Well, the decoy seemed to work!! Sort of…
Yesterday morning after hunting I stopped by my parents house to see my youngest brother (age 10) and ask if I could borrow his deer target. It’s pretty much lived its life, and is falling to pieces, but it works for him. We made a deal; he let me borrow his deer target as a decoy (which he gladly did) and I would take him to my stand in November and let him shoot one of the little bucks that were showing up every night. He seemed pretty happy with the arrangement!
That afternoon, armed with my decoy-target and my bow, I headed to my stand. I set the decoy up and climbed into my stand to wait. Having never hunted deer with a decoy before, I was a little unsure of what to expect. My idea was that having the decoy would act as a “deer” under my stand and make all of the other deer come over. So I hoped.
About 15 later, I heard something coming down the hill in front of me. Here came a little buck as if on a string, down the hill, across the brook, straight towards my deer target. Of course, once he figured out that it wasn’t a real deer, he wasn’t interested. But the important thing was, I could have shot him at least twenty different times and he never knew it.
Now the decoy had to pass the true test: would the does buy it. Everyone knows that most girls tend to be more judgmental than guys when it comes to real versus fake. Deer are no different.
As they always did, a group of about 12 to 15 does and fawns came to graze in the hay field about 70 yards away. The little buck was still under my stand near the decoy, so I figured that would only help to have a real deer there too.
After about twenty minutes of browsing closer and closer to my stand, the “boss” doe caught sight of my decoy. She stood still as a statue and looked at it for about ten minutes. “Oh great,” I thought. “Decoy was a bad idea”.
But after a few minutes of foot stomping and tail twitching, she went back to her grazing and her two fawns came out to play alongside my decoy. The rest of the does didn’t seem too impressed either. I think they know a fake when they see one.
Then, I saw that a buck had come into the middle of the does; a big bodied six point with a small rack. He caught sight of the decoy, and in he came.
Here’s my theory: male deer are a lot like male humans. If a guy walks into a bar and is suddenly surrounded by EVERY woman but one, he’s going to want to walk over to that one woman and find out what’s going on. It doesn’t matter that he has 10 or 20 others. Well, this buck was surrounded by does, but when he saw my decoy all by herself, he just had to investigate.
It was an interesting experiment using the decoy. I have a feeling that it may work better in the rut, and I’m curious to see if there’s a different reaction if I stick antlers on my decoy. A bear came underneath my stand, and he totally ignored it as if it wasn’t even there.
Still not sure what I think of it, I may have to try it a second time around and see what happens. Sent my dad an email to see what he thinks of it, since he knows about this sort of thing!! (He has about a 30 year head start on hunting experience). I wonder what Mr. Big would do if he saw my fake deer?