Years ago when I started turkey hunting we were not allowed to use decoys while turkey hunting. Then sometime in the 80’s turkey decoys were legalized in Iowa. Not knowing anything about hunting with decoys I ventured out with some type of hen decoy that looked more like a chicken than a turkey. I learned right out of the gate the do's and don’ts about decoys.
Let me start by saying the most important thing you need to know about using decoys is safety related and you need to make sure you can see out past your decoys in a straight line when set up. Safety in the turkey woods is of the utmost importance.
This reminds me of a story many years ago. I was set up hunting using a jake and a hen decoy. I had a hunter sneak up behind me and shoot one of my decoys. He shot my hen decoy. So things like this can and do happen.
When turkey hunting with decoys I like to use a hen and a jake. Sometimes I use 2 hens and a jake. If I notice my jake decoy starting to spook gobblers I simply take it out of my spread. When I’m gun hunting I like to place my decoys 15 to 20 yards out in front of me. And when I bow hunting I like to place them much closer, often within 10 yards. Also when bow hunting I place the jake facing directly towards me, because most of the time when a gobbler comes in he will head straight to the jake and face him head to head. This will give me a shot at a gobbler within 10 yards, looking away from me.
I always use decoys when setting up on field edges and open timber. If I’m hunting thick timber I tend not to use decoys, but I always have them with me just in case.
Hunter's Specialties introduced Jake and Suzie Snood last year. Jake is a semi-aggressive decoy that brings gobblers running while Suzie is an upright hen that can also be used in a breeding position. These decoys are much lighter than most that are on the market. They are also more realistic and less expensive than most as well. New for this year we are introducing Penny Snood. Penny is a feeding decoy and is a great addition to the Snood family of decoys.
Sometimes using a decoy can be the difference of bringing that big old gobbler home or coming home empty handed. So if you haven’t hunted turkeys with a decoy I would recommend you give it a try. Good luck to all this spring and try not to shoot your decoy!