Bow hunters frequently use decoys for drawing in and hunting their intended prey. Decoy use is a time tested method of bow hunting, with some of the earliest indicators of decoy use going back centuries in Asia, Scandinavia, and in the Americas. Todays modern decoys may be made from high tech materials but serve the same purpose as their forerunners. Keep in mind these decoy do’s and don’ts on your next hunt.
One of the biggest no-nos to avoid when it comes to decoys is having them infused with the wrong scent. Decoys should be transported in a trunk or truck bed, away from humans. When handling the decoys, be sure to use gloved hands and avoid getting your scent on the decoy. These scents can actually deter prey from coming in closer. Also, avoid allowing any pet contact with the decoys as the scent of dogs and pets are deterrents for most prey that bow hunters go for.
Don’t position decoys in places where the prey would not ordinarily gravitate towards as the decoys will not be effective. Examples of this include placing elk or moose decoys in open spaces, which they tend to avoid. Improperly placed decoys also scare away certain prey animals as they sense a disturbance in their natural rhythms, sending them away from the area. With decoys, think like your prey and ask where would they naturally go.
Get animal scent from supply stores or urine of the prey animals and apply it on and around the decoys liberally. The scents draw in the animals and put them at ease when approaching the decoys. Also, to prevent human scent from taking away from the effectiveness of the decoys, set the decoys up where your scent will not waft toward them. Position yourself upwind from the decoys, to keep the scent as free from human smells as possible.
Position decoys in areas where the prey animals naturally gravitate such as river banks, near water sources, or if in the woods, near openings in trees, or near rock caves and areas where their prey may seek shelter. Use the positioning along with the scents to make the decoys as effective as possible. Stay just far enough away from the decoys so you have a solid range for the prey but not so close as to cause any disturbance to the decoy area.
When used improperly they are actually distractions for the prey, causing them to run away. However as long as you use decoys correctly, they are a great tool in the hunter’s box of tricks.