A Deer Decoy Can Add Excitement to Deer Hunting
A trip to one of the "big buck" states of Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin or Kansas comes at the end of months of anticipation. It makes the trip even more worthwhile when a deer hunter gets to learn a new technique he can take home to ply on his own bucks. Such is the case with Robert Tomczak of RA Farms in Gulf Hammock, Fla. This hunter, who guides Osceola turkey hunters in the springtime, headed to Kansas to hunt big bucks. He went home with a lesson in decoying deer from two of the best, Knight & Hale and Carry-Lite pro staffers Mick Bowman and Richie Miller.
"I was real skeptical about decoying," Rob said. "But man, that was exciting. I was shaking so bad I leaned my leg against the tree to steady myself."
Rob's lesson began when he toted his deer decoy to big-buck country. In an impromptu lecture in a cozy barn, Miller and Bowman gave Rob some pointers.
"Don't put the scent directly on the decoy," Miller said. "And remember, when it's set as a buck, live bucks will approach face-to-face, so position it so that bucks will circle in front of you as they come in to it."
One key to decoying deer is to set the deke in an area where it can be seen from a long way, and Rob's hunting area was perfect, a big soybean field bordered on two sides by woods. Rob set his decoy on a high spot about 30 yards from his stand at the edge of the field.
The first two days of deer hunting were slow due to hot weather, but the peak of the rut was approaching and all that was needed to kick up the action was proper weather. The second night a big storm blew through and dropped temperatures 20 degrees, just enough to kick off some good morning action.
When morning dawned with bluebird skies and crisp, cool temperatures. Buck activity began almost immediately.
"This good eight-point was following a doe and not even looking my way, so it hadn't seen the decoy," Rob said. "I was grunting at him but the wind was hitting me in the face and he couldn't hear it. Finally, the wind stopped for just a second and I hit my grunt call and he looked my way and saw the decoy. His attitude totally changed, like flipping a switch! He went from calm to aggressive in a second. His hair was standing up and he started that sideways walk in.
"He circled the decoy, stopping right under my tree to make a scrape. I was shaking so hard by then! It was one of the most exciting hunting moments I've ever had."
Decoys help position deer. Sometimes deer won't approach the deer decoy, but still come in and seem to threaten the deer decoy.
"It was like the buck was saying, 'Come on! Bring it on!'" Rob said. Unfortunately for the buck, however, it was Rob who brought it.
"A good buck-to-doe ratio is important," Bowman said. "Timing is important, too. Late pre-rut to the peak of the rut is the best time to decoy. You need to grunt and rattle so bucks come looking, and when they see that decoy it's all over."