Steve Hickoff is the Realtree Turkey Hunting Editor and Blogger. He’s been beaten by more birds than he can remember. Still he kills enough to eat well, and fool with beards, spurs and fans until the next season. Pennsylvania born and raised, Maine is his home base now. A full-time outdoor communicator with a couple university writing degrees, he chases spring gobblers and fall flocks around the country. It's "all turkeys, all the time" on the Realtree Turkey Blog.
Turkey Decoys for Fall Hunts?
Do you use turkey decoys for fall hunts? Wild turkeys, spring or fall, will hunt down the sound of your calling. Decoys may not be necessary for either season. Then again, realistic fakes offer visual encouragement when that bird steps into view (and even before you see it).
Let's look at the upside and potential challenges of using turkey decoys for fall hunts:
MAYBE SO: Numerous turkey decoys in front of a field blind can function much as a bunch of duck or goose fakes do for waterfowlers. In both cases you're calling to pull birds in, then letting the spread do the rest. If you're bowhunting from the ground with both deer and turkey tags in your pocket it might work. Call me crazy, but deer seem to come to turkey decoys in the spring as much as the gobblers you want. If you're just looking for a freezer deer, you might be able to target both species this way in autumn when seasons run together.
MAYBE NO: Numerous decoys in front of a field blind can attract attention from other hunters as well, especially if visible from access roads. Just sayin'.
MAYBE SO: If you hunted roughly 20 years ago, you know turkey decoys weren't as realistic as today's range of offerings. As a result, using one or two to lure fall birds your way might just add a little extra incentive as scattered flocks regroup or during a morning fly-down calling sequence.
MAYBE NO: Either-sex fall turkey hunts allow you to shoot hens or gobblers, young or adult birds (check your state regulations). As a result, caution is required when you mix fall calling with realistic turkey decoys in front of your setup. Some states also permit rifles for fall turkeys. Then again, full-fan gobbler decoys are often used in the spring with the usual caution and at times, good results.
What are your thoughts on using turkey decoys for fall hunts? Ever do it? Did it work? Let us know in the comments section below and thanks.
(Steve Hickoff photo)