Spotting a mature whitetail buck locked down with a doe can elevate the heart rate in an instant. There is always a high level of anticipation of what is to come when you have this scenario...and a Heads Up Whitetail Buck Decoy in your hand.
At Heads Up Decoy, it is our belief that a whitetail buck with a doe singled out away from the "crowd" is the single most vulnerable situation a buck can be in. His desire to protect his doe is greater than any level of..."common sense". It is why we believe our decoy and this technique we first developed many years back can result in a close encounter nearly every time...if it's done right.
2010 was the first time we attempted and succeeded with this set up. Here are a few things we've learned over the years.
1. Stay Calm. Collect your emotions before you go "guns a blazin" into this set up. Take a moment. Slow it down. Like a great athlete in a sporting event you need to slow your heart rate. To often people see what we've done and think we simply moonwalk into this set up and the buck is going to prance in for a 10 yard broadside shot. Done right...this can happen. This doesn't mean go slow or don't react quickly to the situation...what we are saying is...don't be sloppy. There is a process.
2. Don't give away your hand. One of the most common mistakes. This is a spin off of the above tip. Too often customers show the decoy too early and from too far and then move in. There are times when this can work...but seldom. DO NOT show the decoy until you are inside the bubble! The bubble is as close as terrain will allow from 40 yards to 140 yards. Keep in mind, you need to also consider a mature whitetail buck is not going to react well if you spring up 20 yards from him like a jack in the box. Be careful...there is a buffer. Trust me...if you are 40 yards and you grunt or snort wheeze he will come find you.
3. Don't spook the doe. This is part of the 2 tips from above. Spooking the doe can spoil the hunt faster than a wind switch. This is where you need to make sure you don't go blazing in showing the decoy from too far and thinking you'll be able to moonwalk into bow range. Use terrain, wind, noise to get into that bubble range where you are a real threat to stealing his doe. We've killed one buck when we actually spooked the doe...we lucked out. It was the right set up and we didn't give up. Shot him at 15 yards coming after he snort wheezed at the decoy mounted to the bow.
4. The spoiler. The dreaded satellite buck. He's the guy that will make a bowhunter go crazy in this set up. The satellite buck keeps the mature buck from leaving his doe. He will close some...but he generally won't completely commit. Too many "roosters in the hen house" you might say. We've improvised a few times on this set up. Generally our shots are longer...30+ yards and we have to work harder and slower to get to them. In this situation, we often wait to see if the satellite buck will wonder off before we go in.
5. Calling. Don't go into this set up without a grunt tube. Once you are set up and ready. Show the decoy and send out a single grunt. If he doesn't react...give him another until he hears you or acknowledges you. 95% of the time, this is all it will take...HOLD ON. If for any reason you get an awkward delay after he's looking...give him a soft snort wheeze. Don't let him off the hook. Make him make a decision on your terms. We have killed multiple bucks when we've let out a soft snort wheeze. We do this with our mouth.
6. The Shot. When a buck does the deal like we see them on a regular basis, your shot will not be long. Generally inside of 20 yards. Expect a quartering too or frontal shot. Chill...they will be close. If you can keep your cool you will be able to execute the shot. The buck will be so pissed off he may not stop until you shoot him.
7. The set up. Get in undetected...THE MOST IMPORTANT PART...nock your arrow. Get organized. Show the Heads Up Whitetail Buck Decoy. Either have a hunting partner hold the decoy, put it in the bow mount, or clamp it to something solid in front of you. Make sure the first thing he's gonna see when he looks is the RACK and face of the decoy. Give him a single grunt. Do not get in a hurry. If he's coming...he's coming and you can draw easy...now it's up to you.