5 expert tips for hunting with whitetail decoys

Duping deer

Lure wary bucks into range by adding a decoy (or two) to your set-up

POSITIONING

Irrespective of whether you use a doe, a buck or multiple decoys, their placement is critical. Always situate your decoys upwind of your blind or stand to lessen the likelihood of a deer picking up your scent. Field edges, clearcuts, cutlines and natural clearings or meadows within cover are prime locations. Remember, this is a visual game, and you want any approaching deer to see your decoys from as far away as possible.

Consider the natural terrain as well, and place your decoy on a rise if possible. I always try to situate my blind in a swale or low spot, and my decoy on higher ground. And position the decoy so that it faces away from your blind. That way, you avoid the risk of any approaching deer noticing movement within the blind, as they tend to look in the same direction as the decoy does.

Be sure to take your decoy down at the end of the day, even if you’re planning to return the next morning. Leaving it up overnight runs the risk of deer investigating it in the dark, and once they’ve got it figured out, the game is up. One morning last year, for example, I had a buck visit my decoy for a couple of minutes before walking off. Twenty minutes later, he reappeared 100 metres away, but ignored the decoy, having already determined something wasn’t right.

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