The Best Turkey Decoy Setups to Use This Spring
Why let the current cold weather hinder your thoughts about the coming turkey season? We’re certainly not. Just because it’s still snowing doesn’t mean you can’t think about the best decoy setups to use this spring. Luckily, the highly anticipated appearance of green will return to the woods before you know it.
Turkey populations continue to grow across the country giving hunters opportunities to chase gobblers that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Decoys, too, have come a long way since the old days of bulky, cumbersome pieces of plastic that were nearly impossible to lug into the woods. Nowadays, however, we can provide the lightweight decoys you need no matter the phase of the season. We’re going to boil it all down into three simple decoy options.
If you have to be selective about which decoys to buy this spring, the best bet is always a hen decoy, such as MISS PURR-FECT. Every turkey hunter should have at least one in their vest. And since Montana Decoys are so light and packable, carrying a MISS PURR-FECT decoy inside a vest adds hardly any weight, allowing you to move with agility. Hen decoys are the most versatile and can be staged in several positions, including the feeder, breeder and looking, each of which will elicit some sort of reaction from a gobbler. Later in the season a gobbler’s testosterone levels have tapered, leaving them less likely to engage in a fight. So using a simple setup like a hen decoy rather than the instigating addition of a jake may be best.
Gobbler decoys are perfect for luring in “hung up” toms. Sometimes a dominant bird will see your decoy setup, but not approach, expecting the hen to come to him. But, employing a large-and-in-charge, full strut decoy such as the FANATIC XL can quickly alter a gobbler’s mood from romance to battle. With a major “come at me bro” attitude, it gives you the ability to reap a hung up gobbler that refuses to close the distance. The FANATIC XL’s large fan will conceal a large man. And it’s convenient mesh window and stalking handle keeps you concealed.
Important Note: If you decide to stalk your prey, you need to be careful not to be mistaken for a gobbler – this is an extremely life-like decoy. Be careful to only use the reaping method on private land.
Using the FANATIC XL
The only thing more frustrating than not seeing or hearing any gobblers is to find one that refuses to leave his group of hens. He’ll answer every call and struts in plain view, but he has the upperhand with the ladies and doesn’t feel the need to chase love any longer. But one thing the dominant bird likely won’t stand for is another tom threatening to invade his territory.
In this situation, let’s alter the image so that the hunter is “flashing” the turkey with the fan.
Flash the tom with FANATIC XL’s photo-realistic fan to make sure he sees it. When that bluish white head turns to red and raises up, hit the gobble call a couple of times to invoke an aggressive attitude. It’s like saying, “I’m here for your ladies and you can kiss my butt if you don’t like it.” Most times, a dominant gobbler will resent this kind of foolery and charge in.
The FANATIC XL is easily handled by one person in any situation. Hold the attached stalking stake to add movement until that henned up bird has committed. Then, either stick it in the ground or lay it down and prepare to fire.
The PURR-FECT PAIR
For a less intimidating approach than using a tom, a solid option is our jake decoy, the JAKE PURR-FECT. Pair this younger-looking, less dominant decoy with a hen and watch out. Gobblers do not like some punk jake decoy moving in on a potential mate. One thing to be aware of is that jakes are more aggressive in groups. Gobblers know this too. So don’t use too many in your decoy setup.
Using the PURR-FECT PAIR
Find a field edge with good cover. Place the PURR-FECT PAIR 15 yards in front of and facing you at a slight angle with JAKE PURR-FECT slightly behind MISS PURR-FECT, which is in a breeding pose. More times than not, an aggressive tom or group of sub-dominant toms will confront the jake decoy first, giving you the perfect shot angle. Draw back your bow as the strutter turns away from you and aim for the vitals just above the thighs.
Turkeys involve themselves in a form of drama not unlike what you might see on a soap opera. Take the PURR-FECT PAIR hen and jake combination for example. Imagine what a gobbler will think when he sees a punk jake trying to sidle up to what the old tom believes could be one of his mates. The chances of him charging straight in are pretty good, especially during prime breeding season.
Needless to say, the combination of a jake and hen decoy system is pretty ideal since they can be each used in so many diverse ways together, or completely separately for a less dramatic scene.
Bottom line, there’s plenty of room for creativity in the turkey decoy setups you might use this spring. So, knowing which decoys to deploy and when is just as important as picking your hunting spot. And from what we can tell, the key is, the more drama on the stage, the better.