-racked decoy. It could intimidate some deer that might otherwise commit and come within range.
Bonus read: How to Decoy a Buck
Editor's Note: This was originally published on November 1, 2016.
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