Hunting deer can be a frustrating experience. You may have all of the camouflage, cover scent and attractant that you need, but there is still no guarantee that you’re going to lure one in.
Deer are very clever animals, with senses that are engineered to alert them to anything that seems out of the ordinary, and make them bolt as soon as they feel something isn’t quite right.
They also have trusted areas that they visit time and time again, and don’t tend to venture into unknown territories without having a really good reason to do so.
So, just how can you draw a deer into your chosen hunting area? Well, alongside the rest of your hunting gear and attractants, deer decoys are a great way of convincing a deer that it’s safe to enter.
Designed in such a way that they’ll believe another deer is already safely grazing on that land, a deer decoy will give you a good chance of encouraging them closer to you, allowing you to get that perfect shot and bagging yourself a buck!
As with all hunting equipment, there are countless options to choose from, so we’ve done the hard work for you and listed five of the best deer decoys available, along with a buying guide that will help you find the right decoy for your hunting needs.
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Best Deer Decoys - Comparison Table
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Best Deer Decoys - Reviews
Designed to look exactly like a whitetail buck, the Scarface decoy from Primos Hunting is perfect for drawing deer into your hunting area and making them feel at ease upon approach.
What makes this decoy so brilliant, is that it is engineered to move without the need for noisy motors or any manpower. The slightest breeze will make the head and the tail sway, which makes it seem even more realistic to other deer that it entices into the vicinity.
Also, if you’ve been stalking a buck for a couple of days and have become familiar with his territory, placing this realistic decoy will encourage the buck to investigate further as he will believe there’s an intruder on his territory that he will want to challenge.
Vigorously tested and able to withstand even the harshest weather conditions, this decoy is great for hunting in all types of environments. It’s even easy to transport as the head, ears, antlers and legs can all be detached and stored in the soft body cavity.
On top of all of this, the removable antlers allow you to transform this buck decoy into a doe, so you can use it alongside an estrus scented attractant, and lure in bucks during breeding season. Before you leave, why not check out our best deer hunting repellent guide - and see what our top picks are.
Consisting of two separate decoys, one doe and one buck, the Dream Team from MONTANA DECOY doubles your chances of drawing in deer.
Modeled using an HD photograph of real whitetail deer, which is then printed on weather resistant fabric, these decoys offer a new level of realism that you can’t get with plastic models.
Either use separately to lure in a buck looking to mate, or use as a team to create a realistic looking grazing environment. With a multitude of options and positions, this duo of decoys is perfect for anybody wanting to attract deer to their hunting site.
Both decoys fold flat, which makes storing and transporting them super easy, and they can even fit into a hunting pack! When the time comes to place them out in the field, their metal frames also allow you to set them up in a matter of seconds. We have also reviewed the best deer hunting gear, so check them out as well.
This super durable, 3-D molded decoy from Flambeau is modeled on an 18 month old doe, and has been created in an anatomically correct posture to encourage bucks to come and investigate during the rutting season.
When placing out in the field, you have a choice of two interchangeable ear positions (submissive and alert) which allows you to realistically create different looks and draw in bucks all year round.
There is also a peg on the rear leg to which you can attach an attractant scented pad to help increase your chances.
The legs are also removable, which doesn’t only make them easy to store and transport in the main body, but also gives you the opportunity to create the illusion of a doe in a seated position.
Customers that purchased this deer decoy have commented that they got amazing results from it, with bucks circling and even mounting time and time again throughout the hunting season. Check out our review of the best deer decoys for more top picks.
This tail decoy from Primos Hunting can either be attached to a model decoy to give a realistic tail wagging movement, or can be placed on a tree trunk or post to give the illusion of a deer’s presence.
Operated using a simple remote control, you have the choice of two separate tail motion sequences that allow you to choose between a short tail twitch or a long tail twitch, adjusting the illusion of what the deer is doing.
The realistic tail movement will not only draw in curious deer, but will encourage them to approach the decoy with confidence and a lack of awareness, increasing your chances of getting a steady shot.
Customers that purchased this deer decoy were impressed with how realistic it looked when placed out in the field, and they were also impressed with the operational range of the remote control.
This deer decoy from MONTANA DECOY is modeled on a subordinate buck, and includes specific body language, such as pinned back ears, to entice a challenge from a bigger buck.
Designed using a smaller frame and no back hump, this incredibly realistic decoy is made using a HD photograph of an actual two year old buck, which helps to draw in larger males that wish to defend their territory.
The 2D design of this decoy also allows you to fold it down small enough to fit into your hunting pack with ease, taking the hassle out of having to carry a more cumbersome, plastic model around on your hunting trip.
People that previously purchased this decoy love how it encourages bigger, mature bucks into the hunting field and were very impressed with how easy it was to pack down and store for transportation.
Best Deer Decoys - Buyer's Guide
There’s no doubt about it, if you want to really increase your chances of enticing a deer into your hunting area then a deer decoy is an essential item to add to your hunting gear.
But, before diving in and buying the first one you come across, there are several things that need to be considered. We’ve outlined some key points below that will help you make a more informed decision, and find the perfect deer decoy for your hunting needs.
The more realistic looking a deer decoy is, the more likely it is to work effectively. Lifelike tails and simulated hair will trick a deer into thinking that the decoy is the real deal, and it will approach it with a sense of confidence and reduced alertness.
3D decoys give a realistic look from all angles, and will help to draw the deer in closer so it can investigate it thoroughly. Some 3D models also come with interchangeable features, such as ears and legs, which allow you to create a series of different positions and gestures on your decoy.
Some decoys are designed using 2-dimensional high-definition photographs, which offer the ultimate in realism. Not only are these decoys super realistic, but they also come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, from a grazing doe to a submissive buck, allowing you to recreate the best natural looking decoy for your needs.
Give some thought to how far away you’d like your decoy to be seen from. Bigger decoys are going to be more noticeable from a good distance, so if you’re trying to lure in a buck from afar then a larger once is going to be a better choice.
Smaller decoys need to be more strategically placed to get them to work, but are very effective in sparking a deer’s curiosity once they have been noticed.
There are loads of choices when it comes to the type of deer decoy you’d like, so it’s important to take some time and work out which one is going to best for you. And, of course, the time of year needs to be considered when thinking about which type you’d like as well.
The type of decoy you choose will ultimately come down to the environment that you are hunting in. Partial decoys and motorized tails will be great for heavily wooded areas where it would be difficult to naturally spot a deer.
However, if you’re out hunting in open fields then full sized decoys would be a better choice for providing a realistic replica of an actual deer.
It’s always worth looking for a decoy that features movement, as this will add to the realness of the illusion.
Some decoys are designed so that their heads and tails will move and twitch in the breeze, which creates lifelike movements that deer won’t find out of ordinary.
You can also get decoys that are realistic looking single parts of a deer, the tail for example, which come with a choice of different tail-twitching motions that will help to draw in inquisitive deer.
Durability & Stability
Your decoy will need to be able to withstand some extreme weather conditions, so give some thought to both the stability and durability of its construction.
Plastic, 3D models are usually really durable and can withstand heavy downpours and snowfall. However, it’s worth checking how heavy it will be once constructed, as a lightweight plastic could easily be blown over during high winds, completely ruining the illusion.
2D models tend to be made of lightweight metal frames with fabric bodies, which let the wind run through them without carrying them off, however heavier rainfall could saturate the fabric and could cause mildew and mold if not totally dried out before packing away.
Storage & Transportation
The chances are you're going to be trekking a fair distance on your hunting trip, and the last thing you need is to be hauling a great big decoy along with you for the duration of it.
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to look for a decoy that can be disassembled for easy storage and transportation. Plastic decoys often come with detachable limbs that can be stored inside the main body and then placed into a carry bag.
Metal framed fabric decoys are super lightweight so will not be such a strain to carry, and they can even be folded down into a really small size, making them suitable to store and transport in your hunting pack with the rest of your gear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a buck or a doe decoy better for hunting?
Both doe decoys and buck decoys are extremely effective in drawing in a deer, but which one you choose depends on the time of year you are out hunting. Buck decoys are the best choice to use during the pre-rut as mature bucks will be looking to defend their territories from intruders.
Once the breeding season has started, all a buck will be looking for is a doe, so this is when a doe decoy would be the best choice.
Do deer decoys actually work?
In a word, yes. No matter what time of year it is, a deer will not enter unknown territory without trusting it or having a good reason to do so. Placing a deer decoy tricks the deer into thinking the area is safe and encourages them in with a reduced sense of alertness.
A decoy will also keep the deer more focused on it, rather than on you, giving you the best chance of getting a killer shot.
Which way do you face a deer decoy?
If you’re using a buck decoy, it needs to be angled with its face pointing towards your hunting stand. This is because a buck will always circle downwind of it and then come in to face it head on, which then naturally puts the deer between your stand and the decoy and gives you a clear shot.
If you’re using a doe decoy then face it away from your stand, as a buck will be most interested in the hind quarters of it.
How can I enhance my deer decoy?
Using a deer attractant scent such as doe in estrus alongside your decoy will greatly improve your chances of drawing a deer into your hunting area. This can be sprayed all over the decoy, or there are models that have special pegs which allow you to douse a cloth in the scent and attach it to the decoy.