Using decoy’s should be something that is pretty cut and dry: Put the decoys out in front of you,watch the tom’s come pouring in. unfortunately,like many things involved with turkey hunting,it’s just not that simple. Here are a few tips to help maximize your next decoy setup.
Types OF Decoy’s: Turkey decoys come in a HUGE array of styles,colors,and looks. Here are a few of the variations,and what I ALWAYS have in my turkey vest:
Hen Decoys: These include – Feeding hen,Nesting/Breeding hen,Alert hen.
Jake Decoys: These include – Alert jake,Feeding jake, and Half-strut jake
Tom Decoys: These include – Alert tom,feeding tom,half strut tom,and full strut tom
As far as what to carry,that’s really up to you,and what types of situations you think you may get yourself into. I ALWAYS carry one hen decoy (usually two) and one jake decoy. Turkey’s are social animals,and generally the larger flock they see,the better.
Placement: There are a lot of different situations you’ll find yourself in while turkey hunting,and there are as many different options for a good decoy spread. Here are a few examples.
In this example,the tom has been gobbling from the roost. Setting the decoys out in a spread like the one above allows you to be out of the visual mix. When that tom comes in,you want his complete attention to be on the decoys. If you are directly behind the decoys,it leaves very little room for error on your part as far as movement is concerned. It is best to place them either to the left or right of you,or setup adjacent to your setup,to keep his eyes occupied while you get settled in. I usually like to set up a feeding hen facing in my general direction. This gives a tom confidence that the direction she is facing is safe,and that he needn’t worry that area.
The above example represents what some call a “Cold calling” session,in which you havent heard any gobblers,but have found a good spot where you think they could be headed. The last thing you want to do in this setup is surprise a tom rounding a corner,so make sure your decoys are setup in a natural way i.e. feeding or nesting. I would stay away from full strut decoys in this situation.
Always consider safety when setting up your decoys,especially if using jake or tom decoys. Never setup your decoys in between you and a road highly trafficked by hunters. This is especially true on public land,where hunter numbers are high.
Using decoys when turkey hunting can add even more excitement to an already heart pounding sport. I hope these tip’s will come in handy this coming spring when your out chasing that big ol’ longbeard. Good huntin’!