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I very seldom use decoys. I shot a gobbler this morning without a decoy. For me, they either come, or they don't. If they're coming, they don't hang up. But when I use a decoy, often they will spot the dekes and leave -- especially in the woods.

Lots of hunters use them religiously. I seldom do. Here are my questions:

1. Do you use decoys?
2. If you use dekes, do you use them in fields, or in woods?
3. Do you get a different reaction in fields than in woods?
4. Do your dekes ever spook gobblers? Where? Why?
5. Why do dekes often spook gobblers in the woods, and less often in the fields?

Thanks.
Steve.
 

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I rely heavily on decoys, but I hunt a lot of fields. The only time I feel that decoys have boogered me is when I use a jake strutter, but the times they come charging in for a fight make using it worth the risk in certain situations. Seems with a hen decoy or two, they either come to it or just ignore it.

On the rare occasions that I hunt the timber, I usually find myself at a logging road or clearing where the decoy could be an asset. I've not really noticed much difference in how they react to them vs. in the fields. Again, they either ignore them or come to them.

Just my experience.
 

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Ive used them both in fields and the woods....they've never spook them but I've noticed they will come in wide to them and then slowly come right up to them when setup in the woods.Fields no hesitation run straight into them...I think it a security thing in the woods.
 

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I do not own any decoys. Never used them. Never felt the need for them. I hunt 0 fields I am a woods hunter occasionally I will run into a gasline or gas pad setup but 99 percent of the time I am woods only.
 

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When field hunting I think it's a must. With their excellent vision you may get them to the edge of the woods, but once they scan I think they loose interest quickly without a visual on a bird making all that noise.

In the woods I use them 50/50 depending on how the birds are reacting to them and who's doing what <span style="font-style: italic">(hens seeking toms or toms seeking hens)</span>. Sometimes I hunt thicker areas and just like to keep them searching.

Every so often I hunt them like deer. If I have a good pattern on the birds I hunt them where they're going to be later in the morning, strictly sit and wait usually in a hedgerow.
 

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I get away from them more and more every year. I don't hunt fields and I feel playing around trying to set one up just allows for more noise and movement on my part.
 

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I hunt strictly woods, only bc there are no fields in areas I hunt. I never really needed them or thought they would help. I started using them on the youth hunt the past few years. They worked amazing. Almost too well, had a couple misses bc the birds were too close for the youngsters. That being said, those birds could have been shot before they saw the decoy. I feel in a woods situation that a decoy really doesn't benefit you much.
 

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I have a half strut Jake and a hen.


I've used them on n off the last 2 seasons but not religiously... I learned to hunt without them...so essentially I don't know how to hunt WITH them I feel...


Last year I had 2 hens come in on 2 different hunts on different farms...the first 2 milled around and fed in the field with the decoys...the other 2 I wish I filmed..one strutted her heart out..forget how long they stayed...it was a long while...I was in "the bosses" strut zone..thought for sure he'd see it from the woods and come in but he didn't...I never seen or heard him that day..


I need to use them more and learn to use them...can't hurt to have another trick up my sleeve...
 

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Im an all woods hunter, mostly because it's pretty hard to kill a gobbler in a field in my county.

Once in a while I might be set up on the edge of a strip job or clearing but never hunt a field. I have Decoys but seldom ever use them. In the right situation I might put one out, I have had multiple gobblers in the past spook from them so I always have that in mind and like to have them come in looking.
One negative to using them is they come in see the decoy and are content strutting 70yds away from it. Gobblers don't have to be right next to it and that has burned me many times in the past.
 

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I use them in fields and woods. My bird this year was in the woods. Walked right up to my dekes.
Honestly, Most of the birds I have shot were wo dekes. Being mostly a waterfowler I have a serious addition to decoys. Someone here (ginger from Pburgh, lol) has been talking up these DSD's. Unless I'm gonna cover serious ground they'll always be out. (for now anyway)


Everyday Hunter said:
1. Do you use decoys?
2. If you use dekes, do you use them in fields, or in woods?
3. Do you get a different reaction in fields than in woods?
4. Do your dekes ever spook gobblers? Where? Why?
5. Why do dekes often spook gobblers in the woods, and less often in the fields?

Thanks.
Steve.
 

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Anyone ever use the knight and hale scoot N shoot ? It's a larger full strut decoy that you hide behind to "sneak up" on a gobbler that just won't come in. Kinda dangerous if your on public ground but from all the videos I have seen it looks like it would work pretty good.
 

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WildTigerTrout said:
I never use blinds or decoys.
me too. Man VS. Turkey only for me.

I don't really hunt any fields but if I do, I would set up back inside the woods instead of right at the field edge. I can see how decoys would be more suited for fields, as that bird can see them from a long way. Personally I would rather keep him guessing. Most of the birds I have ever called in, none with decoys, have always come in with their head on a swivel. I don't often call at all when they are in that 50-60 yard range. I also don't really hunt open woods, so these birds are relying heavily on where the sound is coming from, over their sight. Even with a decoy they would probably have to be in shooting range anyway to see it, so I just opt out of them.
 

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Everyday Hunter said:
1. Do you use decoys? Yes
2. If you use dekes, do you use them in fields, or in woods? In field setups - almost always. Seldom in woods.
3. Do you get a different reaction in fields than in woods? When I have used them in the woods, the turkeys generally don't seem to see them.
4. Do your dekes ever spook gobblers? Where? Why? Not that I can tell.
5. Why do dekes often spook gobblers in the woods, and less often in the fields?

Thanks.
Steve.
I have cheapo foam dekes that are 10+ years old. If you watched any of the clips I posted of this year's hunts, you have seen two of them. When it comes to my decoys, I am certainly not one of the cool kids.


I occasionally use them in the woods if I feel that I am "forced" into a setup where a tom can see a long way; this really only happens when I am hunting with kids and feel like I can't get to a better setup quickly enough or stealthily enough. In those cases, if there is an open area, skid road, etc, I will sometimes set up dekes, but when birds have come into woods setups, they just don't seem to spot the decoys in most cases. I do not see decoys in the woods as an advantage, and actually think they decrease the safety factor because other hunters sneaking through the woods often won't notice them until they get very close, and then folks' knee jerk reaction is to pull up and shoot.

I have never used a strutter decoy, but could see how some birds would be put off by them. I can't say that I know for sure that my dekes have ever spooked a bird. Sure, they may not come right in or up to the decoys sometimes, but I've never had them spot the decoys, putt, and walk away, etc. When they don't come, it's more like they just aren't convinced that they need to, not that they appear to be alarmed.

I have had very poor luck with longbeards coming to a single hen decoy. Just last Saturday with my son we set up on a field edge with birds in the field, so I could only get a hen set, right on the edge. An hour later, I called a tom off the ridge side 400-500 yards away, after he had stood up there gobbling a while. He hit the field at 200+ yards and started crossing at an angle to our setup. I called, and he stopped and began to stare at the decoy. In typical fashion, after 3 or 4 minutes of staring, he turned and headed our way. Looked like a lock until at 150 yards he just kind of angled off course and veered to the wood line. He gobbled once when he was just out of sight, and that was it.

I try to use two dekes because my theory is that one "blob" in a field can look just like a turkey, but when two blobs close together in a field both look like turkeys, the leap to "knowing" that they are turkeys is a quick one, even if neither so much as twitches. I know that turkeys don't reason like that, but...

I also use a white/red-headed jake with a hen. My experience has been that most toms will come to check it out when they see this combination. Sure, there are exceptions when they are just too "henned up", but the odds of pulling them away from hens with a hen and a jake seem to be much higher than just trying to pull them away to another set of hens. I am also convinced that the jake is the piece of the setup that makes it hard to resist because the toms invariably head straight for the jake and interact with it first. With the hen and jake decoy setup, I can't recall a time that I've ever had a tom hang up and strut and wait for the hen to come to him.

I love to hunt without dekes when I hunt in the woods by myself. But I have to say that I have learned FAR more about turkeys' interactions with each other by watching and listening to them as they interact with my decoys. I believe it has literally trimmed years off of the learning curve for me; that in spite of the fact that I'm still a pretty poor turkey hunter.
 

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Most of my hunting is in the big woods. But I am a running gun from a mountain bike so most of my set ups are on or near a gated road. I use decoys on most of my set ups if I have time before the bird starts rolling in. A lot of the time the gobbler doesn't even seem to see the decoy but I have also killed a lot of birds that did see the decoy and came right toward it. I don't recall any incidents where I felt they hurt but many times when I thought they helped. I use the inflatable ones that I blow up and put in my bike basket until I need them. I can then deflate them and carry them in my vest if I have a bird to haul out.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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1-yes, on occasion.
2-I mainly use for cut field setups but I will use occasionally in the woods. Many times the choice is a gutt feeling of the particular bird I'm working or my particular setup...or as a result of previous battles
3-I've seen them both work/fail plenty in fields vs in the woods. I've seen truly UGLY decoy foam/bent ones bring em right in to kill range and yet spook at other times. I have much higher quality decoys now and same is true. Win some, freak out some...whether $10-100+ whether in field/woods
4-same as above, for me 50/50 success in fields vs woods w/ decoys and there is absolutely NO pattern that I can find that would explain it other then it's simply the bird involved. I've seen truly UGLY $10 decoys bring 11-12" bearded birds in as well as $100+, and I've seen gobblers absolutely run from both. Is it the shine of the decoy, their view, who knows?!? I often put a lot of thought into the positioning of the decoys as well to further entice reluctant birds. I like to have the hens back-end to a gobbler from where I think he'll show as I've had more success that way vs a decoy facing a gobbler that seems to tend to hang them up. I want that gobbler to be angry about a hen ignoring his advances, and I set them so as not playing to the standard way turkeys usually work.
5-I see no difference in field vs woods w/ decoys. For me it's the bird at the time. It can work flawless at times no matter the cost of the decoys nor the setup. Decoys do the same dang thing on some birds, they'll charge in on a trash bag or refuse a gorgeous hand crafted Dave Smith.
 

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I won't hunt without them. I've pulled birds in across 300 yard open fields, and I'm 100% positive that it wouldn't have happened without decoys. I use them in the woods as well. In both cases, it's to give the bird something to look at help keep his eyes off of you. I've never had the dekes themselves spook a bird, but I certainly have spooked my fair share of them by moving at inopportune moments.
 

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To add to my previous comment, my girlfriend's father usually carries a whole darn flock of decoys with him into the woods. And he is (self-admittedly) a terrible caller. He has always attributed having decoys out to helping him seal the deal.
 
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