I often hunt turkey alone and I like to hunt light and be as mobile as possible. Thankfully, the Montana Decoys allow me to carry one pack and run and gun. This week I had the opportunity to test out the new Papa Strut turkey decoy and the Dinner Belle hen decoy as I hunted Kansas and Nebraska.
My season began on opening day in Kansas with the boys from Lost Velvet Outdoors. We hunted an afternoon set and then a full day, breaking up into teams to get some filming done. We chose to be patient, with a blind set up under a few known roosting locations. We just seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time without a hot bird. The gobblers were just not talking. We had a ton of fun and we got after them but without the birds talking, we just couldn’t put two and two together.
I raced home from Kansas to attend an event with the kids and then I was on the road again to hang out with the guys from Heroes Hunting here in Nebraska. We planned on hunting Merriam’s turkeys in North Central Nebraska. I got a late start on the road and the guys were already in the blinds surrounded by gobblers when I arrived. By this time, it was about 4:00 pm. I took a quick look at the Nebraska Access Atlas and found I was just a quick drive from one of the great Wildlife Management Areas run by the Nebraska Game and Parks.
I spun the truck around and headed to the WMA. Two farms framed the access road with fields on both sides. A couple of jakes walked right in front of me just before the parking area and disappeared into the field. I parked the truck and took a walk down the path about 200 yards deep into the WMA. The day was warm and I realized I had left my drink at the truck. I turned around, headed back to the truck, grabbed my drink and walked back in about 80 yards. I walked up on a dusting spot, looked at all the turkey tracks and decided it was time to hit the box call.
Gobbles erupted in four different directions. I took the path of least resistance to the one that sounded closest. I set out the Papa Strut and Dinner Belle, sat down about eighteen yards away and hit the call again. He erupted. We spent the next twenty minutes doing the dance – I hit the call, he gobbled, and we went back and forth. Finally I stopped calling because I could see him at about 70 yards out. He hung for about ten minutes. I hit the call again and he zeroed in on the decoys.
He came in on a string once he saw them and I took him about five yards before he got to the decoy. This was my first Merriam’s turkey and I couldn’t be happier with him. I screamed pretty loud but there was no one there to hear. I snapped a couple of pictures, filled out my tag and headed back to the house we were staying at.
I love hunting with the Montana Decoys because they are light and less cumbersome than others. The decoys fold up and fit perfectly into my pack. The photographic quality of these decoys is exceptional. The new Papa Strut offers a three-dimensional look. The body attaches to the tail with magnets and coupled with the Dinner Belle it just drives gobblers crazy. In high winds, I recommend you stake the decoy as stated in the directions and then lean a small stick against the chest to keep it anchored a bit more securely. I may try running fishing line off the nose of the decoy to a small tent stake. I only make this recommendation because with winds a sustained 25 mph, the decoy was doing a big of dancing and really needed to be anchored a bit better. Of course, if the wind is that high the turkeys might not be heading into the open field; retreating to a spot with more timber might be the wisest move.
I have used many decoys in my day and I have seen some pretty amazing designs, but I will not be parting ways with my Montana Decoys. I know with the Montana Decoys, I can focus on the gobblers and not worry about lugging around heavy decoys.