Contributors to this thread:
Mule Deer Decoy
I have a hard to draw January mule deer tag in New Mexico. Since they are usually rutting during part of this hunt, I'm thinking about adding a decoy to the mix. I'd be curious to hear from those folks that have tried one of the decoys. Did it help? What were the pros and cons in your experience? Did you use a buck or doe? Success stories and pictures are always welcome.
Right now I'm leaning towards an Ultimate Predator Stalker decoy, but I'm also interested in Heads Up and maybe Be the Decoy. I like that the Stalker decoy keeps the weight more centered and provides a little more concealment, but I imagine the Heads Up decoy is a little more versatile.
I've had fantastic success over the past fifteen years using decoys and calling/rattling mature bucks during the rut. Have published several articles on it and give seminars. For static decoying and calling I use a Montana alert and a Montana feeding decoy. For active (stalking, etc..) Ibuse a doe hat, a Heads Up, and/or a Stalker. I've done a number of live muley rut hunts on this forum which detail how, with lots of photos.
If you are around an aggressive buck with does, "showing" a buck decoy works great if you can get close, flash it and make it disappear in a spot where he has to come in bow range to find you. I like ditches and rises for this. For cruising bucks or intercepting them between feeding and bedding, the doe hat or static decoys work better.
I have use 3-D W.T. Deer decoys (usually as a Doe) and have shot a few over them.
Lou thanks for the tips. It sounds like your go-to decoy is the hat, but do you have a preference between the Heads Up and Stalker decoys for active decoying? I know I've read some of your live mule deer hunts, but I'll have to take another look. It's always fun to read a good hunt story!
Both work in different situations. I like the Stalker concept because it balances on the bow but I've never shot a deer with it. Just started using it last year and really didn't give it enough of a chance. But I know enough guys who do well that it's definitely a great tool. I've had good luck showing the Heads Up too, even walking in on them behind it, but don't like how it changes the balance of the bow. But it's great for showing over a rise or some other hiding spot, moving it around like a feeding doe. I've also moved in on them quite a few times behind the Elk Mountain Slip system. But honestly, my best success has been setting up in travel routes with the Montana decoys, then calling and/or rattling. I clothespin a small strip of TP to the rear that gives motion like a tail, and that seems to help them notice the dekes. I also spritz a little Nose Jammer on the decoys, and have had them come up, sniff, and lick them. Go figure.
Heads up just came out with new mule deer doe
Yep, new WT Buck and MD Doe designs this year @ HUD
Jaquomo where do we find your articles?
I haven't seen the decoy articles, but I know Lou has published in Bowhunter, Bowhunting World, and Traditional Bowhunter.