Do Deer Decoys Actually Produce?

Over the years we have discussed hunting with a deer decoy. From the shores of Lake Erie to the farmland in Kennedy, Chautauqua County has plenty of deer to chase. But for archery hunters — the season opens in 10 days — getting deer within range is important for a successful shot.

Personally, I have hunted with decoys for decades, with success and sometimes not. There are many keys to hunting decoys, no matter if it’s turkey, ducks, geese or deer. We have a small building on our property that is filled to the brim with said decoys. I’m still learning each season about little things when using decoys. One of the first things I tell folks about hunting with decoys is that they are tools, and they should be used as pieces of your hunting puzzle. What decoys aren’t is a sure-fire way to fill your tags.

When hunting with deer decoys, the single-most important key that must be at the top of your mind at all times is safety. On more than one occasion I have had hunters come into decoys. Years ago, we where hunting a huge freshly cut field with several dozen of decoys out. The set-up could be seen from the road, but you had to really look for them. On two separate occasions, we had hunters stalk our decoy spread to the point we stopped hunting that field. Some might ask how that could happen, and while I don’t know, it did. Fortunately I saw what was going on and stopped the stalk, but it was little unnerving at the time.

When hunting with deer decoy, shots can be made from a long distance so safety has got to be the key. Following are a couple suggestions when hunting with deer decoys: Know the land you are hunting or and who is hunting on said land; and try to keep the decoy so it can’t be spotted from the road or access points

Over the past several years, the decoys industry has really stepped up its game. From texture of deer decoys to moving parts, the industry has made these tools so life-like it can be difficult to tell the difference at a distance, which is what they are designed for.

During archery hunting, keep the decoys scent free. I prefer not to place scent on the decoy itself, but I do spend time to spray it down with Scent Eliminator after I set it up.

Keep the rear end of the decoy facing you and the ambush point. Over the years I watched everything from fawns to mature does to spikes to monsters all come into a decoy and they generally come in first and smell the butt of the decoy first. If set up properly this should give you a nice broadside shot

The look and style of your decoy should fit into the area you are hunting. There is no reason put a monster 12-point decoy out if your scouting is showing 8 pointers. The larger decoy will do nothing more than spook every deer that sees it on to the next property. Keep your decoy smaller or average size and look to the deer in the area.

Earlier this year, before C-19, I was able to check out a few of the designs for the coming season. Primos has a decoy called Scarface, which is a full-bodied buck decoy that has a good track record of attracting other bucks. The Scarface is a quality materials-built product by Primos. It is designed and tested for the toughest environments and situations.

Its realistic design lures the deer to your hunting spot. No matter what type of hunter you are, this decoy will fit all types of hunting styles. Movement of your decoy is one of the crucial features for your success in deer hunting. With the Scarface, the slightest breeze will move the tail and head naturally.

The antlers on this decoy are removable so that you can use as a doe decoy during the rut. Besides, it is very easy to carry. All of the Scarface components — head, antlers, ears, and legs — fit inside the body cavity. If want a decoy that can stand on its own on the frozen, hard ground, this decoy is very stable on its four legs. Its composite plastic construction is made for frequent use.

Rinehart makes high quality 3-D targets and also has great looking deer decoy.

The one thing that I noticed right off the bat was how light the decoy is. As it is light weight, a little bit of wind draws the attention of deer from distance. With its unique design and lifelike movement, this decoy provides an appealing appearance to big game and predators alike.

The award-winning sculpture design stimulates even the weariest animal’s curiosity. This decoy features exclusive Rinehart quiet foam, a compact easy-carry design, and lifelike movements. The rear leg has an attached deer call. The body parts can be easily detached for easy storage. Due to its rubber coating design, it is very easy to carry and set up. It also offers a removable antler to change from a buck to doe.

The Doe Decoy version by Rinehart Targets is light and easy to carry. To pack it up, it includes a carrying bag with shoulder strap. Comparing with the quality, weight and other features, this is one of the best decoys available in the hunting marketplace.

Having not hunted with Rinehart, I was concerned over the weight. It’s almost too lightweight to be on windy days, which we can experience on our end of Whitetail Country.

Deer decoys can be a ton of fun to hunt with, when used properly and at the right time of the season. The great thing about using deer decoy, you never know what you are going to be drawing in.

If there is a final word of advice about using deer decoy, besides safety first, is always be on the lookout. You just never know what is going to pop by.

Last week I received word that there is a proposal to potentially expand deer hunting opportunities in the Southern Zone in the future. The proposed regulations would create additional muzzleloader hunting opportunities from Dec. 26 through Jan.1, and would only apply to New York’s Southern Zone.

The new season would provide an additional seven days of late-season hunting with bows and muzzleloaders. Hunters must purchase the bowhunting or muzzleloading privilege to participate in the late bow or muzzleloader seasons and may use all deer carcass tags during those seasons.

This proposal to expand the hunting season is only for the Southern Zone (it looks like they are throwing us a bone here, folks. In the Northern Zone, deer may already be moving to wintering areas by late December. Hunting seasons that occur when deer are migrating or are already concentrated in wintering areas could result in localized overharvest.

This proposed, additional hunting opportunity does not impact when snowmobile trails may open. Snowmobile trails are opened after the end of the regular big-game hunting season, subject to adequate snow cover and local agreements. Please remember this currently is a proposal. We will keep you all update to developments are made available.


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