Examples of Hunting Decoys and How they Work

Hunting is more about strategy and outsmarting the animal that you are hunting than it is about being physical or macho. Most of your kills will come from the preparation and strategy that you employ before you even get into your blind or start stalking the animal.

One tactic that is underutilized by many hunters is the use of a decoy. In the past, they have been disregarded because they were low quality and didn’t attract animals, but modern design methods have driven down the price while driving quality up. A high-quality decoy can bring in more animals and give you the chance to take an easy shot when they stop to inspect it.

How Does a Decoy Work?

A decoy works by acting like an animal of the same species that your target will want to inspect. With the decoy already there, the animal that you are hunting is likely to feel safe heading into the same area and is, therefore, less likely to look for hunters. Decoys came in a variety of types but most work by simulating a potential mate or challenger.

Doe Decoy

If you’re interested in hunting trophy bucks, a doe decoy is an absolute must, especially in the peak of the rutting season. Putting this beautiful doe decoy up in the corner of the field or at the top of a wooded area is going to bring in bucks from miles around who spot her as they wander around looking for a mate.

Although this target isn’t ideal outside of rutting season, even pre and post-rut it can be effective if you don’t overuse doe scent sprays and are realistic about its placement. For beginner and intermediate hunters, the doe decoy is a great choice because they are often very affordable, and they are also effective.

Buck Decoy

A doe decoy can be fantastic, but putting a potential challenger into the mix is also a fantastic way to draw in larger trophy bucks, particularly if they are near food sources or bedding areas. Usually, the types of bulls that will come to fight the decoy will be larger and confident that they can win.

By putting the decoy near their bedding area, or nearby doe’s, you can be confident that other bucks will feel threatened and will come over to challenge and fight the decoy.

Turkey Decoy

While deer decoys are often less effective, for hunting turkey a fake is necessary. They are incredibly effective because turkey is usually not scared or intimidated, and are therefore very likely to waddle over to check out the fake.

These are available in a few different types, either as fake gobblers, hens or mating pairs. All three can be excellent, but most would agree that the fake hens, particularly those that look submissive, are ideal for drawing in turkey.

Being much smaller than other animals, these fakes are very affordable while being hyper-realistic with feathers, perfect painting, and high-quality skin-like materials.

Duck Decoy

Unlike other animals, ducks are almost always found in large groups, and for this reason, these decoys usually come in packs of 6 or 12. These ducks can easily be placed in-land as if they are grazing, or in the water relaxing and feeding.

Anatomically correct and designed to look natural, with a variety of different positions and in-motion looks, this pack of ducks will attract animals from a great distance. Available in a range of different duck types, you can pick the right one for the species that you are hunting.

How to Use a Decoy

When you are using a decoy, it’s not enough to pick a spot and set it up. You need to think logically about where the best location is depending on the type of fake and what you are hunting. Typically, you want the most visible location which is usually going to be the highest point in the field of wooded area and clear sight of commonly used trails.

It’s also important to add realism to the decoy in the form of movement and scent to avoid spooking any approaching animals, particularly if you’re hunting bucks. A scented spray is great, but if you’re worried about overdoing it, you can use a scent killer too. Having small moving parts like feathers or tails on the fake also adds realism that can bring in more prey.

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