Stake a Fake: 4 Different Decoy Setups for All Season Long

by Scott Bestul

Early Season

Bucks are working out a pecking order now and will be curious about any intruder. Stake a fake with a small- to medium-size rack in a feed field, facing toward the most likely entry trail. A big buck will interpret the fake's steady stare as a challenge.

Pre-rut

With bucks covering more ground, now is the time to stake a buck decoy in a known travel corridor or funnel and rattle or call cruising bucks in for a look. Set up upwind of a barrier (fence, creek, cliff) that will prevent an incoming buck from circling downwind.

Rut

During the breeding season, bucks only pay attention to other buccaks when a doe comes between them. So place a bedded doe in a visible spot with a small buck decoy standing nearby. Snort-wheeze to challenge incoming bucks.

Post-rut

It's mostly about food now, so set up a buck-and-doe feeding pair in a hot food source like a picked corn or soybean field. This will give an approaching buck confidence that the field is safe, and if he still has the breeding urge, he'll move in to challenge your "buck."

From the August 2012 issue of Field & Stream magazine.