Best Deer Decoys for Hunting Reviewed & Rated for Performance

There are many different factors which can lead to a successful hunting trip. Between the location, the time of the hunt and shooting equipment, these are some of the most important components which can lead to you catching a lot of different prey.  Another aspect, which can make any deer hunting expedition from a good one into a great one, is the use of hunting decoys. In this guide, we will take a look at some of the best deer decoys available on the market today.

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By Shelby Wallace:

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Featured Recommendations

Primos Scarface Decoy
  • Primos Scarface Decoy
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Resistant to all weather conditions
  • Price: See Here
Flambeau Masters Doe Deer Decoy
  • Flambeau Masters Doe Deer Decoy
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Adjustable head and neck
  • Price: See Here
Montana Decoy Eichler Elk
  • Montana Decoy Eichler Elk
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Comes with an instruction DVD
  • Price: See Here

With a deer decoy, the more life-like it looks and acts the greater success you will have.  The purpose of the decoy is to draw deer over closer to you, which should be better than setting up no decoy at all. One of the aspects which separate some deer decoys from others is the ability for some decoys to actually move or make a sound. This movement and sound will help draw some deer over; in addition to this, some deer actually wait to see if a decoy will actually make a sound or make a move before coming over. The older the deer is, the more suspicious it is towards deer that do not more. In order to help attract those kinds of deer overt you, you will need the decoys which either move or have sound.  In addition to this, how the decoy is set up is also vital towards your success.

More than any other animal, the location of your decoy is vital towards the success of the decoy. If you put your decoy too far out from where you are, then it won’t draw any animals near you. In fact, if you put a decoy in the wrong location, you could actually keep deer away from your position. Typically, the best places to set up your deer decoy are on the edges of any fields, as well as perched upon any hills. The decoy needs to be set up in a location where deer will actually see it, and not just happen to stumble upon it. The higher the deer decoy is set up, or the closer it can be placed to a high traffic area, the better success you will have.

Another aspect to ensure you have a deer decoy that works is making sure the scent is setup properly.  If the deer decoy has any kind of human odor on it, that odor will drive deer away faster than almost anything else.  You need to ensure your decoy is covered in the proper deer or doe scent, to help bring the other deer over to it.  If the scent is wrong, then your decoy will not perform at the level you want and will hurt your chances of finding the deer you want to shoot.

One other thing of note when it comes to setting up a decoy for a deer – the earlier in the season you put it up, the less successful you will be during the hunting season. It might be tempting to set up the deer decoy early, as you will have some success; however, the remaining deer will learn

7 Best Deer Decoys

 

1. Primos Scarface Decoy

1. Primos Scarface Decoy
This Buck decoy from Primos has the decoy in the natural tan color, so you can easily place this decoy in nature and have it fit in with the surroundings.
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This decoy has been tested to survive all different kinds of weather environments, so no matter how warm or cold or wet the weather is, this decoy is sure to perform at the highest level. The head and neck area is adjustable, so you can set up your decoy to attract the most deer possible.
Pros

Realistic look

Great paint job

Cons

The base could be more stable

2. Flambeau Masters Doe Deer Decoy

2. Flambeau Masters Doe Deer Decoy
This Doe decoy from Flambeau is made from a composite plastic material, so you can rest assured this decoy will last for a few seasons. There are a few adjustable components to this decoy, including the neck and head area, as well as the ears.
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These adjustable features allow you to set the decoy up in a few different poses, to add variety to how your decoy is set up. The rear legs also have pads on them so you can add different scents to help draw more deer into your area. The legs and head come off, and they can be stores inside the body of the decoy for easy transport.
Pros

Made from a plastic material

Accepts scent pads and deer calls

Cons

The body parts, especially the legs detach easily 

3. Montana Decoy Eichler Elk

3. Montana Decoy Eichler Elk
This multi colored Elk from Montana Decoy has leg poles on the bottom of it, in order for you to obtain the right height needed for your kill zone area. The design of this Elk was based upon numerous pictures of how Elk pose while in the wild, so you can feel assured this decoy will work in nature.
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Not only do you get the decoy, but this comes with a DVD, to give you different tools and tricks to set up the decoy properly. This decoy does fold down, so you can easily transport it back and forth, also allowing you to easily setup and take down.
Pros

Lifelike 

Easy to transport

Comes with a DVD instruction manual

Cons

High priced

4. Montana Feeding Elk

4. Montana Feeding Elk
This Elk decoy from Montana Decoy is designed to help you shoot more Elk during anytime of the hunting season. This Elk is designed around how an Elk would actually look while in the wild, making the realistic pose much more effective than just a standard decoy.
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This decoy is made from a brown material, and has the realistic joints and ears, giving you the necessary detail to be an effective decoy. This decoy only weighs 33 ounces, including the leg poles. It does not fold up, but it is easy to transport.
Pros

Lightweight

Made using real elk photos

Cons

Bad customer service

5. Dream Team Buck and Doe

5. Dream Team Buck and Doe
This Pair of decoys from Montana Decoy includes both a buck and doe, so you can choose which decoy is best for your needs. Both of these decoys come with a whitetail, to help blend in with most deer out in nature.
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Both of these decoys fold flat, so you can easily store them when they are not in use, while also being able to set them up in no time. These decoys can be used during anytime of the hunting season, in order to maximize their use.
Pros

Portable

Easy to set up

Cons

Pricy

6. Bow-mounted Mule Deer Decoy

6. Bow-mounted Mule Deer Decoy
We haven't found a product like this in our searches so we wanted to add it to our list. Quite simply it turns your bow into an actual decoy. Now we know what you're saying: "Yeah sure mount a deer head on my bow and I become a target." Well that's why there's orange safety straps that you can put place strategically all over the decoy. We're not completely convinced but in the spirit of open conversation we thought we'd throw it against the wall for all you bow hunters and see if you're interested. And listen, we know bow hunters need every strategic advantage they can get so perhaps this can help.
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Lightweight
It goes without saying that this baby is going to have to be lightweight. But at 10 ounces this decoy weights next to nothing. It's easily attachable to your bow and once in place has a plenty big shooting window to let your sight your target.

Durable Construction
This will last some time. It's made of a micro suede fabric that resists UV rays and drys quickly in bad weather. It attaches easily and collapses to a 10 inch diameter disc when it's time to store it away.

Cost and Value
This one comes in at about the midrange. It's not a full range decoy so it doesn't seem like it should have the same price point as some of our other products, but it is what it is. Fact is if you're a bowhunter and plan to be crawling around the bush all day, this is a unique product that might be what you need to give you an edge as you stalk dinner in the great outdoors.


Pros

• UV Resistant

• Easily Mountable

• Lightweight 10 ounces

• Built In Shooting Window

Cons

• Might be Mistaken for a Deer

7. Miss Muley by Montana Decoy

7. Miss Muley by Montana Decoy
Miss Muley is designed to give you a leg up in your hunt of the Mule Deer. While these big animals can seemingly be dense when it comes to running away from hunters, old bucks can sometimes seem incredibly wily and hard to find. That's where Miss Muley is designed to help. Rutting season can bring out the stupid in even the oldest smartest buck and this is one's a looker. It's big enough to show up in the field and surprisingly realistic so if you're in the quest for a big horned buck this might just be the hunting partner you need.
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Moves Easily
Mulies are big, and so is this decoy. And it's size is going to help you get the job done. But it's not much of a burden in the field. It folds up easily and stows away just as easily in a backpack.

2D Lifelike Photo
It does help that this stand is a photo of an actual Mule Deer. We believe realism counts. We're not completely sure the deer cares, but we care so let's just go with that.

Cost and Value
This one's a steal. Cheap, lightweight, mobile and effective. It's got all the adjectives we want in any product. But really it's not just about the prices because cheap doesn't matter if the thing don't work. We don't think that'll be a problem with Miss Muley.


Pros

• Folds Easily

• Travels Easily

• Easily Cinches onto Backpack

• Included lightweight Leg Poles

Cons

• A Bit Flimsy

When you are deciding upon what kind of decoy for a deer, there are certain aspects you have to keep in mind when making your determination.

First off, you need to determine how many deer decoys you need. There are certain situations which will call for only needing one decoy, but there will be other situations where it will be nice to have two or even three. The idea with the deer decoys is to help draw other deer over to you and into the kill zone you set up.  It’s never a bad thing to have two or three decoys, even if you only use one a time, so you can diversify your decoys so you don’t get trapped into only having one style, and having the deer learn what your decoy looks like.

Another thing to consider is if you want to have a decoy that is a buck, or a doe.  You will want your decoy to be the opposite of what kind of deer you hunt for; if you hunt for doe, then you should have a buck decoy and vice versa. There are some strategies which involve having a decoy of the same kind of deer you are hunting for, but those seem to work less often than having ones of the opposite sex. Especially since, at the beginning of hunting season, bucks are known to be looking for any kind of mate, so having a doe in this situation is ideal.

Depending upon when during the season you typically hunt will also then determine if you need to have a decoy which has motion or sounds on it. The earlier in the season you are, the less likely you will need motion or sounds. However, the later you get into the season, the more motion and sounds you should have, as the deer who have survived to this point need something extra to draw them over to your kill zone.

If you are hunting deer, it’s all about making sure the scent is correct. Ideally, you want the deer decoy to be downwind, so the scent carrier throughout the area you are hunting, in order to attract more bucks and does to your area. You have to make sure any human scent is off the decoy because if your scent is on the decoy, it will drive deer away from you. This is why you should be between 25 – 40 yards away from your decoy, up in your blind, to help ensure your own scent is not being carried into the kill zone area.

Remember that when choosing the best deer decoys for you, it is important to take into consideration not just the price of the decoys. Selecting the best deer decoy should also depend on your preferences when hunting (season, how much you move etc) so make sure you do choose the most beneficial decoy for you. With this guide, we hope we helped in making you choose the best deer decoy for you.

Happy hunting!

 

Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Deer Decoy

 

Season timing

The season in which you’re hunting can dramatically affect your deer decoy needs. From the choice of deer gender to the option of scent marking, the season makes the choice of what you can use for you. The season even affects the color choice of your decoy based upon the molting of the deer during your hunting season.

A deer’s coat is very adaptable, it provides camouflage and helps them to maintain their body temperatures. During the summer season, a deer’s coat will turn a reddish color and become more thin to help it stay cool. In fall a deer’s coat will go through a molting process caused by hormones changing which turns their coats a faded grey or brown color. Interestingly the environment a deer lives in can also affect this color changing process. A deer that lives in a wooded region will have a deeper color whereas a deer in a more agricultural region tends to take on a much lighter color.

The question of the ages, which gender deer decoy should you select? No one really has a definite answer and it often comes down to which gender you are trying to attract. Some hunters will even use both in order to ensure they can draw in their game. Most of the decoys on this list include the option to select a decoy of either gender.

With a sense of smell that is better than your average dog, a deer is capable of noticing the slightest changes in scent in their environments. Right out of the box deer decoys can possess a man-made and unnatural scent. Scenting a decoy is a phenomenal way to guarantee your decoys scent won’t be the reason your game avoids your hunting area. A few of the decoys I included on this list have options to add scent pads directly onto the decoys.

 

Traditional Decoys

The type of decoy you choose will make or break your hunt. Traditional deer decoys are a sound option. Renowned for their ease of use it’s almost as simple as setting it up and forgetting it. Your traditional deer decoy can work particularly well in densely wooded areas. The obscurity of the surrounding trees will help to keep your game from noticing its immobility.

The most redeeming aspect of the traditional deer decoy is hands down the reliability they offer. During a hunt, the last thing you want is a decoy you rely heavily on breaking with no way to quickly replace it. Each of the traditional decoys featured on this best of the list is very reliable and will withstand a significant amount of abuse from regular use.

With a hunt taking place in some of the most remote regions imaginable, portability is a vital trait needed in any good deer decoy. Traditional decoys can weigh in excess of 15 pounds making dragging them out to your blind more difficult. With this in mind, the traditional decoys I have chosen for this best of the list are all less than five pounds in overall weight.

While your average deer’s sense of sound is about the same as your standard human sense of sound their ability to move their ears allows them to pinpoint precisely where any unnatural noises are originating. Traditional deer decoys, with their simple design and immobility, are perfect for ensuring that your decoy won’t cause any noises you don’t want them to make. Furthermore, due to their silent nature, traditional decoys are ideal for using sound emitters and calling while using them. All of the traditional decoys on this list are virtually noise free.

While traditional deer decoys are great options they can be limiting. Their immobility is a double-edged sword that can also cause deer stare. When any deer is staring at something for too long the entire herd will take notice and become more cautious and vigilantly scan their surroundings for anything that is out of the ordinary. In trying to combat the dreaded stare a few of these decoys bob with the wind causing small movements.

 

Mechanical Decoys

The movement of a decoy is a very important aspect to consider. Deer are intelligent animals and will notice if the movement of a decoy seems abnormal. A decoy that can mimic realistic movements can mean all the difference in your hunt, and the listed decoys are very capable of accommodating that need.

Deer like many different animals use sounds to communicate with one another. Being able to draw in your game with lifelike deer grunts can help you immeasurably in finding that trophy deer you’re looking for. Some of the decoys singled out in this list feature call emitters making a more authentic appearance.

The wilderness can be treacherous and unforgiving and decoys can and will often be targeted by other outdoorsmen that are unaware of your blind. No matter the reason a deer decoy needs to offer replacement parts so should it become damaged it can be repaired. Various decoys on this list were picked for their ability to be repaired or replaced.

Mechanical decoys are very versatile and compliment many of your general needs.  While they do provide natural movement and calls they can also produce some irregular sounds as well. Any piece’s that collide while moving can make a noticeable sound and with a decoys sole purpose being to draw in your game you need a quiet option. Each of the decoys on this best of the list was selected because they produce no unnatural noises.

Aesthetics

The appearance of your decoy determines how your game will approach it and can affect where you place your decoy. Decoys that utilize a full legged design are very true to life representation of the deer and can be placed in open fields. However full legged models while embodying a lifelike, authentic, approach can be unstable on uneven surfaces. This imbalance can also generate a fair bit of synthetic noise while moving with the wind.

Some of the decoys included in this best of list use pole legs. Placing these in taller vegetation makes them blend into the area more effectively while allowing them to be placed on rough terrain and move with the wind freely. Pole legged decoys tend to be lighter in weight offering a unique added benefit.

With the coloring of your decoy being as important as the gender of the decoy, it is critical to have decoys that accurately matches the coat of your game during your season. For a diversity of options, I picked only decoys that offered both color options and use appropriate color schemes.

 

Bang for your buck

Hunting trips can be quite costly, from food and boarding to tags and all the apparel a key trait I strove to balance was affordability. Additionally, I wanted to pick decoys that offered more features over a higher priced decoy that offered less functionality.

Over time regardless of the product, things tend to break down. Repeated use and even bad luck can result in damage to your deer decoy. A manufacturer’s warranty can help to keep you satisfied and ensures that the product will work or be replaced. Furthermore, it increases the value of the decoy you’re buying. The higher rated decoys on this list featured better warranties.

Hunting is an amazing sport with unique and difficult challenges. Unfortunately, though the seasons are few and far between. A decoy that can be stored easily and occupy minimal space was a primary focus when choosing the five best deer decoys.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are these decoys weather protected?

Answer: Over time and with enough wear, the product will eventually fade. Most of these deer decoys are made with materials that are very resistant to inclement weather making them suitable for using any climate.

Q: Are the antlers removable?

A: Removable antlers are a great way to quickly adjust the gender of your decoys. On this list, there are a few options that do support removable antlers and include plugs to fill the hole that is left behind from the antlers mounting point.

Q: Can any fit in a backpack?

A: While lightweight and very portable these decoys are sized to replicate a life-sized deer. These generally won’t fit in a standard backpack but may fit into a larger rucksack.

Q: Are they rain/waterproof?

A: While the products used to produce these decoys vary wildly, they are all rather resistant to water and rain.

Q: How tall are these decoys?

A: The shortest of the decoys on this list was in the 26-inch range and the tallest decoy on this list was around 47 inches. This allows each person to choose what best suits their height requirements.

Q: How heavy are these decoys?

A: Decoys need to be placed in extremely deep wooded areas so weight is a clear concern for any outdoorsmen. The decoys on this list are as light as 1.6 pounds while the heavier ones are nearly 5 pounds.

Q: Are they made of plastic or fabric?

A: All of the products on this list are made of plastic materials that are more capable of withstanding the elements during your hunt.

Q: Do they have problems standing in heavy winds?

A: The deer decoys are organized from the most stable to the least stable on this list with number 5 being the one that is the most concern when it comes to wind resistance.

Sources

  1. Real Tree, How to Decoy a Buck
  2. Montana Decoy, 5 Mistakes Hunters Make Using a Deer Decoy
  3. Bass Pro Shops, Deer & Big Game Decoys

 

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