QUESTION: I hunt in central Texas and was considering getting a deer decoy. Which is most effective for pulling in big bucks --- buck or doe decoy?
- Lynn P. Austin, TX
ANSWER: This is a topic I covered in depth in Buckmasters a while back (Decoying for Bucks, October, 2008). Either one will work. During the breeding season males are hopped up on testosterone and their behavior is driven principally by two things: companionship and competition. A doe represents companionship, another buck competition. In my experience the latter tends to draw a stronger reaction (at least with decoys - probably because a doe decoy doesn’t smell of estrus), particularly from an older buck.
However, this is one of those cases where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Combine a buck and doe decoy -positioned so it appears the buck is chasing, and about to mount the doe - and the reaction will be much stronger than either decoy alone.
In either case consider shot angle. A buck will typically approach another buck, or a buck decoy head-on; and is more likely to approach a doe from the rear. Position decoys so they offer the best shot angle for your weapon - gun or bow.