The last couple of years, turkeys hunters have jumped at the new modern age turkey decoys. The realism to these type of decoys is unlike anything we've seen before.Today's decoys feature better feather detail, and colors on the feathers and heads make distinguishing them from real turkeys tough. These decoys also last longer, being made with better material, such as EVA (Ethylene vinyl acetate) rubber instead of foam. But, the detail to realism is the No. 1 key.
|Hunter's Specialties Suzie Snood Hen Turkey Decoy|
|RedHead Reality Series Breeding Pair Turkey Decoy Combo|
But these modern decoys also come with a higher price tag. So, is the extra cost worth it?
Turkey hunting expert and long time Hunter's Specialties pro staffer Rick White offered his thoughts on these new modern decoys and gives some other insider hunting tips when it comes to hunting with decoys. White has spent the last couple of seasons hunting all across the United States with the Hunter's Specialties version of "today's decoy" — better known as Jake and Suzie Snood.
Watch video about Jake and Suzie Snood turkey decoys.
What are the advantages of life-like decoys?
Rick White: Turkeys come in faster and, most importantly, they stay at the decoy longer. Realism makes all the difference. It's plain and simple, the better looking the decoy is, the better they work. For years we have had mediocre looking decoys and lets face it, some were just down right awful looking. Will these bland decoys work? Yeah they will work, I have found that turkeys would come into 15 or 20 yards and they would lose interest. Yet when hunting with high quality realistic decoys such as the Snoods turkeys come in faster and stay at the decoy longer because they think it is a real turkey. This makes for a more exciting turkey hunt. With such realistic decoys, the hunter doesn't just get to experience shooting a gobbler at 30 yards, they get to see him react to a life like decoy. A high quality decoy makes the turkey engage his dominant instinct and not only will he come to the decoy, he will often times try to battle it to show he is the dominant male.
How many decoys should you use?
Rick White: There are different variations of the number and distance depending on which style of hunting you are doing, whether it be with a bow or a gun, and that terrain and the time of year are also factors to those questions. In general I use a jake and hen decoy. When bow hunting I always use a jake and a hen as well as a pop up style ground blind in which he usually places the decoys within 10 yards of the blind, which is a very close distant. Its important to make sure that the jake always faces towards the blind. This is done because most of the time a gobbler will come head to head with a jake when showing dominance, this allows the hunter to get the bow drawn while the gobblers back is towards them. Gun hunting is a little different, decoys should be placed a little further out than you would while bow hunting. If in a blind while gun hunting you can keep them close, but if on the ground place them at 15 to 20 yards just so that gobbler doesn't pin point you as easy.
What kind of setup do you use?
Rick White: A popular decoy set up is the breeding position. At certain times of the year this style of set up can be very affective. When a gobbler is in the right frame of mind they will lock in on the decoys and come in faster than the normally would. When a hen is close to the ground as if she is ready to be bred added by a jake decoy above her, gobblers think that the young immature jake has slipped in on his territory and is trying to breed his hens. This is when the gobbler comes in aggressive and ready to fight, which makes for a entertaining hunt. While hunting in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas where there are large flocks of turkeys a breeding position set up has been very successful. When hunting large flocks of turkeys, try to sound like 3 or more different hens. I use a slate style call, with 2 or 3 different types of strikers, along with my diaphragm style mouth call. Sometimes I will add a couple more hen decoys while hunting large flocks. This just gives a gobbler that has plenty of other turkeys around him more of a reason to break away and come to the decoys.
Why is decoy placement important for saftey?
Rick White: This is the most important thing when it comes to hunting, especially when hunting with decoys. Always place your decoys in an area so that you can see several yards around the decoy. Just in case another hunter was to approach the decoys you can see them in plenty of time to keep everybody safe. I once had an experience while in my home state of Iowa during the late '80s, around the time that Iowa first made it legal to hunt with decoys. I had a jake and hen set up out in front of me when another hunter slipped in and shot one of my decoys. To make things worse, it was the hen that the other hunter shot. Scenarios like this happen more often than people think and with the realism of todays decoys, it can be very easy to mistake them for the real thing. As hunters we need to identify our target before shooting, and place our decoys in a safe position. By keeping the above tips and tricks in mind and seeing first hand the difference that the new decoys make I will have to say that yes, the modern updated decoys are definitely worth the extra money. Try them out and you too will see that the saying "you get what you pay for" does in fact ring true when it comes to hunting with decoys.