A few days a go as I was day dreaming about turkey hunting I asked myself what would turkey hunting be like with out a decoy. After pondering it for a while I realized how difficult would be to actually get a Tom in close enough to shoot with out a decoy. With that said I am going to discuss why a decoy can be very important to turkey hunters.
As you may already know turkeys can see very well, so by placing a decoy out in front of you it brings the attention of the turkey to the decoy and away from you (the hunter). This will typically allow a hunter to bring their gun up into shooting position with out being noticed.
Turkeys also will be looking to associate something with hunter’s turkey calls. If a Tom is responding to a turkey call and coming in closer to your location and you don’t have a decoy he may get confused or suspicious. When a Tom becomes, confused or suspicious he will either just stay put and wait for the hen or just simply turn around and walk away looking for other hens.
If a turkey happens to come in from behind you it may be almost impossible for you to get a shot. With decoy a Tom is more likely to see it and make his way around you to the decoy. Eventually if you don’t spook him he will present you with a good shot.
If you noticed to this point in the article I have only mentioned using a single decoy. However by adding just one or two more decoys the benefits may be worth the extra baggage. You will always want to use a hen decoy and either a Jake or a Tom along with it. One benefit to using multiple decoys is that there are now two decoys to distract a Tom’s attention and not just one.
Adding a Tom or a Jake can be an additional benefit (especially in areas where there aren’t as many birds). When a Dominate Tom sees another Tom or a Jake by a hen he will want to get rid of the other bird (your decoy). He wants all of the hen decoys attention for himself. This can bring a Tom in a bit faster and less cautious because all he can think about is getting rid of the other Tom or Jake. This going to give you a better chance of staying concealed.
When hunting with a youngster or in an area with a very limited number of birds I would use the Jake decoy with your hen. In my opinion he will be less intimidating to not as dominate Toms and other Jakes. This way you won’t scare off those birds. Hopefully giving you greater chance of shooting a turkey and get the youngsters hooked on turkey hunting.