Turkey Hunting Strategies: Using Decoys In The Early Season

By GrowingDeer,

  Filed under: Turkey Hunting

It’s been a fun week for the GrowingDeer Team and the fun is not over yet! I’m writing this from the Kentucky Proving Grounds this week as Grant, AJ, and I arrived yesterday afternoon ready to start chasing long beards. We were blessed enough to spend the beginning of the week near Tompkinsville, Kentucky hunting turkeys and staying at the beautiful River Breeze cabin. After a great hunt Wednesday morning, we loaded our gear and headed west to meet up with our friend Terry Hamby, owner of the Kentucky Proving Grounds.

three long beards checking out our decoys.

On a hunt earlier this week, three long beards came in to check out our decoys.

When we arrived, Terry and his farm manager, Andrew Clifton, informed us that the turkeys were working really well. Terry’s grandson harvested a bird over a set of decoys just a few days prior. This brings up questions asked at thousands of turkey camps every spring, “When is the appropriate time to use decoys? When should I use a strutting decoy and when should I resort to just a hen decoy?”

First off I’ll say that every property is different due to hunting pressure, time of the year, and the overall attitude of the birds. Typically, I’ll only use a strutting decoy with a hen early in the season when dominance is still being sorted and the turkeys are still in larger flocks. As the season progresses and a number of turkeys have been whooped or kicked out of the flock, I will start using a semi strut or standing gobbler decoy along with a hen decoy. This is the setup we’re currently using at the Kentucky Proving Grounds. There are still flocks of birds in areas but also the occasional satellite tom roaming the area. Terry and I saw this first hand Thursday morning as we decoyed in a flock of hens and 3 big toms came to within 15 yards! You can watch that hunt unfold soon of GrowingDeer.tv! As the season starts to wind down and the turkeys have been pressured more, I’ll generally only use a lone hen decoy. This setup enables me to put the turkey eyes on a decoy and off of me. If used at the appropriate time all of the different setups can be extremely effective.

Daydreaming of long beards and long spurs,