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Whats your opinion on using a Decoy that hooks to your bow for mule deer. Has anyone had any luck. Thinking about getting one. Thanks Mike
My opinion on mule deer is that mature animals are wary of ANYTHING out of place in their environment. I don't want them to ever know I'm there until the arrow is on the way. Could it give you a second or two in certain situations to make a shot? Maybe, but hasn't been my experience. Does and immature bucks are very curious about them. I can't comment on rut periods specifically as they may have more use then. Our mule deer are being rifle hunted during the rut so a decoy is out of the questions for me during that time frame. Hopefully someone else chimes in on that aspect.
I tried it half-hazardly a couple times with mediocre results. Didn't go "All in" was more for if I got busted too early. In my few hunts I just abandoned and went spot and stalk. I was hunting early season not the rut, where I think it would be more effective.
When will you be hunting?
We have used them during the rut. Younger bucks and does are curious about them but the older mature bucks are not so much
During the rut it can be a game changer. My brother and I killed 2 mature bucks 30 minutes apart in the same field. Both grossed around 170. 3 days later I went to E Colorado and decoyed another mature buck.
They don't always work but in my experience they will tip the odds in your favor more often than not.
I have used Heads Up Decoys and Ultimate Predator Stalker decoy with success.
Matt, great info, and I almost believe you’re an expert!
We haven’t used the bow attached decoy since our hunts are guided hunts and the guide goes along on the stalk to provide quick range finding ability if nothing else. We have used a cloth doe decoy and a taxidermy doe head and used properly they work very well. I don’t see why the bow mounted decoy would be any different? This is in August and early September on mature bucks on spot and stalk hunting. We will use either decoy on a calm day when we can’t possibly get close without being heard. We purposely let the deer hear us from 150-200+ yds away and move through the crop field like a feeding, wandering doe stopping often. We want the buck to stand and look us over from a distance or at least acknowledge our presence by turning and staring our way, even if he doesn’t get up. We let him mellow back out for awhile if he won’t stand before continuing the stalk. If he does stand and stare we keep moving around and if he buys into it they will often quit staring and start feeding or just lay back down. When they do you know they are in trouble! If they get nervous and move away quickly it usually doesn’t have any lasting impression on them but we don’t try it again on that deer. If they slowly move off feeding as they go we will follow them around. It can get comical as it’s usually just because the buck doesn’t want to be near another deer is all. He will usually eventually let us close enough to get a shot.
Caution though! Sneaking in unheard within bow range and then sitting, waiting in ambush with the decoy visible is usually a disaster! They will often instantly freak out when they stand and see it, they will bound away possibly leaving the whole area for days. Or they will get super curious and circle downwind, staring at you the whole time, again a mess.
You need the buy-in from a distance, never do it up close. It also usually doesn’t work to hide behind it during a push, they will do an immediate 90 degree turn away as soon as they spot it. Of course all of our stalking is dependent on being able to fully hide ourselves in the crop the whole time with only the decoy showing. We are also not bowhunting during the rut.
I made some antlers from corrugated plastic. During the rut in the right situations it has worked great.
A lone buck with a few does bedded up seems to work good. I get as close as I can without being noticed. I then give a few grunts, rake some brush and move the decoy a bit. I’ve had them bristle up, walk in sideways with their ears pinned back.
There is a time when they completely loose their mind during the rut. Unfortunately I haven’t had it work on a big one yet.
If the does pick me off it’s usually game over. Or if a big buck has a harem of does and satellite bucks are in the mix, it is tough also. Reminds me of chasing elk, hard to get the herd bulls attention. Fun as hell, but you have to be safe about it.
I've walked up to within 25 yards of mature bucks out in the open behind the Ultimate Predator and Heads Up. But I prefer working my deer hat to bring them to me without having to use a separate decoy. I've sucked bucks in from over 1/4 mile away with the deer hat and calling, and also with the two decoy types. Antlered versions work great on a mature buck with a harem. On lone bucks traveling, I remove the antlers. All great tools during the rut. Watch some of Danny Farris's Stalker decoy videos of hunts.
Haven't tried the kind that hook to your bow. However, Rupe and I put a decoy out in a field about 200 yards from the woods. we were in small patch of weeds and put the decoy at 20 yards. I had a movie camera ready. We watched a nice ten point buck come all the way across the field. I had the camera running and the buck was broadside. Rupe said he was too small. Most hunters would love to have had that deer but Rupe has killed so many monsters he let it go. Pat the owner of this site was on the other side of the woods, up a tree. That same evening I filmed a huge buck tending a scrape. I used zoom on the camera and Pat had it on the Bowsite years ago.
Funny, but some years ago a famous bowhunting writer opined that you can't call and decoy mule deer like you can whitetails. I use that line to lead off my seminars on decoying and calling mule deer....
The only thing different Rupe and I did to the decoy was I skinned out a doe's tail and hooked it to the decoy. Then we sprayed it with doe in heat.
I've used a whitetail doe on my longbow. The shot opportunities I had were all head on and all on alert. I passed on the shots.
I killed a nice muley buck 2 years ago with the heads up decoy in wide open country. I just had it on the stick that comes with it not my bow. It was during the rut and the buck was dogging a hot doe pretty hard for an entire day. I was able to get the curiosity of the doe and she came to the decoy and he followed. I missed him that night but found them near the same area in the morning. Once again I was able to bring the doe in 3 different times and the buck finally gave me a good shot at 40 yards.
Obviously we do something wrong since we have had some success but nothing like some of you. We don’t hunt farm deer. Mostly low desert deer. Any advice on what to do or a good link explaining decoys would be welcome.
I get my butt kicked in the desert so I'll refrain from comment. I know there are guys out there that have found success though
I hunt open country plains muleys with decoys and calling. Haven't hunted desert but no reason why it wouldn't work as well during the rut or pre-rut. No big trick, show yourself, move it around, give a couple soft doe bleats, and either be prepared for one to come or, as I prefer, move off to the side about 20 yards.
If devoting during peak rut with the antlers on, rattling before showing can work well, but I've had them come straight to me just by showing so ducking down and moving to the side is a good idea to create a shot.
PM me your email addy and I'll send the text of one of my articles on the topic.