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bmc

To decoy or not to decoy?

16 posts in this topic

I hunted in WI last year, zone 19 to be specific, the week and weekend of the MN fishing opener. This was my first time turkey hunting and now that I've got my Cabela's turkey catalog, I'm starting to get fired up again. During my hunt, I saw birds pretty much every time I went out, I think I only hunted one evening, but didn't see anything. The birds I did see didn't pay any attention to my decoys. I had a gobbler come by strutting and had 2 hens and a jake decoy out and he didn't pay any attention. However, I did call him back and missed a shot w/ my bow. 2 days later, same spot, I had 1 hen decoy out and had a hen walk right by and pay no attention. She picked up the gobbler from his roost and they walked by paying no attention to my hen decoy. I proceeded to miss him 2x w/ my bow. LOL I was using a Double Bull blind w/ the screen up and had the dekes about 15 yds in front of the blind. So I'm wondering what the more experienced turkey hunter's think as far as decoy use in May?

Brian

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Come mid-to-late May, the birds have pretty much seen it all. Unless you've got a real mounted deke or "modified" one with glued-on feathers (like me) lol I'd leave it at home. Try to pattern where they'll be at a certain time of day and be there before they get there. Try a decoy one day and if he hangs-up on ya switch to a different call and go dekeless the next day.

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This is a good question with no easy answer. Some birds get shot at in a decoy spread and get very leary of them. Some birds don't see very many and are easily brought into them. When bowhunting, I believe decoys are very important.

I use decoys almost everytime I go out, unless they show me they don't like them. I also usually use two hens and a jake, sometimes a lone hen is enough. Every situation is different, let the birds tell you what they like and roll with the punches.

Bowhunting turkeys can be very frustrating, there is no shame in getting even on occation with the shotgun. \:D

Good luck.

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Decoy effectiveness is affected by several variables. Breeding cycle, bird populations, weather and hunting pressure are some of the major ones I can think of off the top of my head. Generally early season decoys work great. The toms are ready to go and the hens are not so much. They respond well to calling and any sight of a hen that sounds remotely willing. Add the fact that pressure is a non-issue this time of year and you'll see why decoys work well this time of year. By mid season things change again. The dominate toms are breeding and many of the younger toms are shut out. Remember that in nature the hen comes to the tom and not the other way around. For the most part jakes and 2 year olds will come in pretty well yet to a hen decoy. The big boys will hang up out of range and gobble until the real gals come out and join him. Can you say bye, bye? If you want to use a decoy for a more mature tom place a hen in the breeding position with a jake doing the same. If the old tom is gonna come hang on, It'll be fun! Late season the toms have seen and heard it all. They tend to be far more call and decoy shy. I generally set up in travel funnels and call lightly unless the breeding is running late due to a late spring. I do not use decoys mid to late season. I try to set up so that when I see the bird it's already in range.

Of course you can throw any of this out is you find the right bird in the right mood. Then it seems easy. Don't get too use to it if that happens. It allows seems to change. \:\)

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I always use a passive jake, agressive jake, and a hen. But in the late season I have been using up to 8 decoys in the right set up. This year when I do my flock setup I will have a B-mobil in the mix. Late season flock setups work well, just don't plan on moving around much.

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I don't use decoys anymore do to the fact that I have had to many long beards hang up out of gun range when they see the decoy. They commit to within 60, 80 yards and then stop and strut and gobble and drum until they loose interest and then wonder off. He wants that hen to come to him. That can be down right frustrating when he leaves! So close, yet so far!

A turkeys hearing is amazing and he can pin point your location from a long ways off, so I make him come looking for that hen he thinks is there somewhere.It doesn't work all the time, but what does when turkey hunting. The bird might get suspicious if a hen is not seen where he thought it should be, but I've had more birds hang up on a decoy by far, then a bird leave when he spotted no hen.

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I still use decoys once in awhile.Like Borch said above you can let the bird show you what is working.I have my best luck with out decoys.Using bow or shotgun.I have a couple blinds and most times only using when the weather is bad.Even using my bow I get happy feet and like to be on the move.I have shot more birds with my bow outside the blind then in.I did get the b-mobile not sure why but like any one that hunts it's hard not to keep buying something new and try.I have two tails already for the season one jake tail and one longbeard.We will see what happens.I would use the breeding hen and jake setup if you are using decoys.

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DonBo,

I'm a die hard bowhunter and just have no desire to shoot a turkey with a shotgun. But that's just me. Thanks for all the replies guys. I think I'm gonna buy a jake and breeding position hen and see what happens. I don't think the birds I was hunting last year had not been hunted on that property before I did and am hoping for the same situation this spring.

Brian

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 Originally Posted By: bmc
DonBo,

I'm a die hard bowhunter and just have no desire to shoot a turkey with a shotgun. But that's just me.

I was the same way, now I get even. \:D

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I like hunting turkey's with the bow.But like DonBo says above like to get even.After chasing them for a week in Nebraska it's nice to come home and use the smoke pole and let them have it when they think thier safe.

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Hoyt - what part of NE do you chase birds around in?

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We are in Niobrara area ,Norht east corner.

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Sure... not too far off. We're even a little further east near Yankton. You plan on going down this spring?

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Heading down in March to do scouting and knocking on doors.I will be done there hunting from April 4th to the 13th.It's nice to have Archery only.You down there for the bow season?Hopefully the birds will be breaking up at that time.

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Yep. Going down a little later this year... 5th of April. Normally it's opening weekend of the 25th of March. We've had snow 2 of the past 5 years so that's always fun. Usually bunched up pretty good so if you see one you see 30. Sounds like you'll have plenty of time to get the job done... I'm gonna try to seal the deal in 2 days. We'll see... Good luck to you.

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Yeah it's neat to hunt a gobbler in the snow.Good luck let the arrows fly.

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