Tricking a Bull's Eyes

If you're hunting elk with a bow, chances are it's bugling season and you can take advantage of a bull's propensity to give anything that sounds and looks like a cow the benefit of the doubt. A bull that's on the edge of bow range has had his ears and nose fooled already. A decoy of a cow elk will fool his eyes. "When a bull sees a cow decoy--or preferably two or three--it puts him at ease," says Montana elk guide Chad Schearer, "Seeing that cow is all the invitation he needs to come on in."

Some of the first decoys available to bowhunters were too cumbersome and heavy to tote very far in the mountains, but that has changed. Montana Decoy has solved the weight problem with a decoy that is only two pounds and folds up to the size of a large pizza. The fabric decoy has a picture of a cow printed on both sides and a spring steel band liner. A flip of the wrist unfolds the decoy and two stakes support it for a very lifelike look.

Of course, rifle hunters intent on living to hunt again should never use a decoy during firearms season. Even in archery season, it's a good idea not to hide behind a decoy because another bowhunter might be as fooled as a bull elk. About $100, Jerry McPherson's Montana Decoy Inc., P.O. Box 2377, Colstrip, MT 59323, 406-748-3092, www.montanadecoy.com --John Haviland