Decoying Spring Turkeys

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Published on: Apr. 2, 2008

Last revision: Dec. 7, 2010

spot and immediately speak to any hunter who might approach and mistake your turkey decoys for the real thing. When you’re in the timber, a hunter might approach from any direction, making decoy use too dangerous.

Besides, you don’t need turkey decoys in the timber. Veteran timber hunters set up to call with a hill or a bend in the terrain between them and the turkey. This forces the turkey to come in blind. When a turkey first steps into view, it is in shooting range. No need for decoys.

Always sit against a tree that is as broad or broader than your shoulders. This protects you from hunters who might approach your decoy spread from behind you.

Never use decoys on heavily hunted public ground. The chances are too great that your decoy spread will attract other hunters.

Never be on the move while holding decoys in your hand. Always stow them in a carrying bag.

Use and wear hunter orange, whether or not you are using decoys. Wear a hunter orange cap or vest when on the move, and hang it on a limb close to your position when you set up to hunt with camo headnet, hat and gloves. The hunter orange will not alert turkeys, but it will alert other hunters to your presence.

Decoys in Open Fields

In spring, gobblers spend a lot of time in fields. The open terrain offers gobblers a prime place to strut and attract hens. The fields are also full of bugs and fresh greens for the turkeys to eat.

Because toms have practically everything they need in fields, including the ability to see danger from all directions, luring them into shotgun range is a tough task.

Decoys go a long way toward evening the odds. But you won’t do much good just sticking them out in any field and waiting for gobblers to show up. Using decoys successfully requires careful preparation and strategy.

Effective Scouting

Scouting will help you determine where best to place your decoys in a field setup. But, a few trips out listening for gobblers a month before the season starts won’t give you current information. Gobblers haven’t yet established the patterns that will hold when the season opens.

It’s best to scout the week before the season opens, when toms are on the patterns that will continue into the season. Two or three scouting trips are often all it takes to figure out their routines.

Do your best

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