3 Underrated Turkey Decoy Setups

The truth is, most hunters will take every perk they can buy. If they say otherwise, they are probably lying. This is definitely true when it comes to today’s world of ultra-realistic turkey decoys. When given the choice, I’ll admit, realistic lures are worth every penny. This is especially true for the bowhunter who needs to hypnotize the toms if he wants to have half the chance to draw his bows. Equally important, however, is what lures he uses, when and where he places them. Bad lure placement will have you walking back to the store for a refund, while a few perforated tags will leave you a believer for life.

Honestly, the best lure advice I can give is to find a place the turkeys frequent, keep an eye on your lures, and spend your time. Nothing alerts turkeys like a false occupation in a place they don’t go often and don’t want to be. To increase your odds, use your whitetail knowledge of funnels and terrain features to place lures in a gobbler’s most likely approach path. Use fallen wood, cliffs, drains, thick vegetation, and fence crossings to your advantage when determining where to place your lures.

the whole herd
This tactic is best implemented early in the season when the birds are still gathered. Like adjusting your calling sequence according to the season or striving to “match the hatch” in a trout stream, a wide variety of lures will appear more realistic than a lone hen early in the season. Conversely, a six-deke distribution will look out of place when hens spread out to find nesting spots and bachelor groups split up accordingly.

A hard-learned lesson comes to mind. I had a lone tom gobbling up and 100% committed to my calls. When he had a picture of my flock of multiple birds, including a quarter strut jake, he turned around and did an abrupt 180. I learned that it was probably too late in the season for this spread and this tom certainly it was not the dominant bird. in the hierarchical order.

Consider buying cheap lures to supplement your arsenal. While I love the realistic look of a high priced chicken decoy, and will use it every chance I get, 90% of the time the tom doesn’t pay the chicken decoys an iota of attention and goes in to set his domain with Mr. Jake. You probably won’t even think twice about that chicken decoy whose paint scheme doesn’t match the rest of the chickens. With this strategy, quantity is the goal, hoping to draw more attention from large flocks of chickens with multiple gobblers in tow.

the breeder
We’ve all probably seen advertisements for breeder hen decoys; they have been around for quite some time. The idea behind these lures is to give the gobblers around her the impression that she is ready and willing to breed. When combined with a subsequent tom or jake lure, this changes the dynamics of the lure’s spread and often arouses curiosity.

If you don’t have a hen in brooder position, there is another solution. Whether you have a feeding goose or a spotter, positioning relative to your gobbler lure changes the environment your spread gives off. A tom or jake lure spaced 5 yards from your hen lure will give gobblers the impression that this short bearded guy is simply following a hen in hopes of courting it. Alternatively, staking your male decoy within a couple of feet of the hen gives you the impression that something else is going on between these two birds.

the motor
Few things make a lure spread look more fake than a bird on a stick that hasn’t budged an inch. This is increasingly problematic if your setup is on the edge of a field and has been in the sight of the devourer for long periods of time. Adding movement to your lure can be the turning point in getting timid gobblers to commit. The easiest way to add movement to your spread is to choose a lure that moves easily in light winds. Full strut lures tend to catch more wind and turn easily, just like light lures.

Sometimes the type of stake you use can also make a difference. My favorite lure, a quarter strut jake, features a stake commonly used by waterfowl hunters who swear lures need movement to look realistic. This lure spins freely on the stake and has a bungee cord to keep the lure from spinning like a windmill on windy days. Lastly, there are some motion bets on the market, some of which are electronic. Admittedly, I haven’t tried these stakes yet, but if another bird hangs out in sight of my spread, it will probably be in my shopping cart soon. Remember that electronic lures may not be legal in all states.

To maximize the effectiveness of your lures, your tactics and selection should change as the season progresses. Survey wild birds in real time and match your decoy array for maximum realism. Lastly, choose an installation location that gives you the advantage. Place the lures in a spot that redirects a tom’s natural motion right into your lap; your fake birds will be too close and too tempting for that longbeard not to come in and investigate.