Using decoys to crossbow hunt big game isn’t a new tactic but it's one that's gaining in popularity.
Crossbow Hunting with Decoys
While they have been popular for rifle hunting, but crossbow hunting with decoys is another story as it presents unique challenges for the hunter. First of all, you need to get close to the animal which means there is a better chance of being winded. Second, big game animals such as deer are notoriously skittish and jumpy around anything which appears out of sort within their environment.
So there has always been the question of how the animal will respond and in what situations are decoys advantageous or disadvantageous. Here are couple tips to help to determine if decoys will work for you:
Surprise Surprise: When you’re not able to place your decoy in a highly visible area that can be seen from a distance then don’t risk it. The last thing you want is for your plastic pal to be hiding behind a tree only to scare the tines off your trophy.
Know Your Game: If you’ve had trail cameras out and can tell that the animal you’re dealing with is easily spooked or extremely timid you may want to keep the decoy at home. It’s hard to tell, but if the thought crosses your head don’t risk it.
The Right Decoy: Remember that the animal will think the decoy is real and will treat the situation as such. If you use a dominate male decoy then there is a good chance that small less dominate animals may avoid the area.
Overkill: You not hunting geese or ducks so there’s no need to fill your field with a plastic herd. One big game decoy is usually plenty.
Set It Don’t Forget It: Try to sneak your decoy in and set it up as quickly and quietly as possible. Then after your hunt take it down in the same manner. Whatever you do don’t leave the decoy out overnight or your cover could be blown.