As a turkey hunter, confidence is imperative when hitting the woods. Whether it is the area you are hunting, weather adversity or your calling skills and equipment, knowing that everything is going to work in your favor can help make each day in the turkey woods much more positive and enjoyable.
Let’s discuss a major piece of equipment in today’s turkey hunter’s bag of tricks – decoys. Let’s face it, hunting Spring gobblers is all based on deception. As we paint a picture to persuade gobblers into close range many facets have to be considered; breeding, pecking order of the flock and travel patterns all come into play. Turkey decoys have come a long way from inception. Just like calls, camo, and other equipment, decoys have elevated to incredible heights due to modern technology.
Something that we seldom pay attention to is observing wild turkeys’ body language and feather position. As turkey hunters, we all gravitate to the study of their vocal language and doing our best to imitate their sounds, cadences and tones to the best of our ability. It’s important to understand that body language is equally as important. At Avian-X we study every aspect of turkey anatomy to incorporate every detail into decoys that demand reaction from wild birds. We understand decoy selection and placement are just as important as the vocal side of the hunt. Here are a few examples of the intricate detail incorporated into every posture to ensure your success:
Simple observation of a person’s body posture can tell us a lot about a fellow human’s thoughts and feelings. We do it daily, both consciously and sub-consciously. You can bet the exact same rings true with turkeys. Whether it be a feeding hen signifying contentment or a younger gobbler showing arrogant sub-dominance, you can be sure body postures and combinations of decoys can and will attract or deter incoming birds. Consider the time of the season, pressure on birds, population per square mile and anything else you can reason when deciding which decoys to utilize in your set up. A great example – if you know there is a mature gobbler in your area that runs off any vocal sub-dominant gobbler, obviously you would want to utilize a gobbler decoy. To give him the ultimate challenge in some cases, you may want to use a strutter decoy. Adding a real tail fan to an Avian-X LCD Strutter adds even more realism in the field.
It’s important to note that the pecking order is equally as vital for hens as it is for gobblers and jakes. The LCD Lookout Hen is the best for challenging hens, ultimately bringing in Tom’s that follow. The main idea is to take the time and think about the situation whenever possible, rather than just placing decoys at random.
Head positioning is a one-two punch with body posture. Again, if you want to add contentment and a relaxing environment to incoming turkeys, the LCD Feeder hen is a great option. With gobblers, the same can be true. A challenging head tucked into quarter, half or full-strut body position can show a stronger level of dominance; depending on the head and degree of strut. Another great example of body and head position design intent is in the LCD Breeder hen. This decoy’s body is elongated and head lowered suggesting a submissive pose just prior to her squatting for the breeding process. The Laydown Hen posture represents a female that is fully committed; taking the attraction to a whole new level.
Through much studying we have noticed that when hens and gobblers are comfortable their wings are not tucked up tight; they are dropped a bit signifying a relaxed state. This detail is easy to go unnoticed unless a turkey is accidentally spooked and we see those wings draw up for a quick get-away. We incorporate those relaxed wings in every Avian-X decoy – helping just a little extra getting a turkey to commit.
Very similar to wing positioning, we incorporate that kind-of “ruffled” look. When things are status quo and the flock is comfortable, birds often have relaxed (not slick) feathers. Just like tucked wings, many times when we see a completely slick-feathered turkey they are sensing something not right and preparing for a fast departure. That is why Avian-X decoys appear to have a lot of feather texture to project that relaxed, calm atmosphere and are inviting against any doubts incoming turkeys may have.
HDR (Heavy Duty Realism) is a new technology here at Avian-X. We have incorporated even more detailed feather design into a rigidly molded decoy with all the above features and design intent. Flocking the rump section between the body and tail just adds more to the attraction game. More realistic leg stumps and jake spurs help bring this new decoy to the next level. The best part of the design may be that these decoys come standard with two interchangeable heads. Including a semi-tucked head and another more upright sub-dominant option, this quarter-strut can tell a whole bunch of different stories. The paint-scheme and iridescence are unmatched. Exposure to any type of ambient light make the paint and flocking vibrantly realistic to the human eye – not to mention a turkey’s. The HDR Jake connects with so many facets of attraction and will aid tremendously in that level of confidence you need to have success in the Spring.
No matter the day or conditions, when you are in the turkey woods always take the time to try to paint the best picture you can. Utilize gobbler, jake and hen decoys together to tackle the mating and pecking orders at the same time. Vocally adding some subdominant gobbler talk like jake yelps continue to add to the realism of your decoy set up. At Avian-X we strive for perfection and getting animals close. Turkey hunting is so addictive; probably more from the mistakes that we have made than the successes we’ve had. But if we took the time to think the situation through, we’d have a heck of a lot more fun out there and probably kill a few more longbeards.
If anything, we hope that this may assist in starting a different thought process next time you hit the woods and always remember to paint the best and most realistic picture you can to that incoming turkey. Best of luck this Spring and remember that it is our job to pass it on!