Turkey season is only a couple months away. One of the most important aspects of turkey hunting is your decoy set-up. If you set up in the right place with the right decoy combo positioned correctly you should only have to make a few clucks to fill your tag.
How much to spend?
I use the Primos Gobstopper jake & hen combo for turkey hunting. These decoys pack well, are durable, and are simple to set up. If you are going to archery hunt you will need the tom to spend some time around your decoys, and I think there is a major step up from the twenty dollar decoys to the fifty dollar Primos combo. I don’t think the level of detail that the one hundred dollar decoys offer is needed, so don’t get carried away with spending money on the best new decoy.
Lastly, I have called in a lot of turkeys using a styrofoam hen from Walmart. If you are hunting a spot that hasn’t had much pressure, and you are using a shotgun, it only takes a 20 dollar decoy to do the trick.
What combination of decoys?
For the first hunt of the season I set up the hen five yards ahead of the jake and position them both as if they are walking into the timber. As the season goes on and things start to wind down I will switch to a solo hen decoy. When I am only using a hen I still position the hen walking away from where I think the tom will come and I try to conceal the decoy so the tom will be within fifty yards by the time he sees my target. You also have to watch out for stupid barriers like creeks and fences that a tom will expect the hen to cross. If a turkey can see your decoy from seventy yards away and has a creek or fence between you chances are he will stay put. A number of times I have had jakes fly over to my decoys but toms almost always hang-up, that’s why they are still alive. If you are unsure of which side of the timber to set up on, and are worried the tom will get stuck on one side, the uphill side is where turkeys prefer to fly down to.
Full strut decoys? Multiple hens?
I hunt an area with a lot of young birds and one or two nice toms. Because the flock of turkeys in my area isn’t that big and birds don’t seem to be that competitive I stick with a jake decoy that is not strutting. If you are in an area where toms are a bit more aggressive a full strut decoy may be the way to go. But if you are just looking to shoot any bird on your land, stick with the non-strutting jake. If toms are getting hung-up over and over again try multiple hens or a full strut tom to possibly create more urgency. But still your best bet is to get closer to the roost the next hunt and hope the birds are in a different mood. I will cover getting into tight turkey hunting spots in a later blog. Good luck.