It’s a privilege and blessing to be able to make decoys for a living. I get to work with great people and we fight hard to keep our production right here in the United States. One of the best perks is "having" to test them out! I recently realized that I’ve had successful hunts with all of our Dave Smith Decoys (DSD) except one: The Posturing Buck. I’ve shot Double-Crested Cormorants and Caspian Terns over our DSD versions but never a whitetail over our buck. The lack of real experience simply wouldn’t do!
Not living in whitetail country wasn’t going to be an issue as my good friend Paul Meinel owns a farm in the Midwest and invites me nearly every year to hunt whitetails. We always have a blast. I shipped a decoy to arrive ahead of me and cleaned it thoroughly once I arrived. The weather was nice and cool. The problem was the full moon and clear skies that enabled a lot of nighttime activity and stifled some daytime rutting behavior, but we always joke that on the worst day of whitetail hunting you’re still going to see more deer than you do on your best day of blacktail hunting!
Whitetail hunting is always a game of deal or no deal. You will get some chances early and you have to decide if you think you can do better, or if you should take the deal. The season prior, I took the deal on a 4 ½ year old buck on the second day. After that, the weather turned warm and activity really shut down so I was glad I had. This season I wanted to hunt as many days as possible so I didn’t mind when I decided to pass on a few nice bucks early in the week. I wanted to learn. I also really wanted to shoot one over the decoy, and if I didn’t get one at all it would be OK. I had used the decoy before, but never closed the deal. I missed a huge 8 ½ year old 8 pointer over the decoy a few years prior. I didn’t trust the decoy and never let him come close. This season, in the few days that I had to hunt, I had quite a few encounters. I was thrilled to see that deer of all ages would come to it and several deer, both ucks and does, used the decoy as security and gravitated towards it while feeding.
On my last afternoon of hunting, I decided to close the deal on a buck that showed some aggression toward the decoy. It’s always rewarding to watch them bristle and posture like the decoy.
He is not a monster by any means but special to me as my first over the decoy. I can say I am officially “hooked” on decoying deer, and to say I’m looking forward to next season would be a huge understatement! I am also thankful that I have a blacktail tag in my pocket still. Come to think of it, I have a posturing buck painted as a blacktail- this could be fun!
-Sitka Athlete Dave Smith