Skip to main content

Deer-Decoy Tactics for Hunting Whitetails Through the Rut

Rut Crash Course: How to use decoys to draw big bucks within range.

It's clear that using decoys — whether they’re two- or three-dimensional models — can bring an entirely new (and effective) dynamic to your deer hunting.

That includes during the rut season, when the right decoy at the right place and time makes all the difference.


In the above episode of Crash Course, "Decoy Strategies During the Rut," host Mark Kayser breaks down how to use deer decoys effectively from mid-October into December.


2D Vs. 3D

Both styles have their pros, but also cons, Kayser said.

2D models, such as the one featured in the video from Montana Decoy Company, looks exactly like a deer because it's a photograph of a real deer. They’re lightweight to carry, and easy to pack and deploy, too.

The negative could be that since it's two-dimensional, a buck might lose sight of it from different angles. As a buck walks around the flat decoy, it could be spooked. Also, 2D decoys can get a little shaky when the wind picks up.

3D models, like the Flambeau Boss Buck, are not quite as realistic as 2Ds, but a buck will see it from all directions.

But 3D deer decoys can be bulky to move, so stashing them in the woods in advance is a smart approach.


Decoys During Rut

Most decoys will allow you to "change its sex" by removing/adding antlers, allowing you to change the gender of the decoy to correspond with what's going on in a buck's mind.

In the pre-rut and early rut (late October-early November), a young buck decoy is what Kayser recommends. Bucks aren't ready to breed yet, but they're full of adrenaline and testosterone and very territorial. They're in a fighting mood and looking for other males.

Transform the decoy into a doe as the rut comes on and bucks are looking to hook up. In the post rut (late November into December), a doe decoy also is best as bucks are looking for that one last fling.

Recommended


Deer Decoy Setups

Kayser likes his decoy setups to be in timber, in little openings where deer will see them from 100, maybe even down to 50 yards. No matter where you set up, keep the wind directuion in mind.

"I don't like a deer, a buck, to see my decoy for too long," he said. "I'm not a huge fan of setting them on the edge of the field and having a deer walk all the way across that food plot or corn field, because the longer they look at a decoy that's not moving, they could get a little bit paranoid and spooky."

Learn more about deer hunting with decoys in the accompanying video.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Sometimes you have to fish a bait that allows you to cover a lot of water efficiently. When you're on the search for bass that have moved into deeper water off the bank and away from obvious holding spots, a swimbait can locate them.
Fishing

On the Search with Swimbaits

One of the best imitations of a wounded baitfish is the soft-plastic jerkbait, or fluke. A fluke darting just beneath the surface can be too much for a bass to resist. Rig it and fish it according to water conditions and cover to make this great bait even more effective.
Fishing

Fun with Flukes

There are three models in SPRO's Outsider crankbait series: 55 (runs 3-4 feet), 60 (7-9) and 80 (19-21). Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley goes over the specifics at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.
Fishing

SPRO's New Outsider Crankbait Series: First Look

Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley highlights the features of SPRO's new lures at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.
Gear

New Essential Series Spinnerbaits and Buzzbaits from SPRO

Syd Ribes with Sea Falcon highlights four new lures for saltwater fishing. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.
Gear

New Lineup of Lures from Sea Falcon

Syd Ribes highlights two new saltwater lures from SPRO: Flutter Tail Shrimp and Cannon Ball Jig. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.
Gear

New Saltwater Lures from SPRO

AFTCO's Matt Florentino highlights the features of the new Barricade cold-weather suit, a Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022 in Orlando. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.
Gear

New from AFTCO: Barricade Cold Weather Tactical Gear

Three-time ICAST Best of Category winner Bubba covers it all with new knives set. With Bubba's Matt Kinamore and Game & Fish's  Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.
Gear

4-in-1 Bubba Multi Flex Cutlery Kit

The innovative landing net will weigh and measure your catch while it's still in the net. Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.
Gear

Award-Winning Frabill Witness Net 'Keeps You Honest'

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now