10 Tips For Using a Deer Decoy

If not used properly, decoys can hamper your chances of getting a shot at a buck, especially the mature bruisers that have been around for a few seasons and seen a thing or two. Here are a few tips we’ve found useful over the years while using a Montana Decoy.

If You Have It, Use It 

Can you count on one hand the hunting equipment you’ve purchased over the years that is sitting in the closet collecting dust? Us too. It’s inevitable. If you purchase a deer decoy from Montana, we want you to be 100% satisfied, so if you have one, go use it. You never know when that buck of a lifetime wants to come closer to investigate.

Right Decoy, Right Time 

Be sure you’re using the right decoy for the right phase of the season. During the early pre rut is probably not the best time to use Estrus Betty though she works well late pre rut and of course during the peak. Instead use The Freshman, which will entice other bucks to come check him out, maybe spar a little. Dreamy Doe works well throughout the entire season, adding a certain comfort level when other deer see that a mature doe is hanging around.


Proper placement of the decoy is vital to success. Make sure it’s close enough for a shot, but not so close that it might expose your location when you move or by giving away your scent. Remember that bucks are likely going to stalk up to another buck head on while they’d approach a doe from the rear.

Appropriate Calls 

Periodic grunting and/or snort wheezing, even rattling, will help grab the attention of deer within earshot. Once they come in to see what the commotion is about, the decoy will help seal the deal.

Add Movement

If you find yourself on a stalk, but the buck you’re after isn’t paying attention to the decoy, add some movement by raising it up and down. Most dominant bucks won’t stand for a lesser more inferior buck to invade their territory. Here is where the Quickstand is a very useful tool to have, especially if you’re hunting by yourself. Once the buck commits, stake the decoy with the ease that only the Quickstand can provide, and get ready.

Use it as a Shield 

This, too, pertains to stalking, but can also be a useful tactic when walking into a food plot where deer are already feeding. The ultra-realistic feature of the decoy provides great cover for stalking, hiding and preparing for the shot.

Know When To Draw 

After you’re set up has worked perfectly and a dream buck is stalking in to your decoy, be prepared to draw, but be sure you choose the right time. Luckily, that buck has devoted so much of his focus to the decoy you should have a bigger window to get ready for the shot.

Proper Scent

Deer have excellent noses, so utilizing estrus or buck urine to entice that sense of smell is a great way to draw in bucks that you might not have otherwise seen. Remember that using doe estrus outside of the rut is unnatural and will only hurt your chances. During the pre rut, try buck urine, making it appear that The Freshman is trying to establish himself as the dominant deer in the area. Also, take care to wash away any human scent by washing the decoy with scentless soap and even covering it with pine needles for a day or so.

Bedded Pose 

Using The Freshman and Dreamy Doe in a bedded position, as if he’s claimed her as his own, is a great combination to use during the peak of the rut. As we’ve mentioned, this just won’t sit well with a dominant buck. Light calling works well here though placement is paramount as you’ll see in the video.

The Herd

This tactic conveys safety in numbers. A mature whitetail buck doesn’t make it through multiple seasons by being careless. Instead, he exudes ultimate caution and a herd of deer in a food plot will make him feel more comfortable about going to feed. Plus, bucks haven’t thought about much else than does over the last few weeks and are looking to recharge on whatever food sources they can find. Montana Decoys are the only decoys that allow you to pack in a "herd" without making multiple trips.

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