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April 26, 2013

Outdoors: Using decoys to attract turkey

The turkey season starts on the 29th. This means you still have time to do a little preseason scouting. Once you have found a flock, working them into range can be a challenge. Using decoys can really help. Using decoys while hunting turkeys can often mean the difference between bagging a big tom or just having call shy bird stand off from you out of range.

Turkeys have extremely keen eyesight. As they come stalking through the woods toward where they heard what they think is a willing hen, they are all keyed up. Every sense they have is on alert. Because of that, any unusual movement or extraneous noise puts them off. This is what makes decoys so effective. As these big birds close in on your blind or location, they see the decoys and focus on them. You are just background to their main objective.

Although one decoy will work, to really get the big toms in close the most effective sets usually involve four or five hens and a couple of jakes. The number of decoys seem to make the tom more comfortable. Once you see the big gobbler coming, don’t be in a hurry. Often he will stand off a bit and try to gobble the hens out to him. Don’t get fooled into thinking that you can get him in closer if you give that one last call. Just wait him out.

The idea of putting a couple of jakes into the set is to make the big tom a bit jealous. If you use just one hen he will often stand off and insist the female come to him. However, with the set of hens and jakes he will often come on in to show the young males who really is boss of the woods.

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