Contributors to this thread:
Got an Archery Antelope tag this year (10 years to get the tag), but haven't had much success with decoying so far. Some bucks have reacted positively, and my two hunting partners took decent bucks that came in close to the decoy. But the big bucks that I have scouted out have been hanging up at 80-100 yards. Any tricks to getting them to respond more agressively and come closer? Only a few days left in the season, so I'm hoping I get a chance before it is over for another 10 years!
Bigfoot, get within 100 yards and THEN pop up your decoy if you can. I suggest you have an arrow nocked and be prepared to defend yourself if you do!
What Brotsky said has worked for me. The closer you can get before showing your deke, the more threatened he feels IMO. Too far, and he may gather his girls and RUNNOFT !
I was guessing the problem I was having was not getting close enough before putting up the decoy. These big guys seem to live in areas where getting within 300 yards is an accomplishment! Flat, open country. I did get quite close on one ocassion, but the does spooked when I put up the decoy and the buck went with them, without ever seeing the decoy. Oh well. That is the challenge of bowhunting. Fun but frustrating! I'll keep trying.
Definitely agree with the above mentioned advice. Got to close the distance before you show your cards. Get in his comfort zone and he'll react. Kinda like a big herd bull. Screaming at him from 300 yds doesn't do much, but cut off his bugle at 75, and you better get ready!
A followup question. A week and a half ago, while hunting, I setup a blind at a dugout where a particular buck is hanging out. The does in the area seemed to be pretty nervous when they saw it (at least that was my interpretation - none got closer than 200 yards to it). The buck didn't seem to pay it much attention (that I noticed) and simply followed the does. But, in 2 days, no Antelope approached that dugout. I didn't have the option of leaving it up or putting it up earlier (private land with cattle being moved around). I'm thinking of maybe trying it again, on the same buck or a different one. But, I'm concerned they will be too nervous to come in by putting it up and hunting it right away.
If I put it up, could I expect the Antelope to come in the same day? Will they be too nervous of the blind to expect them to come in, or do they need time to get used to it? If they need time, it would be a useless exercise, as there will be only a couple of days left in the season when I am there. Appreciate any opinions.
Are you talking about on top of a waterhole or out in the open?
If water, you have a lot better chance at them coming in. If not, I doubt it.
BTW What you are experiencing is not uncommon. Very few big bucks are killed via decoying. Usually mid-smaller bucks are killed over decoy.
Either way, good luck and I hope it works out.
Yes, water. In my area, the waterholes that have been dug out for cattle watering spots, are called dugouts.
If the blind is out in the open they generally will be more spooked.
If you can brush it in near existing vegetation there is a chance to hunt it same day. Never know for sure.
Only open 1 window to shoot, and leave the screen on if they are spooky. They will catch movement in the blind if too much light inside.
Of course in hindsight a blind set up 1-2 weeks prior is ideal. Keep cattle off of it by pounding in fence posts and stringing wire. Or take a page from BB and build one of those wooden dugout blinds that they cant push over.
Bigfoot, if your dugouts are anything like our dugouts then you will have a berm on one or both sides of the water. Try to set up your blind using one of these berms as a back drop, even bring a shovel and dig out a little notch for it if you can. It'll be less conspicuous to the antelope and might help you seal the deal.
Our dugouts have berms on both sides of the water, which is where I 'tucked' the blind into. Still stood out pretty good. The Antelope were around that dugout pretty consistently until I put up the blind, and then not so much for the next couple of days. Maybe they just skipped that area those days as part of their regular wanderings, or maybe the blind got them a little boogered. Not sure, but I may try it again. The buck that is there is the largest I have ever seen in the wild (at least in terms of horn length). We have nicknamed him Gigantor. Really hope to get chance at him!
I am planning on hunting Thursday through Saturday (the last day of the season). I will try to remember to update this thread on how I make out. Thanks for the replies.
Decoy.....I like to be inside 100 yards and the timing has to be spot on, if one doe or the buck sees that thing just flip up off the ground it's usually a no go. I have decoyed many herd bucks and a lot of them have taken the better part of the day to get it done right.
Bucks will tend scrape lines and sometimes 'visit' neighboring herds, thats a good time to be between him and his harem. This usually early morning. The little 'satellite' bucks can get the big boy separated from the does as well, then its time to move in.
As far as blinds on water I find if they have a great abundance of water, which is how it is here, it takes a week or more before they will be used to that blind being there. They simply just use water from another, often nearby, source.
All good advice here for you to chew on, good luck!
No joy for an Antelope the last couple of days. The rut was really winding down. The bucks were wandering away from their territories, not chasing the does or little bucks. Had a couple of closer encounters on Friday, but the wind was howling so shooting at those distances (50 yards plus) would have just been a hope. Wouldn't have shot even without the heavy wind. In summary, the first few days of the season I hunted the rut was just starting. My two hunting partner took bucks that, while decent, weren't the size I was hoping for. I did try on the two big ones I had found, but the closest they came was 93 yards. Spent a couple of days in the blind where a giant was living, but he and his does were nervous of the blind and wouldn't come in to water. The best time would probably have been the middle of the season - 12th to the 20th, or so - but we had family obligations unexpectedly arise, and had no time to hunt. Finally got out the last days, but they didn't react positively to the decoy. Got to 70 yards on the last day, of a really good buck and 3 does. Put up the decoy and let them spot it. They finally did, looked at it for a couple of minutes, then trotted away. That was typical of the responses the last days. Little disappointing, but nothing in hunting is guaranteed.