More thoughts on turkey decoys
Please allow me to expand on the thoughts Steve Piatt expressed recently in his blog about turkey decoys.
In “Thoughts on decoys” published on May 16 on the Outdoor News main website – https://www.outdoornews.com/May-2016/Thoughts-on-decoys/ – Piatt noted that when it comes to turkey hunting, using decoys doesn’t guarantee a bird. I agree wholeheartedly, and while I’m impressed with the array of realistic decoys available on the market these days, I’m more impressed by a gobbler’s ability to pinpoint the location of your call using just its hearing.
I haven’t used a decoy in about five years. It’s just one more thing to carry, and I prefer to travel light. I don’t use a blind either, preferring to sit against a tree with a little brush or tall grass in front of me to further obscure my silhouette.
A buddy who introduced me to turkey hunting more than 20 years ago once told me that he was ambivalent on a decoy’s usefulness, although he usually brings one along, just in case. We had much success over the years, usually while using a decoy.
Piatt noted that jake decoys, especially, can make a gobbler shy away from your set-up because dominant gobblers are routinely hassled by jakes. My buddy would agree with that, but he also would say that due to the turkey’s superior ability to pinpoint where your call is coming from, the gobbler will find you. I have found that to be true.
On the last day that I used a decoy, I watched a big gobbler strut in sight of my decoy but well out of shotgun range. When the big guy grew disinterested in my decoy’s seeming disinterest and eventually wandered off, I crawled out, pulled the decoy, and hid it in the brush. I continued calling to some nearby turkeys and eventually went home with a bird.
This spring’s hunt was similar. I was set up on the edge of a field trying to talk some toms into leaving their hens and joining me for dinner. They would answer my calling, but they were reluctant to leave what they apparently thought was a sure thing. Meanwhile, from the pine plantation behind me, another gobbler announced his presence and was closing in, fast. I had barely scooted around to the opposite side of the tree and put the gun on my knees when he came in view. He walked straight at me, stopping occasionally to strut – he knew right where the sound was originating.
With no decoy to make him hesitate, he kept moving closer, looking for the hen. In less than a minute, he was close enough to shoot and I was convinced, once again, that leaving my decoy at home was the right choice.