How To Use A Turkey Decoy

The use of turkey decoys continues to surge thanks to more poses, better realism and a proven track record of success. In fact, decoying is a tactic some turkey hunts are planned around depending on the setup. If you are striking out time and again, chances are there is a decoy setup that will shift the odds in your favor. You just have to put some thought into it.

What is The Best Turkey Decoy?

This question can warrant a thousand different opinions. Judging the best turkey decoys comes down to a tom’s motivation during a particular time of year. Reading body language is the best way to determine the kind of setup you need.

For example, during the early season, the pecking order is getting sorted out and a decoy setup featuring a jake and hens will start a fight. As would a full-size reaping decoy. But that same setup may repel longbeards later in the season when they are tired of fighting and almost done breeding. This is when a lone hen turkey decoy will give you the best chance for success.

To give you more insight, we created this setup guide to help you.

What About Turkey Decoy Placement?

This is an important question, especially for bowhunters. “For those traditional bowhunters who have used decoys for turkey hunting, it is doubtful you will ever go without one,” said Fred Eichler. “In fact, I don’t know many bowhunters who don’t use them to lure a bird into bow range.”

In addition to the setup guide, here are some things to keep in mind about the placement and positioning of your decoys:

- When using a jake or tom decoy with hens, place them all facing the same direction with the male decoy trailing behind. This gives the impression that the fake decoy is trying to “herd” the hens. It’s a scene that is sure to get a gobbler’s blood boiling.

- Always place a male turkey decoy facing you to minimize the chance of a gobbler hanging up. An incoming turkey wants to see the head of this new member of the flock and will move to get in front of him.

- Allow for a “landing zone.” Do not place your turkey decoys too close to each other. If a few toms come into your setup, things can get crowded and shooting lanes may get clogged.

- Place the decoy 15-20 yards from your location when not hunting from a blind. If a bird hangs up, he is still in range of your gun and bow.

- You can set decoys closer (male decoys at 15 yards and hens at 10 yards) if you are hunting from a blind that totally conceals your movement. Choosing the best turkey decoy setup can often seem like guesswork – and guessing during turkey season can be risky business. So do you your homework, study our turkey decoy setups and make sure you have the right turkey decoys for the situation.


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