Using a Deer Decoy in a Food Plot

Last week I set a plan that, based on what I had seen the weekend before, should have been money in the bank.  The deer had been coming to rattling the weekend before so I was going to deploy a deer decoy in a food plot this weekend to further entice the bucks to enter the plot as they responded to my rattling.  All I needed was the right wind and the right weather, both of which started to come together as the end of the week approached.  The weather was calling for a cold, crisp, morning with a south based wind and it looked like all the pieces of my plan were falling into place.

Thursday afternoon I took an old 6pt rack off the garage wall and cut the antlers off the skull plate.  They would be the rack for Roy, our 3D target turned decoy for the weekend.  I had been calling him Roy the 3Decoy and I was hoping that he would be the visual assurance that the bucks needed to walk out into the plots this weekend.  I wasn’t so sure that throwing him out there with his standard 150” rack would be a wise move so I set up my 6pt rack to fit him.  I was hoping he would be a bit less intimidating that way and draw in some bucks for me.

Here you see Roy, the 3Decoy, waiting in the Plateau Plot for the action to get under way.
Using Deer Decoys in Food Plots

Friday morning was a magnificent morning straight out of a hunters dream; the weather was cold, the air was crisp and the frost was thick.  I just knew my plan was going to come together even better than I could have ever imagined.  I got Roy positioned out in the plot and climbed up into the stand.  I was so confident in my plan that I even brought my video camera and camera arm to get all the action on tape as it unfolded.

As light broke over the eastern sky I could barely contain my excitement.  It wasn’t a matter of “if” in my mind, it was a matter of “when”.  As I sat and watched daylight fill the food plot I was excited and anxious for that first deer to appear.  I couldn’t believe it when I hadn’t seen anything in the first 30 minutes of light so I grabbed the antlers and started a rattling session.  It had worked perfectly the week before and I had high hopes of it working just as good this morning.

By the time 10:30 rolled around my confidence was a bit shaken.  I had sat through the best weather morning of the year in one of our better stands and had gotten skunked.  It was my first skunk of the year and while I had no illusions of going all season without at least a few empty sits I certainly didn’t think this morning would be one of them.  It was just too perfect out there to get skunked.

As I left the stand I realized that this was a good reality check and a reminder that last week’s bonanza isn’t going to happen every weekend.  This is what hunting is about, taking the highs along with the lows and still enjoying being out there.  It was a reminder that mornings like this are what make the good sits even better.  While it was definitely disappointing to get shutout on such a seemingly good morning, I took it as a reminder from the deer god’s and moved on.

That evening the winds were out of the SW which is a good wind for a few stands on the Plateau Plot but I didn’t really want to go back there after the slow morning hunt.  After some deliberation (and some studying of the cow’s travel patterns) I decided that the River Stand would be my afternoon perch.  The cows were heading away from it and being that it hadn’t been sat since opening weekend I decided to give it a shot.

It was a good hunt and would end up being my best hunt of the weekend in terms of sightings.  I ended up seeing 7 deer total, all of which were does and fawns.  One doe and fawn were in the little patch of woods that the stand is in for about an hour or so milling about and browsing.  She was a good looking doe and I decided that if she got to about 25yds or closer I would have a decision to make.  As dark got closer she worked towards me but never got within about 40yds so there was no decision for me to make.  She worked her way behind me and out to the pasture.

Seeing those deer Friday night got me back into the right frame of mind and come Saturday morning I excitedly headed back to the Plateau Plot and broke out Roy to try my decoy set up again.  The weather wasn’t as good as the prior morning and once again the deer continued to foil my plan.  I got skunked again Saturday morning and left the tree really shaking my head.

Two straight mornings with no deer out on our plot was not what I was expecting to run into this weekend.  This was supposed to be the start of all the rut fun.  Last weekend was rocking and rolling with deer everywhere so naturally this weekend was going to be even better as we moved to the end of October.  Apparently the deer god’s thought I was getting a little be ahead of myself and took this chance to remind me that things aren’t nearly as easy as they appear to be in the deer woods.

One highlight of the weekend was hanging and sitting a new stand for the first time.  We had gone back and forth on this stand site for a while now as there are two good spots in this area but you can’t really hunt them both from one tree.  There is the intersection of our walking trail and a heavily used deer run.  Then to the south of that you have the northern edge of our cedar sanctuary as well as a finger of thick cover that comes out from the NW corner of the sanctuary.  The finger area creates a nice little corridor that is full of runs and our spring shed hunting usually reveals several rubs in the area as well.

These two areas are spread far enough apart that with a bow you can’t sit in one spot and hunt both, we would have to choose which features to hunt.  To add to the dilemma the only trees in the area are wide open or super crooked meaning there aren’t a whole lot of trees that you look at and say “that’s the one”.

In the end I decided to set the stand so we could hunt the intersection of the walking trail and the deer run.  The stand is now appropriately called “The Intersection”.  This section of our woods is always crazy thick and overgrown in the summer but by this time of the year it is laid down quite a bit.  While The Intersection is in a good spot to get deer close it will also be a good observation point for us as well.  We’ve already said that if we see more action near the cedars/finger than this stand will be moved but for now it’s up and staying where it’s at.

It’s hard to see but the walking path and deer run intersect just beyond the multi trunk tree in the middle of the photo.
deer decoys

Behind the stand you see the cedars to the left and the start of the finger running off to the right.  The stand may end up moving closer to the cedars depending on what movement and activity is seen.

deer decoy

On the way to the stand Saturday afternoon I bumped a buck out of his bed.  In the few quick glimpses I got of the buck as he took off I thought it may have been Corners, the 10pt I’ve been chasing this season.  We have trail cam pictures of him in this area and he was bedded right near a nice rub we found earlier in the year.  In past years we have had stands in this same general area and had issues bumping deer out on the way in for afternoon hunts.  We may have to make this a morning stand to avoid pushing deer out all the time.

This picture of Corners was taken out in front of The Intersection stand as he crossed the walking trail.
deer stand

I headed home Saturday night a little disappointed in the way things had gone over the last few days.  I had some high hopes and a pretty good game plan but came out of the weekend with my worst hunts of the season to show for it.  It’s hard to really complain about any time spent hunting though and I didn’t stay disappointed for long.

We are into the thick of it now.  Halloween has come and passed and the prime of the season is suddenly upon us.  This isn’t the time to sit around and whine about last weekend’s disappointments.  It’s the time of year to form a new plan and get back out in the woods!!  I will be doing just that this weekend and hope to put last weekend’s slow reminder behind me.

Take care and thanks for reading!!!

1 Comment on Using a Deer Decoy in a Food Plot

  1. Persistence will pay off especially in the next few weeks.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*