If you’ve hit the backcountry in search of elk sheds recently, then you’ve probably noticed that the spring thaw isn’t far off. And with it turkey season. So let’s talk about the best decoy setups to use this spring in hopes that it might bring an old tom into range.
We’ll break it down into three categories based on a single hen setup, a hen and a jake, and a full-bodied gobbler decoy called the Wiley Tom 3D.
Why Turkey Decoys Work
Turkeys involve themselves in a form of drama not unlike what you might see on a soap opera.
Say you’re using a hen and jake decoy combination. Imagine what a gobbler will think when he sees a punk jake trying to sidle up to what the old tom believes could be one of his mates. The chances of him charging straight in are pretty good, especially during prime breeding season.
Needless to say, the combination of a jake and hen decoy system is pretty ideal since they can be each used in so many diverse ways together or completely separately for a less dramatic scene. More on that down the page.Hen Decoy
If you have to be selective about which decoys to buy this spring, the best bet is always a hen decoy, such as Miss Purrfect XD. Every turkey hunter should have at least one in their vest. And since Montana Decoys are so light and packable, carrying a Miss Purrfect XD decoy inside a vest adds hardly any weight, allowing you to move with agility, especially if you hunt at high altitude. And she can quickly and easily be positioned as a hens that’s feeding, looking, or laying down ready to breed.
Gobbler decoys are perfect for luring in toms that are either henned up or hung up. Sometimes a dominant bird will see your decoy setup, but not approach, expecting the hen to come to him. But, employing a large-and-in-charge, full strut decoy such as the Wiley Tom 3D can quickly alter a gobbler’s mood from romance to royal rumble.
With a major “come at me bro” attitude, Wiley Tom 3D gives you the ability to reap a hung up gobbler that refuses to close the distance. Its large fan will conceal a large man. And it’s convenient mesh window and stalking handle give you visibility and maneuverability, respectively. Of course you can also use it in a more static setup with the chest piece attached for a full body 3D strutter.
Important Note: If you decide to reap a turkey, do so only on private land where you know the location of your hunting buddies at all times.
For a less intimidating approach than using a tom, a solid option is our jake decoy, Jake Purrfect XD. Place this younger-looking, less-dominant decoy in an area where hens typically hang out, as if he’s looking to move in on a gobbler’s territory. Dominant toms do not take kindly to this. To add even more incentive, read on about the Purrfect Pair.The Purrfect Pair
Find a field edge with good cover. Stake the Purrfect Pair XD 15 yards in front of and facing you at a slight angle, with Jake Purrfect slightly behind Miss Purrfect, which is in a breeding pose.
An aggressive tom or group of sub-dominant toms will confront the jake decoy first, giving you the perfect shot angle. If you chase turkeys with arrows, draw back your bow as the strutter turns away from you and aim for the vitals just above the thighs.
Hopefully there will be plenty of opportunities for you to test out different setups this spring. So, knowing which decoys to deploy and when is just as important as picking your hunting spot. And from what we can tell, the key is, the more drama on the stage, the better.
Learn more about turkey decoy setups at Montana Decoy