Contributors to this thread:
Compared to what was available 15 years ago, decoys have surely taken on the "real" look.
The new rage seems to be the submissive jake decoy and rightly so as it is not threatening and really pisses of the dominate tom and in some cases to lose it's head.
What jake decoy are you using today?
my best, Paul
DSD jake and a Dakota jake. They have changed the game for me!
Dakota jake. No fuss with a fan and excellent results!
I have been using the DSD Jake for a few years and I love it, A friend bought the Dakota Jake and I got to see it today, The paint job looks more realistic to me ????
Also have a DSD hen.
Also have an older Pretty Boy full strut decoy with submissive hen.
Also have a Heads-Up decoy.
I have the most confidence in the DSD jake paired with the pretty boy submissive hen.
I am most excited about the Heads up decoy. I used it a bit last year with okay succces. I really want to give it a good workout this year.
Heads up decoy! Real fan!
Nothing like having a bird come in trying to fight you!
Like Hunt said, they've come a long way...From hard plastic to today's!
DSD Jake....50% of the time it works every time!
Nothing like the newer decoy's it is almost unfair as the Turkey's just march right into them. I have 5 DSD decoy's plus an unknown brand Strutter that looks really good with the real tail on it and the remote control pivoting stake under it. Thinking about selling off a couple of the DSD and the Strutter as I just can not pack all of them in at one time, it does not do any good to have things you do not use much.
Buy a "stuffer" Paul if you can find one for $200 or less...they are real ;)
I have DSD's too, but the stuffer wins hands down as you'd expect.
Someday, Hurt, I'd love to shoot an elk as big as your ego, but such a critter hasn't been born yet.
This morning I had a herd of toms hit my Dakota jake so hard, and often, they bent the stell stake...and that's not easy to do.
I like the Dakota because the head is tucked down, in a more submissive pose. Killed strutting birds off it every month of our spring,fall and winter seasons.
Lots of other decoys will work as well.
Avian X for me.
Ron, I'm glad you said " almost unfair ". I would hate to think I was taking unfair advantage of them pore ol' turkeys. :)
DSD Jake for me last year with great success. Thinking of adding a DSD hen this year.
Yeah... and 13yrs ago during a South Dakota blizzard, hunting with ole one-eyed Willie, the 2nd best tail chaser I ever knew, I shot a turkeypekker off with my bow! (using one of them fancy SELF-INFLATING decoys) Here's a picture to prove it! ..... any u boys mount da pekker? :-)
I just picked up a DSD Jake and a Avian X Breeding hen. Cant wait to use a realistic decoy. Last time i picked up new decoys was the carrylite pair 10 years ago that seemed top of the line.
Used a DSD for the first time last season. Very impressed.
Just order an Avian laydown hen.
I remember when Dave Smith used to come on Taxinet and discuss the poses for his new turkey decoy and then update with photos of his carvings for the prototype. All I was thinking was man thats gonna really up the decoy game !
DEC man that is one monster jake decoy ;)
Just a few years ago, the Primos full strut tom was the big deal.
I mount all my own turkeys and have been using a strutter for several years I cringed when the primos boys came out with that one but a buddy got one and it never worked in fact he let me cut the head off it to put on one of my stuffers :)
Timbrhuntr I remember that! I remember people telling me to not bother making a realistic decoy for turkeys- they'd never sell because using no decoy at all is the way to go, and turkeys have pea-sized brains, etc. They said the same about Geese when we started in 1999, so we were pretty sure turkey hunters would eventually LOVE realistic decoys just like goose hunters did. So much fun! It's slightly painful to see guys loyally promoting a decoy that I practically killed myself to create and took forever, and then got quickly knocked-off and made in China, but everyone has their priorities, and as people are having fun hunting, that's all that counts!! DS
Many decoys offer the option of adding real wings and fans to the decoy. That alone is a bonus for making decoys look more realistic!
Interesting, the use of the Primos full stutter produced three toms that year.
The evolution of the tom decoy continued. We can all remember using the foam fold up decoys with good success . Have the turkeys become more educated or is it just like fishing lures, more catch the fisherman than the fish?
When I shotgunned them, I never used decoys. Just called them in close.
And then last year, in less that 7 days I killed three toms (1 nebraska and 2 in colorado) over the newer jake decoy with hen.
No doubt, like the Dave Smith Jake or tom decoys, the look and shape of these decoys have reached a new high and bow hunters are having good success.
I wonder what is next or will there be some "new fishing lures" come along that we will all have to have, ie bigger/better/improved?
Good luck to all. my best, Paul
I've killed a few over the Primos strutter as well Paul, also very effective.
That is a good looking hen stuffer
I noticed there is a new "robo-tom" decoy that came out this year. A tom decoy is more or less attached to a remote controlled motor and frame. I'm sure this is likely outlawed in some states. If you had a couple remote controlled toms and hens in a field it ought to get a tom's attention?
Sent you a P.M. Dave Smith.
Another high risk/reward tool is calls and calling! You may use the most realistic DSD or Dakota decoy but not call properly and it will likely turn smart ole gobblers and hens the opposite direction before they even see your decoys! Knowing when, what calls, and how much calling can make or break any setup. My guess is most new hunters call WAY to much! This can be just as bad or worse than having decoys that may not be realistic!
A lot of birds live to gobble another morning because someone didn't call enough to get them really fired up.
Some of the best, and most successful, turkey hunters I've been afield with call a lot, most of the time, but they know how to read the many variables.
I do know that usually, when you have good decoys, in the right location, the fake does most of the work while the hunter kids himself into thinking it was his great calling. :-)
Wow can't believe that Dave Smith actually commented on my post too cool. Your a better man than me Dave if I did all that work and took all that risk and then some dufus came along and just copied my idea i'd be royally pissed but thats just human nature I guess others just freeload off of more tallented peoples skills !
Writer when I first stated to hunt turkeys my calling sucked and even though I used decoys I had much trouble getting turkey to respond. I then hunted with an experienced turkey hunter and he gave me some tips on my calling. I then noticed that although I still used decoys as my calling got better I had many more encounters. Sure the decoys may have sealed the deal sometimes but without good calling I may never have got even a response to them.
Decoy movement can be an interesting topic. To move or not to move might be the question.
When I purchased the Primos Pretty Boy strutter a few years back, I attached two long strings fore and aft on the decoy and ran them back to the blind for control, and that allowed me to turn the decoy 180 degrees. Worked great and all three toms that year fell to the decoy and movement.
In prior years, with no wind or decoy movement, I had the same successful results; Dead toms. And last year, with the new and improved jake decoy, no movement, I also had good results with three killed toms and all shots were within a few feet of the decoy.
So does movement of the decoys help or is it even needed, or is it the decoy set up and calling that really draws them in?
I can understand that when a tom is really fired up and just can not help himself, he might come to anything that resembles a hen.
It might be that the really cautious/pressured toms might need everything that the hunter can muster up to bring him in and that includes, the best most realistic decoys, movement, and sexy calling.
my best, Paul
I think Paul@thefort is on to something. It may take everything to work on pressured birds! If I had the choice between mediocre decoys and great calling vs mediocre calling and great decoys I'd take the great calling any day of the week! More times than not turkeys hear calls before they are close enough to see decoys. Once fired up and on their way great calling often seals the deal to weary ole toms!
As Paul also mentioned, decoy movement can also help. I'd take the movement of a mediocre decoy over a great decoy that doesn't move. How many times have you watched a smart ole tom waiting for movement and headed the opposite way when decoys remain solitary or calling didn't get them fired up?
This is my strutter that I have a remote control stake on that allows me to turn it on and off from inside the blind. It rotates one way about 270 degree or more the auto reverses back the other way. It has been the death of many Toms.
Timbr, read back 30 or so years and you'll find I've always been a huge proponent of quality calling. :-)
Woodsmanship is most important, but a good woodsman who is also good with calls is the best turkey hunter, every time.
My point was, once the tom sees the decoys, the decoy does most of the work.
In areas with thick cover, like the eastern U.S., hunters have to rely more on calls because there's not as much open area for the decoys to work.
Glad you're having fun, and have probably learned some excited yelping and cutting can fire up birds that ignore the old "yelp three times and cluck twice, then shut-up for an hour," school of thinking.
Writer I agree I was just saying that when my calling sucked i never could even get a turkey to come close enough to let the decoy seal the deal ;)
There are obviously several ways to hunt turkeys. One is to set out decoys in a predetermined area. I consider calling to be critical for this set up to work. It's a matter of getting turkeys attention and getting them enticed into responding and coming to your decoys. It's a well known fact that flocked up turkeys/lead hens/toms can nearly be impossible to get fired up enough to head to decoys. Smart ole high pressured toms and lead hens pretty much know the difference between the same old calls they hear time after time from excited and lively cuts, purrs, and calls that many callers have no clue how to use.
A 2nd method is to stay mobile and not set up a decoy until turkeys are heard, spotted, or in an area known to hold turkeys. In this 2nd scenario calling is often used to locate toms. If tom's are quiet it makes this 2nd scenario a lot tougher. Experienced callers often know how to get responses from quiet toms and have the ability to call in toms that may come in silently to the right calls.
I'd say that calling is pretty darn important! Firing up toms, lead hens, silent or flocked up groups of turkeys is mighty important for getting them to turn and head towards hunters. In country with dense trees, brush, or tall vegetation, hilly terrain turkeys often don't even see decoys until they are within shooting range! If you can't get their attention and get them to head your direction they won't ever even see your decoys. Obviously in open country or areas with open fields decoys are seen from longer distance.
With that said, I would have to agree with having turkey "smarts" is as important as just about anything else. Being willing and able to change things up is often vital for success. To me, that's one reason hunting wise ole turkeys is so challenging.
DSD. Every day and twice on Sunday.
Jake and hen, strutter when I'm not on public.
JIms...curious where all you've hunted turkeys?
Love my Dave Smith Decoys. if there are turkeys in the area I am very confident with dave smith decoys I can get them to come in. set them at 5 to 7 yds from my blind and game on.
I'll let you know it works...