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decoys for mulies
I seem to have mule deer on the brain lately. I'm planning on heading west in early September to chase them around again and probably again in October if unsuccessful. What do you guys think about decoys? I'm thinking about a hat and or a heads up doe. Is it worth it? have you had success?
how do you use them? what time of year? negatives?
I have seen them work but more often than not where I hunt they will run like the devil is chasing them. If you want pandemonium get a fawn in distress call. They can create utter chaos under the right conditions. We used them this past weekend and it resulted in a nice buck being taken.
My favorite way to hunt mature bucks. I've published a couple articles on it and give seminars, including at the upcoming Colorado Bowhunter Assn convention. I use the hat (which my wife made long before the "Be the decoy" guys copied it and used my photos without authorization on their website) Heads Up muley doe and buck, and static Montana decoys when rattling and/or calling. Amazing reactions and close encounters. I 've sucked big bucks away from hot does to come to my fakes.
Too much to post here but if you can find some of my live plains hunts you'll learn plenty, see lots of photos of close-up bucks responding to decoys.
Oh I’ve read them Lou ! I know you’ve been successful, would you consider using any of those tools in September?
They might get a September buck to look at you. From what I have seen with those early season bucks, he probably would stare you down for an hour or so and then leave. Might be possible to try in the sagebrush country, but you would be very frustrated messing with it up above treeline and it would get in your way.
Tavis, what do you think about using it to keep the buck's attention while trying a flanking stalk in September? That always seemed to be a possibility but I haven't hunted early deer since I started decoying.
I'm going to spend some time calling bucks this summer with the Kmeer Deer call. It seems to say something universal that draws deer in, both bucks and does. Doesn't raise their blood pressure like a fawn distress bleat.
It will depend on the deer and the area. We tried the Predator decoy that mounts on your bow a couple of times and they really didn't like it.
The Kmeer Deer call might work.
I do know that decoys work amazingly well for mule deer in the rut, though. Have used them in NM and AZ in the rut and was amazed at how they just trotted right in.
Are the k’meer calls still available?
And I think there needs to be a decoy hat making tutorial
Several guys here have been trying to use the decoys for mulies with not much luck, and the rut was going strong when they were trying them. Bucks showed no interest or concerns with the decoys. Most guys ended up killing bucks spotting and stalking and killing bucks 60 plus yards away.
Decoying in New Mexico? Most of the seasons are way before or way after the rut...
60 yards means another hour of stalking to get into my range...
Anthony, I'd say that was a hunter and setup problem....
Anthony, The mule deer certainly appeared to be in the rut in January down south of Silver City... Helped a buddy for a few days chasing desert mule deer down there a couple years back. The bucks came in to a doe decoy pretty well.
Google Evan Williams muley video from this year. I'd say he's a believer in decoys......
Evan also killed a buck in high country with decoy.
Decoys can work anytime but there are a lot of variables. Foremost you have to be willing to try different tactics. You win some and lose some.
Before the rut I have had success but it was usually on a bedded animal that accepted the decoy after staring at it for a while. If they accept the decoy as another deer you can sometimes crawl right at them.
This year was my first time to use a decoy. I used a Heads-Up buck and will definitely use again. I stalked within 65 yards, set the decoy on my bow to look up and see the buck absolutely charging me! I barely had time to get drawn and make the shot at 15 yards. It was intense! Nov 21st, bucks were running smaller bucks away from the does. Won’t be my go to, but will definitely use again. I did not have much luck with the doe decoy, seemed the matriarch does would take the herd away from me once another doe appeared, therefore leading the buck away too
Deone, they sometimes do that (lead the other does away) but sometimes they come over to see who the new girl is. If I see a doe leading a buck during peak rut I crawl out and knock my doe decoys down. Doe decoys seem to work best during the seeking phase, before the does come into heat, or later in the rut.
This is the confused doe decoy that got him in trouble. Tried the doe and saw the chasing....my daughter helped me out. Guess an ugly buck works too!
What week would you guys say is the best for decoy use in Northern states?
The "week" varies but when the bucks are cruising the 10 days before the first does come into heat is a great time to use the doe dekes. When they get with a herd of does is the time to use the buck decoy.
Where I hunt in CO the best time for a doe decoy is from about Nov 6-16. Maybe earlier but our November split opens around then. But I've also sucked bucks away from does all through the rut by working the doe hat and/or Heads Up doe.
in North Dakota the gun season will probably open November 3???? and run through the 20th??? I'm not sure on those dates. do you think hunting would be better before or after the gun season? The rifle tags are very limited so I don't feel like the kill would have much effect.
That's the problem in MT too. Rifle is about 25 Oct to the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Private might be okay but I'd paint some blaze orange on the decoy's white parts. Would still be nervous.
My "Stalker" doe decoy caused the deer to run the opposite direction season before last. This hunt is middle of the rut. I could see it working prior to the rut when bucks are cruising, but unfortunately we can't hunt them in the pre rut phase.....
Much of the effectiveness comes from how decoys are used. This is true for every animal. When I pull bucks away from does during peak rut it is when I "show" it from a distance to get their attention, give a couple calls with the Kmeer Deer, make it disappear, then show it again. I tease them. I've had bucks come from 400 yards, leaving their here of does, to come see who the new doe is. The only problem is when the does come running over, so I always have an escape route planned if that happens.
Last season I meandered across an open grass flat to within 25 yards of a buck tending a hot doe. I didn't have a bow holder for the Heads Up so I held it in one hand and my bow in the other. Unfortunately I had to drop it to draw and shoot and they got nervous. But if I'd had a bow mount it would have been an easy shot.
I hear you Lou. Practice makes perfect, and I certainly don't have that experience with a decoy. I think my problem was, I was too brazen and did not use common sense and tried to walk right in on them. I think the herd seeing a 6' + doe coming at them may have been the issue? ;)
That k meer call doesn’t seem to be available any more. Anybody know of a source or alternative?
Grubby, Im finding it all over. Wal Matt, Midway, etc.. Do the Google for Lohman Kmeer Deer call.
Does that call work for both muleys and whitetails or just muleys? Thx
Nevermind, I see its a whitetail call....:-)
It's killer on muleys. I still don't know what it says to them. Sometimes they only wander in slowly and I have to keep working them. Sometimes they literally run to it (especially does). Unlike fawn distress bleats, I've never had them show alarm or run from it.
I called this guy in off the ridge behind. When he got closer he saw the decoys on the other side of me and J-hooked around me and them, like they almost always do (J-hooking). In this photo he was looking past me at the two Montana doe dekes, one feeding and one alert.
They all list the call as out of stock or discontinued
Oh no! Glad I still have three. Have you tried Lohmans directly?
no such call anymore...not that I can find anyway
I emailed Lohman but it’s not looking good. Is there no other call that makes that sound? Perhaps someone needs to make one.