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

PLAY IT SAFE

Many modern deer decoys look exceptionally lifelike, which is both a blessing and a curse. The problem is that other hunters can easily mistake a decoy for the real thing at a distance, with possibly dangerous consequences. Three years ago, for example, my hunting partner was sitting in his blind watching his decoy when a truck appeared across the field. A hunter jumped out and started shooting, hitting the decoy three times (above). My partner was both terrified and irate, and once the shooting was over, he jumped out of his blind and had a rather heated conversation with the irresponsible hunter.

The lesson here is that you must be extremely careful about where you choose to hunt over a decoy. Some hunters won’t use them in combination with a ground blind, and there’s no arguing that a treestand is the safest option. The key to deciding where, if at all, to put out a decoy is to carefully consider the risks of another hunter seeing your set-up. I only use my decoy when I’m hunting on private land to which I have exclusive access.

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