Effectiveness of Using Deer Decoys & Expert Tips.

Effectiveness of Using Deer Decoys

It didn’t take long for me to be convinced of the effectiveness of using deer decoys.

Many bowhunters have yet to discover how exciting using a decoy can be. Much like rattling, decoys can provide you with action that would have been missed by drawing those deer that are out of bow range right to your stand. I’ve also seen through experience that decoys can draw attention from the hunter to the decoy, and in many cases cause them to forget about everything else in their surroundings, allowing you to draw your bow without spooking the animal.

It didn’t take long for me to be convinced of the effectiveness of using deer decoys. My first experience with a decoy was pleasantly surprising.

I was using a deer rear decoy made by Come-Alive Decoy, set up at the edge of a food plot. Before long, I caught a glimpse of two deer approaching the plot from the opposite side of the decoy. My eyes were wide as I watched them continue trotting right out of the field, never stopping to even take a bite. My first thought was, “that decoy scared those deer off.” But to my amazement, they walked right back in with another deer following them.

I was stunned at their reaction, as in the past, deer always entered this particular area with a careful eye on our stands, often staying for just a short time for a quick snack. This time, the decoy seemed to relax their suspicions. They even fed quite close to the decoy, never spooking once! Well after dark, I carefully climbed down from my stand, making every effort to keep from alerting them.



1. Decoys work very well when used early during bow season in fields and plots where deer are feeding regularly. To be most effective, it must be placed in a location where deer can spot it with ease. A decoy’s presence puts other deer at ease and encourages them to enter the field earlierine then they normally would. Using more than one decoy is an excellent method as deer feels safe in numbers. In my experience, placing a decoy about 15 to 20-yards from my tree stand, with the rear of the decoy facing me, has given me my best opportunities for a good shot.

2. Treat the use of a decoy much like you would a tree stand. Never use it too often in the same place, as deer will come to know what it is with continued use, and begin avoiding the area. Make every effort to guard against the human scent contaminating the decoy. I’ve found that deer are likely to circle downwind of a decoy when approaching it. Use rubber gloves when handling it. Clean your decoy occasionally with unscented detergent or baking soda, and store it in an unscented bag, as you would the camouflage clothing you wear, so that deer will not detect human odors.

3. When purchasing a deer decoy, choose one that is not too big and oversized. Carrying a heavy decoy through the woods along with your bow and other hunting equipment is not easy, even if you’re not walking far. If you choose a decoy with antlers, be sure that the antlers are not superior to those of most bucks found in your area. Chances are that a buck will not approach a decoy if it looks like a deer that is more dominant than he is, in fear of losing a fight.


Depending on the deer’s mood, it may react differently to a decoy. Experiment, and use the decoy during the rut and other times of the year. It’s a good way to hunt and is very easy for a bow hunter to learn how to use. The number of decoys being used is increasing every year as more hunters experience how they actually work. One thing is for sure, it is definitely worth considering if you are looking for a new, exciting way to hunt!

Good Luck Hunting!

Add a Comment