Ask The Biologist

It’s a Guy Thing

It’s a Guy Thing

By Bob Humphrey

Buck decoys seem to draw more attention in more situations.

QUESTION: When hunting during pre-rut or the rut, is a doe or a buck decoy more enticing? – Jim

ANSWER: If I had to pick one or the other, I would opt for a buck in both situations. During the pre-rut, before does start coming into estrus, bucks are still working out and maintaining the dominance hierarchy within the local herd. They usually have things pretty well sorted out by the time hunting season arrives, but things change on a daily basis.

As bucks begin to travel farther in search of the first does, they enter the home ranges and core areas of bucks they’ve not been around previously, and any stranger deserves a closer look, even a decoy.

As the rut kicks in, bucks become increasingly intolerant of one another and are even more likely to approach another perceived rival. While they may also be more inclined to approach a doe, my experience has been that they look for other cues, like scent, behavior and body language from a doe. Set up a buck-and-doe decoy pair, and things really get interesting as you’ve now introduced competition, which is often a stronger attractant.

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