Thoughts From The Field

Blog posts by the team

Breaking The Pecking Order

It is opening morning and the turkeys are still flocked up. Despite this, you get setup on a bird gobbling hard on the roost. You have high expectations until a few hens begin calling in the distance. The gobbler pitches off the roost right to them. He sounds off a time or two as the flock makes their way to an open field.

Gobblers during early season

Perfect early season situation to fan or reap a gobbler.

What is your next move? Calling him away from the hens is out of the question. The field is flat as a pancake. You could pack it in and come back another day. But there is something special about punching a tag on opening day! Having a big arsenal during turkey season is critical to staying successful! Fanning or reaping may be the answer!

Throughout late winter, both gobblers and hens establish pecking orders. Turkeys have distinct social ranks throughout the flock. They sort out these roles by pecking, spurring, flogging, and chasing one another. This very behavior is what can turn the hunting scenario described above into a success – if you have the right gear.

Dominate gobblers do not take challenges well. They know where they rank! Any other gobbler who threatens them or their hens will be challenged. A fanning or strutting decoy, like the Fanatic from Montana Decoy, works wonders during these situations. This decoy is designed to hide the hunter as you stalk to a flock of turkeys across open terrain. Using a large strutting decoy suggests a challenge to the dominant bird. Usually resulting in a change of behavior! The longbeard may charge in looking for a fight.

Looking through the Fanatic decoy while fanning

Stalking across open terrain IS possible! Just be ready for a charge.

Now that bird from opening morning is approachable. Even more important, he is harvestable! A note of caution! Before taking on this approach safety must be understood. Know your surroundings! Are there any other hunters in the area? You will need to know this before getting behind a strutting decoy. This technique is intense but works in the appropriate circumstances.

This spring don’t let a flock of hens or open terrain stop you from closing the distance on a longbeard. Check your surroundings and go after him! Be ready for some up close and personal action.

Chasing longbeards together,


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