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Decoy Tips

While not every hunter swears by decoys, they can be a great asset in many situations. For one, they give a suspicious tom a turkey to see. And, if the decoy is set in an open area such as a mature oak bottom or along a field edge, those decoys can act as a visual call to birds who may spot them from a distance, but has yet to hear you call – especially when you are calling sporadically (or like many hunters are prone to do on a slow day, napping).

Decoys are an asset when taking children, first time hunters or people that may have a disability, because it normally takes the attention off the caller.

Decoys come in several different styles ranging from photo-image silhouette decoys to fold out and inflatable ones and even ones that move via pulling a string. Inflatable decoys are great because they can be quickly inflated for setup and just as quickly deflated to store compactly in a turkey vest. All of the decoys on the market offer a good dose of realism and have been used successfully to bring turkeys in close.

One key to remember when setting decoys out is that wild turkeys are not like geese and that just because they tend to gather in huge winter flocks, you don’t need a massive spread of decoys to entice them in your direction. In fact, the opposite is often true.

A good decoy spread for turkeys amounts to no more than more than a pair of hens and a single jake, all available through NWTF’s online retail store Place the jake facing you so when the jealous gobbler rushes in to square off on his younger competition, his back will be to you offering a chance to make any last minute adjustments in your aim. The breeding jake and hen decoy is another great setup that has hit the market in recent years.

Like every aspect of hunting, safety is a key concern when using decoys. Here are a few tips on decoy safety:

  • Check local regulations to make sure use of decoys is legal in the state you’ll be hunting.

  • Never carry an uncovered decoy any distance.

  • From a seated position, identify the clearest line of vision to your front. Establish a sight line that allows 100 yards of visibility. Then set your decoy(s) approximately 20 yards from your position on the line.

  • If you are calling over decoys and elect to move to a new location, check carefully to ensure that no one is stalking your decoys. Check before leaving your setup. Should you see someone in the area, (especially close to your line of sight) call out to them in a loud, clear voice.




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