© By Othmar Vohringer
Serious turkey hunters – me included – will do everything and anything, provided it is legal, they can to coax a gobbler that extra few yards into close range. Lately there has been much hype about using full-bodied strutting tom decoys. These modern decoys come dressed in a real feather fan, wing and sometimes even real body feathers. The decoys look so real that even veteran turkey hunters have a hard time telling the difference at a distance between a real turkey and decoy. I am told that these new generation decoys are the hottest selling items, and they are not cheap either. I’ve seen full-bodied strutting tom decoys going for as much as 200 dollars apiece.
Putting out a full strut tom decoy with your decoy hens can, and often will, make a gobbler so mad that he will come running in from 100 yards and more to attack the intruder. I’ve seen gobblers attacking a strutting decoy with such fury that I became scared I might be the next if I don’t shot him right away. On the other hand I’ve seen gobblers that approached carefully and then turned around and run away, obviously intimidated by the decoy. When that happens the hunt is ruined. And it happens more often than you might think.
Why you might ask. Well here is what I think. All of these strutting decoys look like mature boss gobblers and only a boss gobbler would be brave enough to pick a fight with a fully mature tom. The younger and rank lower toms will run, knowing that they will get a good beating should they come to close to the hens guarded by a boss gobbler.
So the question I am asking myself is this. Are hunters limiting themselves by using a strutting tom decoy in the hope to get that one or two that will come in running to do battle? The truth be told, too many hunters fall for marketing tactics. Especially less experienced turkey hunters might think that these decoys help them to overcome a lack of scouting, poor calling skills and poor hunting tactics. The truth is that no decoy, or any other gadget, ever will be a short cut to hunting success. In fact, decoys can spoil a hunt in a hurry if used without the knowledge of what I call the four “W” -Where, When. What, Why- of turkey hunting. Full strut decoys still can be part of a well thought out hunting plan, but not as a short cut plan that magically will solve all your problems.
What do you think?
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