Heads Up Decoy

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

First Date with Daisy

At Eye Level contributor Darren Padilla
  Santa Fe, NM

A few years ago, my son and I were on a late season mule deer archery hunt in southern New Mexico when we realized the potential of using a decoy to attract bucks during the rut.  The rut was in full swing and we were having a blast stalking bucks who were busy trying to keep tabs on the does.  One morning, we spotted a big mature 10-pt buck tending a few does across a large wash.  A smaller 10-pt buck was hanging around trying to steal a chance at a doe, when he began staring at us.  Now, we were just hiding behind some creosote bushes glassing them, but he spotted us and came trotting over from 300 yards away.  Amazingly, he must have mistaken us for deer in the bushes.  The buck came to within 30 yards of us.  We never did get that buck, but the idea dawned on us that we needed to try a decoy!  We agreed that we needed something light to carry and it had to have BIG mule deer sized ears.

After that hunt, I researched the decoys on the market and over the next couple of seasons, but nothing seemed to be what we were looking for.  Then, I came across the Heads Up - Mule Deer Doe decoy.  It was just what I was looking for and I just had to get one for our upcoming hunt.  Heck, the price was right as well.  I placed my order the month before our hunt and chose to get the bow mount along with my decoy.  I borrowed an old stabilizer from a buddy and installed the bow mount on my Hoyt Spyder 30.

Opening day on January 1st, 2014 was going to be the test.  We soon spotted a nice shooter buck chasing a small herd of does.  I got the nod and went after them with the decoy in one hand and my bow in the other.  When I got to within a couple of hundred yards, I started stalking with the decoy up and facing the direction of the deer.  I came around a bush and had a doe bust me at about 60 yards.  I just froze and held the decoy up in front of me.  After about 20 seconds, she wagged her tail and continued feeding from right to left.  Wow!!!  The stalk would have been over right then and there if I hadn't been for my Heads Up Decoy!  Although I never did get a shot on that stalk, it was the decoy’s first test and it won me over…Hands down.  During the hunt, my hunting partner and I both used the decoy with good results.  We were able to get much closer to the deer with the decoy.  On another memorable stalk, we spotted a huge fork antlered buck tending a doe from about a mile away.  This time it was my buddy’s turn to try the decoy.  He’s a big guy about 6’ 3” and is he’s a traditional archer.  Mule deer hunting in open desert with a recurve?  Are you kidding me?  Well, using that decoy, he easily got to within 100 yards of the buck and doe with very little cover while they kept a watchful eye on him.  A young spike was with the buck and doe and decided to come visit the decoy and my partner.  He walked to within 15 yards before he winded my partner and took off.  That didn’t phase the buck and doe!  He watched them feed and romance closer and closer to him.  The deer were so calm with him and the decoy in plain sight that he even witnessed the buck mount the doe right there in front of him at 40 yards!  Wowzers!!!  Eventually, they winded him too and it was over. That clinched it for my buddy…he was a believer now.

The weather was extremely windy during our hunt, so I didn't get a chance to use my bow mount very much.  It’s not something to use in windy weather because it’s like bolting a kite to your bow.  Here’s a good tip for windy conditions.  Because it was so windy, I had to figure out how to carry it without it catching in the wind and flopping around.  Since I use a belt mounted bow hook to carry/hold my bow while I hunt,  just slid the decoy in the bow hook on top of the bow handle and against my body and was able to carry the decoy in place along with my bow in the high wind.  The handle was positioned to the front so I could grip the decoy handle and the bow with one hand as I walked.

In summary, the Heads Up - Mule Deer decoy more than met my expectations and it will be going on all my future mule deer archery hunts.  What I learned, is that when you hold the decoy up between you and the deer…where the deer can see it more than you, the deer focus on the decoy even though you are there too.  If you get busted, just keep the decoy up and the deer will calm down and go back to what they were doing.  I guess they think you’re a funny shaped deer, or just another herbivore.  The decoy even helped me sneak among cattle without causing a stampede!  I hate when cattle stampede and blow out a good buck when I’m on a stalk.  The decoy worked so well, we decided it needed a name.  I named her “Daisy”.  This is a highly effective decoy that is perfect for spot and stalk, or still hunting methods.

Darren Padilla - Santa Fe, NM

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What is "AT EYE LEVEL"

What is "AT EYE LEVEL"? AT EYE LEVEL is a more formal means for our customers, partners, and friends to share their experiences with Heads Up Decoy. If you have a success story with pictures to share on this blog...we have a space for you. If you have quality video of an animal reacting positively to our decoy...we may use it. If you have a full blown video of a hunt with a story line and would like to produce it...we may use it as part of our "AT EYE LEVEL" experience.

We've always assumed that feedback would come in...and it has... but in reality...life happens and time passes along with the desire to email or call to share those moments. We see results most often through forums with customers that have used Heads Up Decoy with great results but haven't necessarily notified us, but are more than willing to step up and support us...THAT'S GREAT!

As a small company in a "watered-down" industry, we rely on the sense of connection with our customers, friends, and partners to help us spread the word and to share some of the experiences that are unique ONLY to Heads Up Decoy as well as those that are more conventional. Through customer and partner contributed blog entries, photos, and video we believe that we will provide a sense of connection with our company. For example, a gentleman sent me this photo late last year...and we used it in our first EVER Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal ad.

In our 2014 Video Trailer introducing our AT EYE LEVEL experience, much of that video was submitted by customers, friends, and industry partners. And it's good stuff! You can be a part of that.

If you are willing to share your story, photo, and or video, simply contact us at info@headsupdecoy.com and type in the subject line AT EYE LEVEL. Let us know what you have and if we use your material we will send you various Heads Up Decoy prize packs.

We will review the material with you and go over the disclaimers in personal conversations.

We appreciate your support and we look forward to a great 2014.