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2-D Man Decoys
By Jack Baker
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.