The use of a turkey decoy makes it that little bit easier to bag a gobbler, so you need to make sure you understand this tactic.
Turkeys are naturally suspicious – even of turkey calls – but a well setup decoy puts them at ease and encourages them into the open.
This keeps the curious turkey’s attention focused while you position yourself for the perfect shot.
You’re probably itching to hear my hunting tips for setting up decoys, so let’s get started!
Where Do You Setup your turkey decoys?
You need to satisfy these two simple needs when setting up your decoy:
- Is the tom going to be able to clearly see the decoy and think “Hens! My luck is in!”
- Can you clearly see the tom, but be protected by some vegetation?
Therefore, it’s essential you pick open areas such as forest clearings, fields and tracks. However, don’t forget, you need somewhere you can remain hidden from the gobblers.
How Far Should You Position Yourself from the Decoy?
Distance- I always like to keep myself about 20 yards away from the decoy.
Any closer than this and you run the risk of spooking them.
If you start to go further than 30+ yards, the spread of your shotgun bb’s will be too wide and effect the impact, if it even reaches your turkey. That is very important, you don’t want to do all the work to get a big tom to come your way and be out of range with your shotgun, you’ll want to have a good shotgun set up for your turkey hunt.
Remember: a poor position always leads to frustration and a poor shot!
How Many Decoys Do You Need?
During the early season it’s a competition between the toms to show who the biggest and baddest gobbler in town is. I like to exploit this competition by setting up a decoy containing just a hen and a jake.
By the mid-season there’s less competition between the toms as hierarchies are established. This means you can just use a couple of hens for your decoy. If you slip in a tom then there’s a good chance you’ll scare the other gobbler off as he’ll know it’s a case of ‘wings off’!
You’ll find that as the season comes to a close you need to revert to a hen and jake setup again. This is because gobblers start getting aggressive and want one final shot at the hens.
Don’t forget that the more decoys you have to lug around the less mobile you are, so bear that in mind!
What Are the Best Positions for My Decoys?
I think it’s really important to get the right setup to induce the behavior you want from a tom.
A feeding position will see all the decoys with their heads down – as if eating seeds – and arranged randomly. Set the tom decoy up in front of the hens and facing you, so that any curious gobblers come into your firing line.
The mating position, for a rival tom, is like showing a red rag to a bull! Set the hen on the floor with a gobbler behind them. Position yourself behind the ‘action’ to take advantage of any rival toms storming in.
A walking arrangement is best setup on the edge of a field with a procession of turkeys – hens at the front and a tom at the rear. This makes it appear that the hens are hurrying away and speeds up any interested gobblers.
What kind of turkey decoys should I get?
You will hear every answer under the sun with this question. The truth about decoys are that the best decoys you can buy are the ones that bring in that big Tom for the kill right? I don’t really buy into all the hearsay about this brand or that brand… if you have a decoy or set of decoys that look real and bring in the turkeys that’s all that matters. You don’t need to go and spend a ton of money on special decoys.
Hopefully you have learned a thing or two about decoys from this. The next best thing to do is to get you a set of decoys, and get out there for the season and start experimenting.
Please leave a comment if there is anything you’d like to add, or if you found success with these methods!