Contributors to this thread:
Which Avian-X decoys to buy
I already own a very nice jake decoy, and I am in the market for two hen decoys. I have pretty much settled on the Avian-X, but not sure which of the four hen body types to get. All of my turkey hunting is done in Southern Illinois from early April - late April/early May, and 90% of my bow turkey is out of a blind.
Choices are Lookout, Feeder, Breeder, and Laydown.
I know I will mix and match dependent on the period of season (early vs late) just not sure which two to drop my money on (can only get two right now). I know a bunch of you guys are way better turkey hunters than I am, and have a lot of insight into decoy strategies.
I have the jake and the breeder, and they have worked well for me. If I were going to buy two hens, I think the breeder and the laydown would be the way to go.
Disclaimer: I aint no expert !
I have older ones, alert and feeder they were called then, I just put feeder on the ground to mimic a breeder.
Depends on your habitat. If you're hunting anywhere where the grass is higher than ankle-high, breeders and feeders will not be very visible. I always use an upright. Never seen a feeding hen calling. Having an upright looks more natural if you're calling at a tom who can see your set-up.
I use the Breeder/Jake pair and they work super! I have never regretted spending a little extra on them.
You already have the most important decoy, by far, - the jake.
They work on keeping a pecking order 12 months of the year.
Toms worry about hens a few weeks a year. We've shot strutting toms off a Dakota jake (not that it's any better than other quality decoys) Nov, Dec. Jan, April and May, and photographed them many times in Feb, and March.
I see little difference having a hen with them or not, but it probably doesn't hurt.
I bought the breeder and lookout hen last year. I wish I had bought the DSD versions like everyone warned me to do. The breeder leaked air after a month and was replaced with no questions asked. I took the dekes out of storage two weeks ago to see if they still held air and my lookout hen leaks now. I sent an email to Zink's customer service about it and have yet to hear from them. Save your money and buy the DSD's
I love my DSD Jake but went with a Avian Lay down Hen. I hunted all last year with just the DSD Jake and still liked birds. Not sure why I feel the need to ad a hen but who knows maybe it will help of those tuff birds.
We may be over thinking the basic brights of a Tom Turkey. Some days one decoy will work other days another and some days they just don't seem to care. In general I find Turkeys a facinating critter to hunt but overly bright or predictable they are not.
It's always a plus if having to do much hiking to use compact decoys. If you hunt areas that tend to have much grass or tall vegetation it's nice having at least 1 hen that's head is somewhat upright so it is visible. I'm not exactly sure why, but the toms in the areas I hunt generally react to decoys with fans. I'm not sure if they get beat up by jakes but jake decoys haven't worked very well for me. With that said, I know a lot of guys swear by jakes. That's one reason I like a variety of decoys.