Saying that Stan Potts knows a thing or two about deer hunting is like saying that Texans love barbecue.
In other words, that’s an obvious understatement.
With numerous record book bucks to his credit — including four bruisers that score above the magical 200-inch mark — Potts has probably forgotten more about the sport than most deer hunters will ever know.
As co-host of “North American Whitetail” with Gordon Whittington and host of his own television show, “Mathews Dominant Bucks,” Potts is in the woods chasing deer from late summer through mid-winter every year.
Along the way, he has fine tuned the skills necessary to repeatedly tag good bucks for the television cameras of the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel.
One of those skills is using a deer decoy.
“I’m a firm believer in decoying,” said Potts. “But unlike some other hunters, I always use a buck decoy, not a doe.”
Why? Potts is hoping to elicit a school-yard like reaction from a testosterone crazed buck that is passing by, only to discover that there’s an unknown suitor trying to cut in on his action in this particular corner of the woods.
Where is the best spot to set up a decoy?
“I like to set the buck decoy up in an open field, in an open pasture, or along the edge of a food source,” said the Illinois based Potts.
As he does so, Potts is also paying attention to the wind direction since a bruiser buck will always — ALWAYS — try to keep the wind in his favor as he approaches a decoy.
“When you set your decoy up, be sure to set it out at least 20 yards in front of you,” said Potts.
“You want to give a buck plenty of room between the edge of the woods and your decoy so that the buck can get between the two of you (the decoy and a hunter’s stand position).”
Not only is it important where a hunter sets up a decoy in relation to a stand location, it’s also important how that decoy is positioned in such a spot.
“You want to always set it (the decoy) up where he’s looking into the woods,” said Potts.
“If a buck decoy — sitting out there all by himself — appears to be looking out across a wide open field, then the buck that is approaching doesn’t see what the decoy is ‘looking’ at.
“But if that decoy is quartering towards your position — and ‘looking’ back into the timber behind you — then the real buck will think that the decoy is ‘looking’ at something in the timber that the real buck can’t see for himself.”
And that’s what a hunter wants — a real buck that is miffed at the mere presence of a decoy. While being a bit unnerved at what that decoy might be looking at.
Do such tactics work?
Potts says yes and points to a number of buck encounters that he has had down through the years.
“I killed (one such) buck on Hunter Specialties’ ‘Primetime 7’ DVD,” said Potts. “He was a big nine-pointer that I killed using a decoy.
“It was warm and on the 9th of November,” said Potts. “That big buck came out about 4:30 in the afternoon. When he came out to cruise across the cornfield and saw my decoy, he just couldn’t stand it.”
The buck came into Potts’ hunting set-up with a chip on his shoulder and gave the bowhunter the shot opportunity — and the television footage — that he was hoping for.
Use Potts’ favored tactic of duping a big November buck with a buck decoy into practice this month and you just might find yourself in a spot that he frequently finds himself in.
And that’s tagging a bruiser buck on the ground while placing a call to your favorite taxidermist.