Traditional hunters are a different breed of sportsmen. They whittle their gear down to the basics: A stick, string and a sharp broadhead. Clothing made of wool and leather. And decoys.
Yes, we said decoys. Although the popularity of hunting decoys has risen during the past decade, decoying big-game animals and deer is not a modern tactic. According to an this article by Louisiana Sportsman, decoys are just one of many tactics hunters use today that were also used as far back as 2,000 B.C
“Indians also knew the usefulness of deer decoys and often caped out the head and shoulders of a kill, stretched it on a cane hoop, and cured it with smoke. The Natchitoches were said to have used capes with the antlers attached.”
The article goes on to say an Indian would carry the decoy and use it with calls to draw game near. This strategy is not much different than many of the setups published in the Elk Decoy Setup Guide this year.
Decoying is not a modern hunting tactic, but it is super effective today – especially for traditional bowhunters looking for any ethical tactic that can be used to get an animal a few steps closer to them. Often times, those few crucial steps can make the difference in taking a shot or not, like it did for Del Jolly on his elk hunt in the Weminuche Wilderness of Colorado.
We heard of Jolly’s story through our friends at Rocky Mountain Specialty Gear, an awesome bow shop Arvada, CO focusing solely on traditional archery equipment.
To sum up the hunt, Jolly saw a lot of action. He had no problem getting a bull to come to a call. But the bull would hang up at 40-yards. Some came closer, but spotted Jolly when he came to full draw.
Finally, he decided to use an Eichler Elk Decoy on an elk that was a little more leery than the rest.
“[The bull] came to within 50 yards several times, but since he never saw another elk, he wouldn't commit to coming any closer,” said Jolly. “As he turned to leave, I opened up my Montana Decoy and moved in on him. I felt I had to take the chance or the bull would be gone.”
With the wind swirling, Jolly moved to a better position behind the cover of the cow elk decoy. The bull began closing the distance and walked into bow range. What happened next resulted in this photo:
“I do not think that I would have killed this bull without the Montana Decoy,” said Jolly.