Essential Outdoor Skill: Set a Deer Decoy

_Photo courtesy of Primos Hunting
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Deer decoys work best during the pre-rut and rut, when bucks are more visible than they are later in the season. When possible, set the decoy on a rise that's visible from many travel routes. Cater your setup to the whitetails in your area. If there aren't any 160-inch bucks around, placing trophy antlers on your decoy isn't a good idea.

Always handle your decoy with rubber gloves and liberally apply scent-eliminating spray to the deke. Bucks usually approach other bucks head-on and does from behind. With that in mind, place your buck decoy angling or facing directly toward your stand, upwind, 15 to 20 yards away. A doe decoy should face away from your stand 20 to 25 yards away and upwind. For added realism, get a set of plastic deer eyes from your taxidermist and add them to your decoy.

Apply the appropriate deer scent on bushes near the decoy or on a rag that you attach to the fake's hind end to simulate a moving tail. Combine this with the right deer call, and you've put together a decoy presentation that'll fool even the cagiest buck.