When it comes to turkey decoys, there are two schools of thought: One group of turkey hunters will swear BY decoys, and the other groups of turkey hunters will swear AT decoys. Some old, street-wise Toms have oftentimes seen the likes of a decoy and remember a bad experience (turkeys may have small brains, but they are extremely wary and "street smart" when it comes to avoiding danger), or realize that the decoy is not a real turkey, so it will hang off and shy away. On the other hand "uneducated" turkeys will come running, lickety-split, saying to themselves, "hey, it's a party, and I'm coming invited or not." Having said all of that, savvy hunters have found that proper placement of the RIGHT decoys can trick even the wariest old Tom.
There's a relatively new decoy on the market which many hunters regard as "primo." It's called a B-Mobile, and has a full fan on its backside, and when used in conjunction with a hen decoy will draw Toms from far and wide. This set-up antagonizes other local Toms in the area, who believe that this intruder (always set up the B-Mobile decoy BEHIND the hen decoys, as if this arrogant interloper is herding the hens to his own area away from the other resident Toms), is poaching on their territory, and is moving on their turf. This scenario works big-time! I know hunters who have been 100 per cent successful and effective each and every turkey season -- spring and fall -- using this particular decoy and set-up. 'Nuff said.
Placement of your decoy is critical. Don't put them way out beyond shooting range (stop laughing -- hunters do this all the time!); but neither right on top of yourself either. If you put the decoys too close to you, the turkeys who will be watching the decoys will pick up your presence in a heartbeat. Typically set your decoys out about 20 yards from your blind or your position, then set out the hen decoys, and the B-Mobile behind them. Then, with the proper use of calls and decoys, you will draw in the wariest and smartest birds in the woods – indeed, at times, large numbers of Toms will come in and you'll have a choice of any number from which to pick and choose. These setups of well-thought-out combos of decoys and calls will often bring in hens and Jakes (young turkeys), as well as Toms. And don't forget, in states like Wisconsin, in the spring, you can harvest a hen or Jake as long as it has a beard. (In the Fall, you can hunt anything, and there's no beard criteria). We know of one hunter, who, this past Spring, actually shot a very rare bird -- a bearded hen. And please -- no comments or jokes about your mother-in-law...
(Phil Schweik of Hooksetters Guide Services contributed to this article).
Related Article: Turkey Decoy Tweaks - In The Turkey Gear Section