Not all hunters use decoys for deer hunting, and they are certainly not necessary for a successful hunting season. That said, in our experience, the use of decoys can make deer hunting a lot more fun. Plus, they are also very effective, especially when combined with deer scents and deer calls. For this buyer’s guide, we tested and compared a number of new and popular deer decoys. We came up with a shortlist of five deer decoys that we consider to be the best deer decoys to buy in 2022. The things we look at are portability, materials, realism, and overall effectiveness.
In a Hurry? Here are our Top Picks
Best realistic deer decoy: Primos Scarface Decoy
Best Bang for Your Buck: Flambeau Master Series Deer Decoys
Best standing cutout Deer Decoy: Montana Trixie
Best Peeing Doe Deer Decoy: Montana Estrus Betty
Best Deer Stalker Decoy: Ultimate Predator Whitetail Deer Doe Stalker Decoy
Primos Scarface – Best Realistic Deer Decoy
The Primos Scarface is a realistic 3D deer decoy with a soft body cavity. The legs, head, and antlers are removable. The head and tail move with the wind for added realism. The scar on its face also adds realism. The posture of this decoy is one that bucks use continuously in all deer seasons, so once a buck sees this decoy in his area, he’ll definitely come in to investigate the intruder.
This decoy is very durable and able to withstand strong wind. It is held up by a stake that has three sharp points that you can drive into the ground with little effort required.
We highly recommend attaching the Primos Waggin’ whitetail for added realism. The device comes with remote control and is very easy to use. The tail makes this decoy even more realistic.
The only con of this deer decoy is that it is not large enough to intimidate that big mature buck. This is a relatively expensive decoy but because of its high-quality build and effectiveness. That’s why we placed it #1 on this list.
Flambeau Master Series Deer Decoys – Best Bang for Your Buck
These Flambeau deer decoys are great. You can get a large buck or a doe. You can change the positions of the doe’s ears to give her different attitudes and expressions, which is great to enhance realism. The fabric has a detailed photo image printed on both sides, this creates a 3-D effect which is what makes this decoy so uncanny and effective. It peaks even the wariest buck’s curiosity.
The decoys are both lightweight and durable due to their polyester fabric. Because they pack down so small and light, they pack easily into the most remote locations.
A spring-steel band inside the body pops the decoy open for fast, easy setup, and a simple twisting motion folds it for transport. The fiberglass tent-style poles with step stakes support the decoy during setup.
Montana Trixie – Best 2-D Deer Decoy
The Trixie from Montana is a great 2-D Whitetail Deer decoy that has two leg poles. Montana released Trixie back in 2021. This deer cover can fool both bucks and does. The combination of color, print quality and the included Teaser Tails give her realism, while the calming pose invites the deer closer.
Trixie is incredibly lightweight and portable. You can easily fold the leg poles of the Montana Trixie by twisting them in a figure-eight pattern until the decoy folds into a medium-sized frisbee.
This deer decoy also features two Teaser Tails for that just-right touch of motion and extra realism. They can be attached with magnets, you can apply scent and then replace one with a fresh tail as the season progresses.
Montana Estrus Betty – Best Peeing Doe Deer Decoy
The Montana Estrus Betty is a standing cutout 2-D decoy of a peeing doe deer. Setting up this standing cutout doe decoy within bow range is one way to avoid being mad at yourself as that trophy buck strolls away from your calls. This standing cutout decoy is lightweight, portable, and very easy to set up. It is also a durable 2-D decoy. The Montana Estrus Betty is compatible with the Quickstand which is sold separately.
Ultimate Predator Whitetail Deer Doe Stalker Decoy – Best Deer Stalker Decoy
These Stalker Decoys from Ultimate Predator’s line of Stalker Decoys are very efficient stalker decoys for deer hunting. Deer expect movement when they see this decoy that is mounted on top of your bow. The animals don’t spook nearly as readily as without a good stalker decoy. The portable decoy allows you to shift your position for the perfect shot, rather than waiting for them to move.
The Ultimate Predator Stalker Decoys have a built-in shooting window and blaze orange safety straps. They are of course very lightweight and easy to transport and carry. They are also durable. We had a lot of fun with these stalker decoys and can recommend every deer hunter to try them out.
Types of deer decoys
Bow mounted decoys are also known as stalking decoys because they allow you to literally stalk your game. Bow mounted decoys are specifically designed to provide you with a hands-free option for stalking your target animal. These decoys are mounted on top of the bow. The best stalker deer decoys are realistic and relatively durable.
Standing cutouts are 2-D decoys. Some hunters think they are not as effective compared to 3-D deer decoys but we disagree. They are very effective if you have a good quality one. They do however not hold up as well to the wind compared to the more sturdy 3-D decoys.
We recommend standing decoys for beginners, but they can also be useful for the most seasoned hunters, as they are still very effective.
3-D decoys are often more realistic compared to standing cutouts. They are the best deer decoys in terms of realism. They are of course also more expensive. They are relatively easy to set up and use, but it definitely takes more time compared to standing cutouts. They are also less portable compared to standing cutouts. 3-D decoys often have moving parts for added realism.
Deer decoys must look lifelike to deer. The best deer decoys have prints that are developed from a photograph shot of a real buck in the wild. Some deer decoys even have a tail that moves in the wind for uncanny realism.
Most 3-D deer decoys offer the ability to move parts around so you can manipulate the decoy into different poses. The best 3-D deer decoys have movable limbs and a movable head to strike a pose that will effectively attract a deer’s attention.
Tip: Put the deer decoy in an aggressive pose, but with a small body and a small rack, so that dominant bucks won’t be deterred and come to it.
We recommend combining your decoy with scents. We also recommend the use of rubber gloves when you are handling and spraying Scent Eliminating Spray on the decoy after you have him set up.
Always be careful not to leave scent on your decoy!
Of course, not all deer decoys are as easy to transport and carry as others. The 3-D ones are certainly more difficult to transport than the standing cutouts because they are heavier and made up of multiple parts. They also often have moving parts to change positions, and that process takes some time. Standing cutout decoys are the best deer decoys for hunters who do not want to carry too much weight.
Ease of Set-Up
3-D decoys require more effort and time to set up compared to a 2-D standing cutout decoy. If you are a beginner then I recommend you to start with a standing cutout, if you have a lot of experience with hunting deer then a high-end 3-D deer cover might suit your needs and expertise better.
Deer cages vary in cost depending on the type and in most cases the overall quality and features of the cage. You can go for the latest sophisticated models but a good effective decoy doesn’t have to cost a lot. We have found that the cheaper ones can also be very effective. If your hunting budget is limited I would not spend too much money on a deer decoy.
We used the decoys in combination with calls and scents. We used a scent eliminator on the decoys which we definitely recommend for optimal effect and effectiveness. We used Scent Thief Trophy Pack field spray. This is a quality spray for eliminating scents.
Montana is an American-based company that designs and manufacturers big game, turkey, whitetail, and predator decoys. Jerry McPherson, founded the company in 1996. The company’s primary goal is to design and develop decoys that give hunters the edge in the field, no matter the game they are after.
Flint Holdings LLC, acquired the company in April 2012. Under them, the Montana Decoy continues to produce fantastic hunting decoys. McPherson is dedicated to developing new models of decoys year in and year out and with great success.
Flambeau Outdoors is a company that produces great decoys. They also provide the hunting community with a wide arrange of other hunting products for waterfowl, deer, turkey, upland game, and predators. The company is known for providing top-quality products with meaningful innovations. They will surely be a great player in the market for years to come.
Who doesn’t know Primos. For years the company has been the leader in the design and manufacturing of game calls for elk, deer, turkey, predator, and waterfowl. They also make great hunting blinds and decoys. They also provide the hunting community with a wide arrange of hunting products, like shooting sticks & accessories, attractants and supplements, and even apparel.
Using deer decoys is not a necessity when it comes to a successful deer hunting season. It is a lot of fun though, and it can be very effective when combined with scent and calls. I hope this buyer’s guide properly informed you about deer decoys. I tackle some frequently asked questions that we often get in the FAQ section of this post. Thanks for reading and as always, happy hunting!
Deer Decoys – FAQ
What is the Purpose of Using a Deer Decoy?
The purpose of a deer decoy is to manipulate deer into thinking there’s another doe or buck nearby. Hunters want deer to be curious and attract them to get them into shooting range.
How do you use a deer decoy?
We recommend setting up your deer decoy at about fifteen yards from your hunting stand or blind, preferably downwind.
When’s the best time to use a deer decoy?
The question we get the most is; when is the best time to use a deer decoy? The best time to use deer decoys is during the rut. In the first days of November, bucks are aggressive and when they spot a buck decoy, they are eager to confront that decoy to defend their territory.
The beginning of December is also a good time to use deer decoys. This is because most of the does have been bred, and there are only a few left who come back into estrus. In this period bucks are ready to fight over the few remaining does, this means that they confront a deer decoy quickly when they spot one.