The 5 Things You Need To Know About Decoying Turkeys
Photo: Ben Cade
Turkey hunters know that decoys are an effective way to harvest mature toms. Here are some tactics that will lead to success this spring.
1) Set your decoys at the proper location-Sounds simple right? But if the decoys are at the wrong angle or distance it will be a problem. Don’t set the decoys directly in front of you. Turkeys can spot anything out of place in their environment so lead their attention away from your location by placing the decoys to the left or right. Always keep the decoys within 20-25 yards. Then if the gobbler hangs up short he will still be in ethical range. Remember that the gobbler will approach the male decoy head on.
2) Use the right decoy-As the season progresses, strutting toms need to be replaced with jakes. Dominant turkeys will rough up the younger birds so you can scare away one that has been recently whipped with a full strutter. Go with a half strut jake, mature toms have confidence they can run off a youngster trying to breed a hen. Use either a feeding hen with a Jake near her or a breeding hen lying on the ground with the jake directly behind her.
3) Set the decoys in the open-Turkeys need to see your decoys. Open field edges, old roads through the woods, clearings, these are all good spots to set up. Just be sure that you have a solid place to hide near the decoys.
4) Hens are your friends-Attracting hens to your decoys can be the difference between closing the deal and going home empty handed. They will be curious and will often check out hen decoys closely. Try to keep her around if she wants to leave by calling to her as she walks away. A dominant hen will turn around and scold the decoy. A live hen calling in your decoys is always a good thing.
5) Try different set ups-Use active decoys in a line like they are walking away. Use a jake in combination with a feeding hen or a breeding hen. Keep plenty of open space in the decoys, especially if you are using a large number. Just like waterfowl decoys, there is no perfect combination that always works.