I think they help in certain situations. The wind needs to be right, like any other time when bow hunting. Many times it'll take the bulls into bow range, when they hold up outside of it. Visual can help a lot.
i've heard both ways good and bad about decoys. My buddy says he's had bulls come into his decoy and sniff it. but last year when we got ahead of the herd and set it up, the elk didn't like it and they booked it in the other direction. i personally dont like to hunt with a decoy because i think i would rather that the elk not know anything is there. i'd rather be fully invisible if that makes sense
We use our decoys in way to keep the bulls looking........we've had good luck with using them in/behind underbrush where only part of the decoy is visible. The Montana cow decoys work well as they are compact and lightweight. I too have had elk get spooked by them as well though........to each his own!
I have a friend who loves to use deer feeders that will hold like 5- 40 pound bags of feed or corn, and wants help hauling them deep into the woods where he has amazingly located the perfect spot for this 30 pound battery operated tripod that will only be there for a couple of weeks each year. My suggestion to him was to build some kind of light weight gravity feeder that could be strapped to a tree or a fence post if permenant, and this is what we came up with. I am...