It is hard to believe the 2012 spring turkey season is almost history. I am trying to help a friend get a bird but besides that, the season is over. I have hunted turkeys for years but every year I learn a little more about the monarch of the spring woods. This year, I learned that with proper decoy placement, little calling is needed especially when using a high quality decoy.
This year I tested out the Zink Avian-X line of decoys including the new Jake decoy. The head on this decoy is amazing. It looks like a real turkey (and apparently it does to the turkeys as well). Last weekend, I was hunting some private property near my home where several gobblers hangout. The problem is there were several more gobblers on this property a few weeks ago. Many of those gobblers can now be found in a freezer. By the time I got a chance to hunt, the remaining birds were fairly spooky and weren’t gobbling much. After days of hunting without success, I finally decided to place my Jake decoy and hen decoy on the edge of a large field where a tom could easily see it if he walked into the field.
Shortly after fly down last Saturday, I heard a distant gobble but there wasn’t much hen talk or gobbling going on besides the single gobble in the distance. An hour or so after fly down, a few hens entered the field. Several of them were very curious and approached my decoys and clucked and purred at the decoys. An hour after that, tommy boy showed up.
A decent tom stepped out into the field a couple hundred yards away. By this time, every live hen had left the field. A few seconds after the tom stepped into the field, he noticed the two decoys and worked his way towards my setup. I only clucked once or twice. The decoys did the rest. Over the course of a half hour, the tom strutted and drummed and walked the entire length of the field. When he stopped at 20 yards to strut and show the Jake decoy who was boss, I pulled the trigger. There is no question the decoys did the trick.
Brett Berry, a pro staff member for Zink Calls, had the same experience on several turkey hunts this spring. “The Avian X decoys do a tremendous job of fooling toms. A few hen yelps, A few gobbler yelps, and in most cases the toms came running to the decoys,” Berry said. “I killed several birds at less than 30 yards and so did many of the hunters I was calling for.”
Over the last decade, turkey decoys have gotten a bad rap, largely because even though many turkeys were killed over them, many also got spooked by them. I can’t tell you how many times I was calling in birds that got spooked the moment they laid eyes on my decoys. The good news is in the last few years, several companies including Zink, Carry-Lite and others have started making decoys that look so real that they even fool hunters. If you are a hunter that in years past has shied away from using turkey decoys, you may want to try again.
Brett Berry with one of the many turkeys he lured in this spring with a decoy.