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2-D Man Decoys
By Jack Baker

2-D Man Decoys

As an avid bowhunter, I'll use every trick in the book, no matter how crazy, to fool a deer's senses. This particular tip will help deceive their eyes.

How many times has a deer approached your stand only to suddenly notice you because it wasn't used to seeing a bulky shape there before?

Boom - you're busted!

When hunting from treestands — especially trees of a small diameter — I like to set up a life-sized human silhouette made of cut out plastic or thin plywood.

Deer get used to this human shape in their environment, so when you occupy your stand, they will be accustomed it and will pass by without spooking.

I've heard of hunters using mannequins and dummies to do this, but those are heavy, smelly and cumbersome. I make mine two-dimensional with hinges, which allows me to fold them up when I get into my stand. They're also waterproof and lightweight, so I can either tuck them away or hang them from a hanger and out of the way as I hunt.

I paint my 2-D man decoy with camouflage paint, because I want deer to think it's a natural part of the tree. It's the bulky shape that's important.

There are endless ways to design your man decoy. I've found that a little cushioning gives us old guys something to lean back on if designed to do so.

The man decoys also keep poachers away because my stands look occupied if they are spotted from a distance.

One last thing: just because deer get used to the bulky shape doesn't mean they won't bust you. Deer see movement!

Having deer at ease from the start help keeps them from spooking before you even draw your bow. That's where the 2-D man decoy comes in handy.


Scout for Success
To take a big buck, with a gun or bow, you have to know that buck. Good scouting is how you get acquainted. First look for the food. Deer have a lot to eat, and bowhunters often take big bucks by staking out hot food sources. During gun seasons, foo...
 

Reflections on Rattling
Rattling started in Texas and has spread across the country with mixed success. In well managed areas with a low doe-to-buck ratio, bucks must truly compete for available does, and rattling and other forms of deer calling are more effective. In area...
 

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The first hour of dawn and the last hour of dusk are the magical and highly productive deer hunting times. The white-tailed deer prefers the low-light periods surrounding sunrise and sunset. However, under some conditions, hunting in the middle of th...
 

Driving Deer Well
Deer drives can be an effective tool for a coordinated group of hunters to take deer during midday and other low-movement periods. Driving also helps root out “islands” of heavy cover where bucks seem to vanish during daylight hours. Safety and coord...
 

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The number one rule for taking a trophy buck is to not allow the buck to know he’s being hunted. That requires extreme caution, and it also requires not hunting in what others might consider to be the most promising spots. Start by studying the buck...
 

Post-Season Deer Scouting
Perhaps the most useful thing you can learn from post-season deer scouting is where the deer, and particularly the buck, end up. Get out right after the season is over and take a look. Once the hunting pressure slacks off, and certainly by the time s...
 

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Try to match the habits of the deer when calling. Grunting can be effective anywhere, any time. Many pros carry a grunt tube at all times, and for some it’s the only call they use. Try your call when you see a deer to see what kind of “music” your lo...
 

Next Year’s Deer
At the end of the season, you might stow your bow and/or gun, but you should get ready for the most productive and important scouting of the year. Winter and early spring offer incredible insight into deer, particularly into buck habitat and behavior...
 

Scrape Savvy
Scrapes are like email for sexually active deer. The buck paws out a clean area of soil, usually under an overhanging limb, and urinates in it. If a receptive doe comes by, she also urinates in the scrape. When the buck returns to “check his mail,” h...
 
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