Summit Treestands
Discuss Garrett's Decoying Article
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
GRoe 04-Jun-12
Ron Niziolek 04-Jun-12
elkmtngear 04-Jun-12
GRoe 04-Jun-12
swede 04-Jun-12
Josh 04-Jun-12
Big D 04-Jun-12
GRoe 04-Jun-12
Jaquomo_feral 05-Jun-12
Nick Muche 05-Jun-12
Charlie Rehor 05-Jun-12
Les Welch 05-Jun-12
Rick M 05-Jun-12
GRoe 05-Jun-12
GRoe 05-Jun-12
heloman 05-Jun-12
DonSchultz 05-Jun-12
Rick M 05-Jun-12
GRoe 05-Jun-12
GRoe 05-Jun-12
Mt. man 05-Jun-12
Ron Niziolek 05-Jun-12
DPowers 05-Jun-12
Darrell 06-Jun-12
PistolPete 06-Jun-12
LONEBULL 06-Jun-12
ElkNut1 06-Jun-12
Mt. man 06-Jun-12
BUGLELK 06-Jun-12
LONEBULL 06-Jun-12
ElkNut1 06-Jun-12
Ron Niziolek 06-Jun-12
KB 06-Jun-12
Paul@thefort 06-Jun-12
GRoe 06-Jun-12
GRoe 06-Jun-12
GRoe 07-Jun-12
Dr. Deer 17-Jun-12
Dr. Deer 17-Jun-12
nearcher 24-Jul-12
From: GRoe
04-Jun-12
Thanks Pat!

From: Ron Niziolek
04-Jun-12
Great article Garrett. My turkey decoy worked great this spring and I will be using my elk decoy again this year as well.

From: elkmtngear
04-Jun-12

elkmtngear's Link
"Has anyone tried a 2D decoy before"?

Yes....Nice article, Garrett!

Best of Luck, Jeff

From: GRoe
04-Jun-12

GRoe's Link
I'm anxious for fall to get here to start playing around with them again.

GR Heads Up Decoy

From: swede
04-Jun-12
Garrett makes some really good points, but a word of caution is in order: In Oregon it is illegal to make any part of a decoy move by mechanical means, and that includes even a string, when hunting big game.

From: Josh
04-Jun-12

Josh's embedded Photo
Josh's embedded Photo
I am a HORRIBLE turkey hunter but Garrett's decoy worked like magic!

From: Big D
04-Jun-12
Im hoping to have a few more decoys.

Coming from waterfowling and a bit of turkey hunting Decoys are really misunderstood and all too often missed used. Decoys are often user error.

From: GRoe
04-Jun-12

GRoe's embedded Photo
GRoe's embedded Photo

GRoe's Link
I omitted this in the article, but one of my favorite times to use a decoy for deer is when it's early in the season with a pocket full of tags before the rut and during the pre-rut...everything is "fair game".

GR Heads Up Decoy

05-Jun-12
Great article, Garrett. You explained the nuances of decoying very well.

Ya, 2-D, 3-D, 4-D; I love decoying. Had a chance to try the Heads Up muley doe late last fall and had some good luck with it in my tool kit.

From: Nick Muche
05-Jun-12
Mine worked pretty slick on Pronghorn last year in Idaho, if only my brain, body and bow would have cooperated!

Decoying whitetails is so much fun, think I will try a little on some Muley's this year during the late season!

05-Jun-12
I have the whitetail buck and doe. If you have two guys, one guy videoing and using the headsup and the other shooting it sure is excitng! Thanks Garrett, great concept.

From: Les Welch
05-Jun-12
Great article Garrett!

From: Rick M
05-Jun-12
Nice article Garrett. Any chance on a cow moose decoy??

I would be happy to try a prototype this Sept in Alaska:)

Rick M

From: GRoe
05-Jun-12

GRoe's embedded Photo
GRoe's embedded Photo

GRoe's Link
Charlie, you bring up a great point...I've enjoyed the solitude of bowhunting, but now with the decoys...I've come to enjoy hunting with a good hunting partner.

GR Heads Up Decoy

From: GRoe
05-Jun-12

GRoe's Link
Rick...Thanks for the suggestion. A moose is our most requested decoy to develop. It's on the books, but not sure when it's going to be developed and designed.

GR Heads Up Decoy

From: heloman
05-Jun-12

heloman's embedded Photo
heloman's embedded Photo
As most of you already know, I really get a kick out of using the Heads Up elk decoy. I've even had bulls that refused to leave even after they saw me. They were completely convinced that there was a cow nearby!

Can't wait for September!

Helo

From: DonSchultz
05-Jun-12
With regard to motion. I have tied white feather fletching to the tips of the ears and tail with dental floss. This adds just a touch of motion in most conditions. Anybody else have ideas on this?

I have a Flambeau Redi-doe, a plastic 3D buck (nice one lotsa detail), and a 2D Wyoming? double face deer.

I've tried different setups over the years with success only once, and bad response only once.

The success was a setup on a very large pasture edge in late Oct. Southern IL. I could see 90% of the pasture edge from my ground blind in a clump of scrubby trees off the pasture edge. The Redi-doe was facing away from me at 15-17 yards. I saw the buck chasing a doe 250 yards away. The doe saw the decoy, jumped the fence and came at a trot with the buck in tow. Had no idea why that doe needed some girlfriend time.

The bad response was a doe in the UP of Michigan, late October. I set the Redi-doe near a bait pile in hopes of bringing in a buck. Instead the real doe setup behind brush and proceeded to snort and stomp for 2+ hours.

From: Rick M
05-Jun-12
Garrett:

How about I test drive it this fall? We can call it an even swap for the Colorado information:)

Let me know if you do get one out please.

Nice job again on the article.

Rick M

From: GRoe
05-Jun-12
I actually need to get back with you on that! and it sounds like a good trade:) Thanks for reading the article.

GR

From: GRoe
05-Jun-12

GRoe's Link
Here is one of those pre rut hunts I captured on video. I was hunting from the ground with no blind and placed the decoys beyond my position to draw the deer by me or to get there attention/focus away from me. One of my favorite hunts.

GR Heads Up Decoy

From: Mt. man
05-Jun-12

Mt. man's embedded Photo
Mt. man's embedded Photo
Wife and I have had great success with our Montana Decoys for Elk, Turkeys, Muleys and this Lope!

From: Ron Niziolek
05-Jun-12

Ron Niziolek's embedded Photo
Ron Niziolek's embedded Photo
Nice Goat Mt. man! Here's my last antelope with the Heads Up decoy.

From: DPowers
05-Jun-12
I have a girl, I call Gertrude. She has only a head and ears. Gertrude has joined me on a couple elk hunts. She held the attention of a couple bulls long enough to give shots, but so far none taken. The bull last year stood and starred for nearly 5 minutes. My partner got himself too tucked into the oak brush, and could not draw. She will be joining me again this fall.

From: Darrell
06-Jun-12
DPowers, come on man. You got to give her a better name than "Gertrude."

We call ours "Lola." Trust me, call her a lady and she will act like one. Call her Gertrude and she will either slap you silly or act like a "Gertrude."

Seriously, I use a Montana but am seriously considering getting a Heads Up just for the ease of set up. I quit using the sticks for the Montana many years ago and just tie Lola to a bush (I put loops in the high spots and a piece of string. It works great. Quicker set up and much lighter)

We have had elk glued on them and I've also screwed up with them on a couple of occasions. Once by setting up too close to it and the other by flashing it and stopping the bull in the perfect spot for my partner to shoot. Problem, however, was that he had moved without me know it, and I stopped the bull before he ever even saw him. :)

From: PistolPete
06-Jun-12
I think the heads up, and other new decoy systems that are out are certainly on to something, but are missing the boat by being too complex, expensive, and realistic (that's right) - or at least far moreso than necessary.

I applaud you, Garrett for giving hunters a product that they want (isn't capitalism great!), but I think the consumers (us) aren't quite aware of what is required to fool an animal. Elk (or any other game) don't examine a potential decoy and think to themselves, "Well, that left ear looks just a little off, so that must be a hunter" - they look for simple cues called releasers that tell them something is an elk. Like a light (buff) colored horizontal rectangle. Or cues that tell them something is a hunter - like an upright, dark form.

Ethologists have known this for years, but hunters haven't quite gotten the message. I have no doubts that your system works, but for me it's just a little too complicated, heavy, and expensive.

Pete

From: LONEBULL
06-Jun-12
O.K. a couple of questions for those that have had success with decoys ( I have had zero success by the way, they usually run the other way!!!)Do you prefer to set up the decoys away from where you are, or do you sit right behind them and shoot to the side or over them? I have various decoys and they all seem to have stakes to shove in the ground which if you've been to Wyoming in Sept. can almost be impossible to get in the ground and once you do the wind is usually howling so they blow over, any ideas or suggestions?

From: ElkNut1
06-Jun-12
Lonebull, I have used the Heads Up, but I do not use it in a stationary position or a setup style & call. I use it to move in closer to the animal with the Decoy in front of my face as I approach them. Too, I do not go right at the animal but instead I sort of head their direction & cut the distance. I have gotten amazingly close doing this & animals just don't care about seeing your legs!

On top of the head I poked a 10" piece of tie wire secured in a loop, this way as I approach the animal I can hang it in the tree branches or tall brush I use for partial concealment once close enough for the shot! I can draw right behind it & the animals just stand there.

I use this decoy for that purpose only & it's easy to pack about!

ElkNut1

From: Mt. man
06-Jun-12
Lonebull, I have used it much like Elknut1 said in a stalking situation for 3 of the critters that I have taken over my MT. decoys. I have also used it while sitting and calling. Usually 20 yds. or so off to the upwind side of me.

1. My wife's first Elk was shot while it was sniffing the butt of my ElkIII decoy. We were stationary and called him right up too us. As soon as he saw the decoy you could see his neck hair totally settle down. (HOWEVER, I have had them see the decoy and go the other way just like you. They don't work everytime no matter what you are told in a sales pitch.)

2. I have sat in a ground blind and treestand with an Elk and a Mule Deer decoy out in front of me. Had a screaming 5x5 bull loose the air in his lungs ( ;-)) while starring at the Elk decoy I had placed about 30 yds. from my treestand. Bull was at 12 yds. when I shot. Mule deer I was in a ground blind during the RUT in Nov. and a small buck lost his lung capacity while walking past my decoy at about 25 yds.

3. Keep trying it as a stalking tool or help when calling. It has worked for us. Yes, my wife and I are on Team Decoy for Mt. Decoy as someone PM'd me about. Regardless I am not pushing one product over another just saying to keep giving it a try. I too have done the string thing Elknut1 talked about too. However in the sage while stalking Antelope I usually have the stakes as there isn't a whole lot of tree's to tie too and sometimes it is a quick decision.

GOOD LUCK!

From: BUGLELK
06-Jun-12

BUGLELK's Link
Another feature that hasn't been discussed is the ability to put a bow mount on the front of your bow and attach the decoy to use as Elknut mentioned. Wth the Heads Up Decoy attached to the stabilizer mount on the bow, you can easily remove it and slip it into your pack, or insert it and stalk the animal and not worry about hanging it from a limb or brush. Another great option for getting close to the animal and keeping your hands free...

Corey Elk101.com - Extreme Elk Magazine

From: LONEBULL
06-Jun-12
Corey, How does the wind effect your shooting with the decoy attached to your bow?

From: ElkNut1
06-Jun-12
Corey, I did consider the bow mount but had not tried it as I didn't have one. But it sounds like something I should seriously consider, thanks for your thoughts!

ElkNut1

From: Ron Niziolek
06-Jun-12

Ron Niziolek's embedded Photo
Ron Niziolek's embedded Photo
Hey Jeff, I would say in the majority of shooting situations, with the possible exception being antelope hunting, I've found the bow mount to work fine. I have only shot it in light breezes though. Like Josh, I am definitely not a good turkey hunter, but the bow mount worked great.

From: KB
06-Jun-12

KB's Link
LONEBULL, here's a clip of a turkey hunt of mine earlier in the year with the Heads Up turkey deke and tail fan attached, which probably catches more wind than any of Garrett's decoys. If you watch close you can see the tail feathers blowing pretty well from time to time. I suppose it was blowing 15-20mph. Granted it wasn't a long shot, but if you practice with the decoy mounted and take your time when the opportunity presents, they aren't an issue in most winds. Obviously gusts of 40+ would be a problem no matter what's attached to your bow.

From: Paul@thefort
06-Jun-12
Good article for sure. You are so correct. You can not decoy an animal in if you do not have a decoy or leave it in the truck and just try it once in a while. Ten years ago I wrote an article in the CBA magazine titled, ABCDs of Bowhunting, re, Arrows, Bows, Calls and Decoys. I have specialized in using a stationary Carrylite Buck decoy for whitetails and have been very successful. But of course, they are not very mobile. The same goes for many of the "stationary" decoys out there. I like your decoy concept, being very mobile.

You are also correct, not every animal can be decoyed in and not every animal, depending on the timing of the hunt will be attracted to the decoy. Yes, some will spook away because of the timing. The rut for turkeys to pronghorn, elk, deer is Prime time for sure when they let their guard down. Using any decoy at the "wrong" time will surely "spook" and animal and I would expect many hunters who try decoys do use them at the wrong time and then become frustated and leave them at home, and then when asked, they will state, "decoys do not work!"

Decoys do work. ONe just has to be smart about using them at the right time with the correct setup.

Paul Navarre

From: GRoe
06-Jun-12

GRoe's Link
Thank you all for reading the article and for posting your comments.

PistolPete!

I agree there are certainly times one could get away with less. Less "material" and less detail. To make a few comments about your thoughts that I omitted from the article is that I am not interested in an animal running me over...although a buck almost did last fall had I not jumped out of the way...one of the driving forces of H.U.Ds initially was to make a design that would pull an animal, specifically and elk, to 40 yards. The beauty about the decoys and our ability to operate them is we've (myself, my customers, and my prostaff) found that we are getting shoots on animals sometimes at point blank distances. However, the design has some consumer needs which is building a decoy people have confidence going to the field with through construction, graphics, design, and realism.

GR Heads Up Decoy

From: GRoe
06-Jun-12
MT. Man...

MT Decoys are a good product and you certainly have every right to discuss your successes. No problems at all here. I made a concerted effort not to make the entire article an infomericial about Heads Up Decoy...to the best of my ability. I hope that I accomplished that.

GR Heads Up Decoy

From: GRoe
07-Jun-12

GRoe's Link
Corey...You are right...the Bow Mount is worth talking about and has taken Heads Up Decoy to levels not imaginable. It's a great tool. I tell people that they may need a more aggressive grip than when shooting your bow without a decoy mounted on it. Otherwise, practice is very important.

Here is a quick highlight video of a turkey hunt from earlier this year taken with the ContourHD. I've shoot turkeys, muledeer, and a whitetail with the decoy mounted to the bow. Hope an elk is on the list this September.

GR Heads Up Decoy

From: Dr. Deer
17-Jun-12

Dr. Deer's embedded Photo
Dr. Deer's embedded Photo
I have used 2D and 3D decoys a lot. The best there ever was as far as results was the TailWagger in my opinion. It combined motion for real-ness along with diversion of attention AWAY from the shooter. Another benefit of the 'wagger was that deer went crazy circling it (and providing lots of shot opps) looking for the dang things head! I agree that the added realism of movement described in the article is a plus, and having a partner to use it is a plus. I'd like to see a less alarmed posture. Possibly a slightly extended head angle or articulating head so that the deke could look like it was more horizontal and bobbing down to feed. Like when a deer is feeding and just looks up a bit and goes back down again. Because alarmed and semi-alarmed deer are hard to shoot, especially from the deke's angle, which is bound to be quartering to.

From: Dr. Deer
17-Jun-12

Dr. Deer's embedded Photo
Dr. Deer's embedded Photo
Mel Dutton decoy lured this doe to within longbow range. Which, for me, isn't very far. She was pretty wired, but distracted by the decoy enough to not notice my draw. At 8 yards, it's pretty hard to jump the string of a Thunderhorn Longbow.

From: nearcher
24-Jul-12

nearcher's embedded Photo
nearcher's embedded Photo
I just want to share a couple of experiences. Like everybody else I was always intrigue about using decoys for hunting, so 3 years ago I decided to buy me a 3D decoy and give it a shot, first year I used it I was about ready to throw it to the thrash since I was not getting the results that I was expecting with deer shying away and even blowing to it and scaring away more deer than attracting. The next year dint even wanted to use it, until later in the season with the rut about done here in Nebraska and the rifle season over which causes deer to be really skittish after rifle and are hard to see anymore, decided to give the decoy one more chance, so I took it out on a late November evening, nothing show up that evening which is very unusual for that piece of property but like I said after rifle season deer are very shy even going to bed barely after dawn, but I was not done with my decoy, so I left it there in the woods just laying on the ground since I was planning on hunting there again the next morning. When i got there the next morning, stand it up, got on my tree and did my usual routine which consist of a series of prayers and was barely starting on it and still dark when i could see something walking in front bout 20 yards and going straight for the decoy, I could tell it was a buck with some moon shining I could see white antlers but din't know for sure how big, the buck got to my decoy and stopped right behind it and stay there for what seem forever. Still doing what I was doing I could see the buck standing behind my decoy, I don't think he was moving a muscle or at least I couldn't tell since it was still fairly dark, after some good 15 min. and with dawn giving up light I could tell it was a decent buck but I dint think it was that big a few more minutes pass by and the more I looked at him, I'm thinking this is a really good buck I better take him, by this in the dark I messed up and set up decoy right in front of me and the only branch that that was there so I could not get a shot, this buck was just standing there not moving at all other than his ears, finally he puts his nose on my doe decoy tail and I'm thinking, thats it, he is going to bolt away but to my surprise he takes a few steps backwards turns around and start messing with some brush wide open to my left 20 yards, drew my bow took a deep breath and let the arrow, he took off running and drop some 80 yards away, did not see it going down but heard the thrashing and knew he was down. When i when to recover, I was surprise to see it was bigger that what it seem from the tree. A week later my decoy attracted a big doe within 30 yards and was able to taker her, Like the article said there are growing pains that comes with the use of decoys and probably it scares more deer away that what attracts, but if that one time that it works is going to get you in a 160" buck it is all worth the pain.

Nearcher

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