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Heads Up Decoy = Fun times
I went on a turkey hunt with a buddy and fellow bowsiter Matt Palmquist. We all know Matt is one heck of a bowhunter. He is also a master of the fan!
I've owned a Heads up turkey decoy for a few years, but have not really got a good chance to put it to the test. I was excited to use it and see the magic happen. I know they work, but how could you fool a bird in this wide open country?
Right off the bat, Matt located some birds and we made a short stalk. We peeked over a rise and Matt showed the birds the decoy. Almost immediately 4 jakes came strutting into about 18 yards. I drew back and turkey panic'd and released an arrow only giving the bird a haircut! It was crazy how quick the hunt happened. The rest of the day we sat in a blind and it was pretty uneventful.
The next morning instead of sitting in a blind we decided to go and try to locate some birds. We found a hen, Tom, and 2 jakes. They were headed in a direction and we made a loop to get in front of them. We came through some bluffs. Matt threw up the decoy and immediately the 2 jakes came charging into 8 yards. The action was quick and happened fast. I drew and released and the arrow was off yet again hitting feathers. The question is how can a guy miss at that range?
1.) My bow was off! All the bows fault! :)
2.) I suck and should just go get a turkey from the grocery store!
3.) the turkeys dodge arrows like the guys in the matrix movie dodge bullets.
4.) I was purposely missing so that the hunt wasn't over. :)
Well it turns out my bow was still on and it was not the bow! :) Matt assured me that misses happen and that we needed to keep after it. I was blaming it on what I called "Turkey Panic."
It was now mid day and hot. The turkey activity was slowing down. We located a bird lying down resting under the shade of a small tree. We got with in 110 yards of the bird and Matt showed him the fan. When the bird saw the Heads UP Decoy he started strutting and came our direction. Matt was holding the fan and I was behind Matt. I couldn't see the bird as I was a touch lower than Matt. Matt said here he comes! Within minutes the bird was 15 yards. I drew the bow, Matt moved to the side and the bird turned broadside. This time my arrow found its mark. The bird made it a couple yards before going belly up!
The end result of the Heads Up Decoy action!
The other option is, you did not practice with the decoy attached to the bow. I determined that one needs to draw when the birds our still out of range, and then when in range, tilt the decoy to the side and line up.
It also helps to predetermine the yardage, ie, 10 or 20 yards or even 5 yards, so when the turkey reaches that yardage, you will know how to sight.
I have had 4 different toms within 15 yards using the heads up, and have not killed one yet but it does take practice to get set up in that short period of time, when they come charging in. Yea, charging in.
I know when you do kill one, it will be a very proud moment.
The Heads Up decoy makes for one heck of a fun time. It sure beats sitting in a blind. I am amazed at how well birds react to it. Everytime we tried it we had birds come charging in close. The decoys will bring the birds in. Its just the job of the shooter to make it happen. :)
Great photos and bird. HUNT
Paul- yea I would like to say thats what caused my misses. But I actually did not have the decoy attached to my bow. If I was by myself I would have. But on this hunt Matt was running the decoy in front of me. He just held it in his hand and I hid behind him.
I think I was missing because the action was quick and I got too excited and didn't "pick a spot!"
Ermine....if you need a better excuse, let me know.
I've probably screwed up on turkey hunts more than any other person on Earth.
Plus, since I work with words for a living I can get pretty creative in my alibis.
Congrats, nice bird.
Writer- yea nothing easy about turkeys. Pretty cool that a bird that size can get you all excited and flustered!
Congrats again justin!!! Badass pics!!!
Looks like fun buddy. Congrats
Nice work, Justin....that looks like a blast!
That looks like fun man, I may have to try fanning this spring.
I remember the first spring I tried bow hunting, 5 misses on 4 birds. They sure can get you wound up tight.
Agree about the excitement of a close range bird.
While I practiced at close range, ie, 5 yards and under, I knew to aim slightly higher at that close range.
The other day while hunting out of my blind, I had a bird at 4 yards, and even though I had practiced that close range shot and knew I should aim higher with the 20 yard pin, I still shot too low and almost missed the bird.
All the practice seem to go out the window sometimes, when that big red-headed tom is in your face.
Great bird and hunt, thanks for sharing. My best, Paul
Great pics and story Ermine with a great bird at the end! Congrats!
Great story Justin, congrats! Hunter's bird from yesterday with the HUD.
My dad's with the HUD this morning. Great two mornings so far!
Really awesome pics. Thanks for sharing.
My old man would have called it the "turkey eagers."
Back in my youth when I did a lot more missing than I do now he would always ask me if I "took the buck eagers?" Lol!
There is obviously no shame in missing any animal as we have all done it and will continue to do it. It is what makes this game we love called bowhunting instead of bowkilling.
my luck some drunk would shoot me in the head
Second time showing it to a bird!
OK, Snap, did he shoot the bird or drown it? :-)
Must have been plenty of excitement on the hunt!
It was kind of a hot day, and then there was this river we had to cross.... yeah, long story. But great memories!
I cannot agree more with the comments on the heads up decoy...First of all it is the most fun turkey hunting I have had in a long time and yes my bow was off this weekend too. JUST KIDDING! When these 4 birds finally decided to, they came so fast I wasn't sure when to draw and waited way too long. When all 4 finally crested the little ridge in front of me they were literally 10-15' from me and I got busted trying to draw. After trying to swallow my raging heart back down into it's normal position, I misjudged the range and sailed an arrow over the back of one at about 20 yards. I will echo a couple things: Practice with it on your bow, it doesn't seem like there's that much to it but you definitely notice a different weight distribution when attached. You also lose most of your peripheral field of view at full draw so range estimation is very difficult. DRAW EARLY!! Once they get inside 30 yards you better already be ready to shoot or they'll be right in your hip pocket What a Blast!!
I agree. This decoy has completely changed turkey hunting for me. I can't believe how much movement they allow.
In the past, you were stuck in your spot. Time after time, I would see birds strutting out of range in the middle of a field. I was forced to wait in my spot and hope they would come to me. more often than not, they would not come.
Now, I can grab this decoy and walk to them. They don't really pay any attention to me. I can walk right up to hens.
So far, the toms and jakes have folded and walked away. I can't to find a dominant tom that won't put up with that...
Swing and a Miss from Heads Up Decoy on Vimeo.
It happens about as fast as these 2 birds charged. I probably should have drew earlier. Regarding peripheral vision...my fan blocked my vision to the right. The bird was still in strut when I drew and shot. But, in reality, I had already made my mind up to shoot the bird on the left.
Fun for sure.
GR Heads Up Decoy
Does this decoy system work well late season?
We've had people shoot birds in the fall with them. But, late spring, I would say yes if the birds haven't been pounded with pressure. If they are still interested in breeding the you have a chance.
GR,Heads Up Decoy
I'm getting frustrated...
I've useed the decoy to walk to within 20-30 yards of 3-4 flocks. That is pretty cool and very different than my past experience.
But, I have yet to find a tom that approaches the decoy. I've had multiple toms fold and walk away quickly.
How can you tell if the tom is ready and dominant?
Any other tips for when/how to use the decoy?
There is no way to know imo. You just have to keep trying them. A couple things to try. You have experienced that you can walk/crawl at them, but sometimes even though they don't spook they know something isn't quite right. You can get into range in those cases, but they may not ever charge. If you can use some topography and get close before showing the decoy that can work better.
I have also spun the decoy around to mimic the back of the bird when they are not being aggressive and had this work. Stick with them and eventually one will charge.
Good luck!! Matt
Any new updates?
I'm getting pretty excited for turkey season this spring. The HUD decoy is a big part of that excitement.
Also... What stabilizer works best with the decoy? Last year, I had a hard time attaching the mount and the decoy would sometimes loosen the mount due to the wind.
Do folks ever use loctite on their stabilizer thread?
I use mine on a b stinger 12" stab. I don't use loc tite just hand tighten.
or add a lock washer or star washer to prevent rotation of decoy's bracket.
Has anyone tried the Ultimate Predator Turkey Decoy? it Velcro's to your bow and you shoot through it as apposed to the decoy being off to the side.
My preference is to carry either a fan or decoy w/fan that I can set up in front of me and shoot around. That way it's easier to stalk w/bow in hand or bow on a sling.
The Nebraska archery season is early in the spring when toms tend to be flocked up in large groups. Where I've hunted during archery season the toms or large flocks tend to take their hens and run if they are intimidated at all by a turkey fan. It's something similar to bull elk taking their herom and running when intimidated by other bulls. It's pretty tough stalking large groups behind a decoy when there are 10 to 50 turkeys (with super vision) alert and watching. Later during shotgun season when groups break up and hens start nesting the single or small group of toms tend to be a little more aggressive. You never know what will happen until you try though. At times it can get pretty frustrating...especially early in the spring.
You can use loc tite. I have used several brands of stabilizers the best being bee stinger and limbsaver.
As far as the Heads Up Decoy use...Fanning a bird with the decoy out of the bow mount is a big part of how to use the heads up decoy. We've used the decoy with great success in extremely winding conditions with a partner. This is a big advantage of having a decoy that is not purely bow mountable.
With that said, the bow mount feature allows for a very quick set up and the fact that it is offset is not an issue. We have a 5 year track record of success using and promoting the product this way.
In the development of the Heads Up Turkey Decoy, we chose not to use a purely fabric decoy due to wind effect(drove through southern Iowa, Northwest MO, and eastern KS this weekend...it's windy everywhere). Using your real fan is an advantage to add realism and it's naturally vented to handle the wind better.
Good luck this Spring!
GR Heads Up Decoy
Great education Ermine and Matt...keep it coming!
You guys doing your hunt again this year (maybe you mentioned that above)?
So has anyone used the HU decoy on Eastern birds?? or just Rio's??
Easterns are harder for me to hunt with a bow than are Rios..
We have many guys in Iowa, eastern KS, and Wisconsin doing well on easterns. I personally am hoping to head east this year if my schedule will allow to get a bird.
GR Heads Up Decoy