Fill your tag: Wild turkey hunting demands realistic decoys

Peterson is convinced realistic turkey decoys that convey a message to passing gobblers via body language are the ticket to more enjoyable spring hunts.

I’ve got a weird addiction to turkey decoys. OK, maybe it’s not that weird, but I’m constantly looking for the most realistic decoys I can find.

This is probably due to a subconscious motivator somewhere deep in my brain that is terrified of spending too much time in blinds each spring with no turkey action to keep it occupied, so it looks for the shortest route to being entertained.

And the best decoys definitely reduce blind down time. They also do an excellent job of drawing birds into bow range, which is what I’m looking for. In fact, in my office I’ve got a full-strut decoy that costs more than any of my nonresident turkey tags will run me this spring. He’s got a girlfriend too: a hen designed to look like a matriarch leading her flock off to greener pastures.

They’ll join a bunch of other expensive decoys that all speak with body language. I know a lot of folks don’t believe that high-end decoys make that much of a difference, and in some situations they don’t seem to (like when dealing with a group of lust-crazed jakes). But, I’ve hunted heavily pressured turkeys for a long time and am inclined to disagree with them overall.

The right decoy sends a message to passing gobblers that something is going on that they’ll want to take part in. It might be a half-strut jake with his head colored and cocked just right, or a hen that looks the oh-so-amenable part. Whatever it is, a lot of high-end decoy manufacturers put a lot of thought into how their faux birds look and what they seem to be saying.

And after several years of using high-quality decoys, I know that of all of the things that have made a difference in my turkey hunting success, they are the most important. And I’m hoping, with the new additions to my flock, that the trend continues in a few weeks as I start my season off in Texas and then skip up to Nebraska for a little public-land fun.

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