How to Properly Use Turkey Decoys

Photo Credit: MidwayUSA

If used properly, turkey decoys can be a great aid for bringing turkeys to your blind. Decoys are not necessary if you’re hunting turkeys on foot, but if you’re going to be setting up shop in one of our Stump Blinds, decoys could be just the ticket for drawing in birds. Here are some ways you can use turkey decoys to your advantage.

Basics

Your decoys should be set up in an open field, where the turkeys can see the them from far away. If your decoy is hidden among trees and the turkeys have to be close to you to see it, that defeats the purpose. You want your decoys to draw the turkeys in from far away.

Mating

If it is the time of the season when turkeys are still mating, placing decoys in mating-simulated poses may attract some eager male turkeys. Place a male decoy standing upright and a hen (female) decoy on its stomach. By using an aggressive looking tom (adult male) decoy in this scenario, you may draw in a jake (young male) who is looking for a chance to climb back up the social ladder by fighting the stronger bird for the hen. Make sure you are using the correct decoys: a red-toned head indicates aggression and blue-toned heads indicate calm.

Fighting

Positioning a jake and a tom in a fighting stance, simulating the act of establishing pecking order, could draw in dominant turkeys to get in on the action. You should place a few female turkey decoys around the fighting duo to make it look more realistic. When simulating fighting, you shouldn’t use more than one jake decoy. In nature, more than one jake could take down even the strongest tom.

Hens Only

In the peak of the season, hens are likely to feed in the morning and then spend the rest of the afternoon in the roost. This leaves the toms by themselves, eagerly searching out hens that probably won’t be around. Setting out hen decoys by themselves will draw male turkeys to your spot during these slow times when the real hens are nesting.

If you’re hunting public land where the hunting pressure on the turkeys may be high, it’s a good idea to use as many hen decoys as possible. If there are a large number of hens for the male turkeys to choose from, their confidence will build and they’ll be more likely to come closer and take their chances with mating.

Back Up Your Calls

It’s a good strategy to use calls only when you have a decoy set up. If the turkey hears your call, only to come running to an empty field, he may get suspicious and leave just as fast as he came. The decoys don’t have to be perfect, you just want the turkeys to be enticed to your area long enough to investigate whether the decoy is credible. The window of opportunity after the turkey comes close enough to see the decoy, but before he’s figured out that it’s a fake, is your opportune moment to make your shot.

Half the battle of hunting is getting the wildlife to come close enough for you to take your shot. These decoy strategies will hopefully bring a whole flock of turkeys to your hunting area and help you have a successful turkey season.

What are your tips for using turkey decoys? Let us know what lessons you’ve learned in the comments!

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