Sometimes using a call is enough in turkey hunting. It plays on a turkey’s desire to mate if he is alone. When the tom hears the female and she doesn’t appear, he’ll go looking for her. However, this is not how things normally work. Usually the tom calls to the hens and they come to him. Although a hen’s call may be enough to get some toms to go looking for a hen, it may not work for all of them, or it may only take you so far. Having some decoys will help to build the ruse. With that in mind, here are some strategies for using decoys effectively.
Understand Body Postures so you can Get the Right Decoys
A hen decoy with its head up looks alert. If you add a call, it may appear that she is alert to the tom that is calling. A hen decoy with her head down appears to be relaxed as she is feeding. She is not on high alert.
The first decoy is a better choice early in the season when hens are actively looking to mate. The second, for later in the season when there is less mating going on.
Having a female on the ground and a male standing behind her simulates two birds who are preparing to mate. A tom who sees this setup may be enticed to swoop in to challenge the other male for the submissive female.
Having several hen decoys in different positions can make the scene more realistic. And if you add a male decoy among the females, you may spark some jealousy in the tom that will likely draw him out to challenge his opponent.
Location May Determine your Turkey Hunting Decoy Strategy
In an open field, out in the boondocks, setting out a flock of decoys is a reasonable strategy. You can move around and shoot from any direction. However, if you are setting up near a road, you should set up a stationary blind, to keep things safe. In this setting, it is best to set out a single male and female. An approaching bird will head right for the pair and give you a reliable target for which to aim.
It Helps to Know a Little Bit About Turkey Hierarchy
A jake is a younger male; toms are older and thus more dominant males. When setting up a scenario for your decoys that encourages competition between males, keep in mind that you may want more jakes than toms in your scenario. A tom is not likely to allow a jake to encroach on territory he has claimed. While a tom might challenge a jake or another tom, a jake is far less likely to challenge other males, especially toms.
There is no perfect strategy for bagging a turkey. Only time and experience will allow you to develop a turkey hunting strategy that will work for you in the location where you live. These decoy strategies can give you a place to start and using them can help you to build your game.