Cow decoy worth it for a solo hunter?

Gerbdog

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Jun 8, 2020
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Ive taken them with me, as mentioned the doubling back kind of sucks and i tend to move a lot while hunting too. I'm sure slowing down can only help but... i suck at that.

Second thing that deterred me last year from bringing it was that i really didnt want someone to arrow/shoot me thinking i was an elk, i usually have it strapped to the back of my pack. This year i may try it again since im bringing some orange along in the setup.
 

elkbowhuntr

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Nov 19, 2017
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Idaho
I'm always moving too much to try and use decoys behind me. They'd get left behind. I would think they'd be a better option with another guy that hangs onto it behind you. Then you don't have to worry about it at all.
I agree; I have several decoys and I just don't see how anyone has the time to set up a decoy (even the Montana Style). In my experience elk hunting is so fluid and dynamic I don't have time to mess with one. I for one don't have the time to deploy and repack the damn thing on the fly. How do you guys do it?
 

EVD

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Second thing that deterred me last year from bringing it was that i really didnt want someone to arrow/shoot me thinking i was an elk, i usually have it strapped to the back of my pack. This year i may try it again since im bringing some orange along in the setup.

Years ago I hunted with a guy who shot a decoy with his trad setup. Luckily the person using the decoy was off to the side. Surprising that it happened, and that he told us about it back at camp.
 

bigjohn2

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Montana is the one I’ve always had, hate the stakes! String is a great redesign.
 
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Jens22

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Years ago I hunted with a guy who shot a decoy with his trad setup. Luckily the person using the decoy was off to the side. Surprising that it happened, and that he told us about it back at camp.
Woah! Haha. Better check his prescription
 
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Jens22

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I have wrestled with this question For 16 years consecutively. Take a decoy don’t take a decoy. Our first season out we had a decoy with us and Archery killed a bull without the decoy.
We were moving, headed for the truck when opportunity arrived. Set up was fast no decoy was used. Success was had.

I think my big hangup for me is that I love to hunt thick cover black timber only pretty much. For several years now. I’m always concerned that When Elk come in that the decoy may spook them because they will be so close when they notice the decoy. Any thoughts?
Yeah that makes sense! This tag is in a desert mountain unit here in New Mexico, varies from super thick aspen/pines/furrs to very open Douglas furr forests. So I may have some opportunities with it. Decided ill bring one🤘 thanks guys
 

bigjohn2

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In response to 5 miles back. Ocationaly still hunt, but mostly I sneak in to my spot with wind in my face. Usually arrive in dark. Brush myself in and wait the day. Sometimes go in for lunch & hike back in for evening sit. Much like a whitetail hunt.
I have several of these spots. May hunt one in morning & a different one in evening. Requires patience, but it’s just an ambush over a waterhole, etc.
 

Recurve Man

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Jan 15, 2022
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I made my own out of 1/4 plywood. It is a rump decoy that folds in the middle. Slips right in my pack. I shoot a recurve and have to have them looking for something. I've had cows cows come right to it also. I love my cheap decoy.
 

TreeWalking

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PaBone

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I've never tried one, but just bought the Montana RMEF decoy. I don't like the added weight of the stakes, but it fits in my pack and pretty easy setup. I added some tape to the metal part of the stakes to quiet them down when pulling them out of the sack. I'm hunting early with probably heat, smoke and full moon and not concerned about bugling. I have some good wallows in or near bedding areas that I'm hoping will hold some elk. Probably won't move much early season once I'm on elk and I think sitting patiently near wallows with my decoy will be my plan.
 

Jaquomo

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Some movement in the decoy is 100x better than a static decoy. Show it, turn it, make it disappear, and have a plan for where to move to a shooting spot after the bull is coming. He will come to where he last saw it. I have a half dozen different ones and they sometimes work and sometimes don't. when static. Sometimes they just ignore it if it is just sitting there. These days I only use the Stalker bow mount decoy, and my homemade cow elk decoy hat. The decoy hat has been golden over the years.
 

Gerbdog

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Some movement in the decoy is 100x better than a static decoy. Show it, turn it, make it disappear, and have a plan for where to move to a shooting spot after the bull is coming. He will come to where he last saw it. I have a half dozen different ones and they sometimes work and sometimes don't. when static. Sometimes they just ignore it if it is just sitting there. These days I only use the Stalker bow mount decoy, and my homemade cow elk decoy hat. The decoy hat has been golden over the years.
I think i hunt too much public land to ever consider an elk decoy hat... i think it would up the % chance someone would arrow or muzzle loader me by a substantial amount that i'm just not sure i'd take that risk. That said.... i can see the benefits and wisdom in your post. It makes sense and i'll bet it works
 

CMF

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Mississippi
I haven't used one, but I thought that the one that attaches to your bow may be worthwhile for post-rut archery hunts or just a spot/stalk archery hunt. Last year on the last day of Montana archery I stalked within 30 yds of 2 bulls just inside some timber. They started watching me about 100yds out, but I kept giving cow calls and putting trees between us. I ended up getting a shot off, but hit a limb and they busted out. It was at last light, and I think they just couldn't see well enough. I don't think it would have worked if it would have been any more light out.
 

Jaquomo

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I think i hunt too much public land to ever consider an elk decoy hat... i think it would up the % chance someone would arrow or muzzle loader me by a substantial amount that i'm just not sure i'd take that risk. That said.... i can see the benefits and wisdom in your post. It makes sense and i'll bet it works
I NEVER use any decoy or hat during muzzleloader season. I only use the decoy hat in specific situations, as needed. And where I hunt on public land in CO and WY, the bowhunter density is really low because they are awful places to hunt, generally (massive deadfall, beetlekill, etc.) I figure my chances of getting injured are greater when driving to and from hunting, than from decoying elk.

Try some stuff. Different things. Find what works for you. Not a silver bullet but can be pretty awesome when it comes together
 

Laramie

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We have killed a few bulls with a decoy deployed. I honestly believe it really only made the difference on one of them. Solo I think they are a pia.
 

Elkfitness

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I always have the heads up cow decoy with me for solo archery. If I have the time, I set it up to the side and back of where I am. Even it if buys me a few yards, a few seconds of looking, it’s worth it. I’ve only shot one , maybe two bulls where i think it worked, but for me the distraction/attraction it might provide is worth it. At the very least it helped my confidence. What I do may not be right, but I like the idea of a elk coming in and seeing something that might look like at elk to take the focus of me.


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bigjohn2

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Jul 12, 2022
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I always have the heads up cow decoy with me for solo archery. If I have the time, I set it up to the side and back of where I am. Even it if buys me a few yards, a few seconds of looking, it’s worth it. I’ve only shot one , maybe two bulls where i think it worked, but for me the distraction/attraction it might provide is worth it. At the very least it helped my confidence. What I do may not be right, but I like the idea of a elk coming in and seeing something that might look like at elk to take the focus of me.


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Reading through these posts what I love the most is all the ingenuity/creativity! That’s the American spirit. To often I’m uncomfortable getting out of my Rutt.

I’ve tend to try an ambush each year on a wallow that is in a gorge. I stay up on Platou where I’m just out of sight. At times bulls do a quick check on wallow or they give no shot op. Mayby placeing a decoy down in the gorge few yards or do from waters edge would offer the distraction I’m seeking.
Any thoughts?
 

SEIdaho Hunter

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Jun 22, 2020
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The Montana cow elk decoys fold up nicely and weigh next to nothing. I always have it my pack. If it can keep the bull distracted for an extra few seconds, its worth packing.
 
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