Hunting Wild Turkey is an art, the turkey are notorious for spotting hunters with their keen eyesight and tend to hang just out of reach. By using turkey decoys on your next hunt you can help bring that big tom into range.
Why use a Turkey Decoy
The main reason to use a turkey decoy is to keep the focus off the hunter and on the decoy. Any approaching bird will focus on the "stranger" in the woods and not on the hunter.
Setting up your Turkey Decoy Spread
Even one decoy will increase your chances of tagging a turkey, but more is always better. Just remember you are not duck hunting, you don't need 50+ decoys, a simple spread of 2 hens and a tom are all that is needed. Set up your decoys in an area that affords a good view for yourself, but also allows any incoming turkeys to focus on the decoys. Try to anticipate the approach of the turkeys and then set up on an off angle from the approach, you don't want the turkeys looking through the decoys at you. Set your decoys about 20-25 yards from your stand.
Choosing a Turkey Decoy
One-dimensional decoys are popular in part because of their price. They generally are printed with the picture of a turkey on cloth or cardboard. They are light and easy to pack in and out of the field. One major drawback of a one-dimension decoy is that if the turkey approaches from an off angle or circles your spread; your decoys disappear, often spooking the bird.
3 dimensional turkey decoys are much more realistic, can be seen by an incoming bird from 360 degrees and provide great detail. They are however more expensive and harder to carry.
Moving decoys are relatively new; they give your spread a great deal of realism. Most are operated by the hunter via a length of string, this necessitates the hunter moving a little, but the turkey is usually focused on the movement of the decoy.
Hunting safely with Turkey decoys
With the full camouflage worn by turkey hunters, it is not uncommon for another hunter to mistake your decoy spread for the real thing, especially if you have mastered the use of your calls. Before standing and approaching your decoys, ensure that another hunter is not stalking them. Carry your decoys only in a camouflaged bag or some other carry device that hides the decoy from other hunters.
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