Carbon Express Arrows
Tom or NO Tom
Turkey
Contributors to this thread:
Paul@thefort 24-Mar-16
trkyslr 24-Mar-16
JohnB 24-Mar-16
Bowfreak 24-Mar-16
Bowfreak 24-Mar-16
trkyslr 24-Mar-16
trkyslr 24-Mar-16
writer 24-Mar-16
writer 24-Mar-16
Bowfreak 24-Mar-16
trkyslr 24-Mar-16
Brotsky 24-Mar-16
trkyslr 24-Mar-16
Reflex 24-Mar-16
EmbryOklahoma 24-Mar-16
drycreek 24-Mar-16
Brotsky 24-Mar-16
trkyslr 24-Mar-16
longbeard 24-Mar-16
Reflex 24-Mar-16
trkyslr 24-Mar-16
Mad_Angler 24-Mar-16
Topgun 30-06 24-Mar-16
longbeard 24-Mar-16
trkyslr 24-Mar-16
trkyslr 24-Mar-16
Reflex 24-Mar-16
writer 25-Mar-16
oldgoat 25-Mar-16
joehunter8301 25-Mar-16
Julius K 25-Mar-16
Tracker12 25-Mar-16
razorhead 27-Mar-16
jims 27-Mar-16
jims 27-Mar-16
trkyslr 27-Mar-16
writer 27-Mar-16
Panther Bone 27-Mar-16
writer 27-Mar-16
Bowfreak 28-Mar-16
EmbryOklahoma 28-Mar-16
writer 28-Mar-16
Scoot 28-Mar-16
Scoot 28-Mar-16
From: Paul@thefort
24-Mar-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
With all of the conversation concerning which mature tom or jake decoy to use and how best to use them and when, I thought back to a few times when neither of these male decoys worked.

I have had a few experiences when a mature tom would hang up out side of bow range or just skirt around keeping an eye on my close facsimile, and then never come in.

Sensing an issue of domination, after the tom would depart, I would venture out and retrieve the tom decoy, only leaving a hen or two and with positive results later when the same tom returned or a new tom presented himself.

Have any of you had similar experiences, of Tom or NO Tom?

My best, Paul

From: trkyslr
24-Mar-16
Paul, honestly with the Dsd Jake the number of birds that have skirted it or not came into it that have seen it over the last several years, i can count on one hand - two max. Now with a strutter type decoy, I think the odds of that happening are deffinetely greater as some birds get intimidated by a birds fan and don't want a fight or the decoy not looking convincingly real to them. The submissive jake pose even gets me feeling tough ;-)

So to answer your question, I'm not a strutter decoy fan so I'd go without and use a submissive Jake decoy 9 times out of 10. The 1 time be solo hen.

From: JohnB
24-Mar-16
I have seen groups of jakes running a field together and kicking any toms butt that showed up, that is the only variable I have seen. It might explain your tom hangups. I like the dsd jake and breeder hen most always though. This season I am going to try the turkey reaper decoy at least a few times, I don't know how much trouble the bow is going to present but it ought to be good for a laugh or two if I can get a longbeard to attack.

From: Bowfreak
24-Mar-16
I am not buying the DSD as magic elixir. I have a Dakota and it is so close to the DSD that I would at least expect similar results. I still get birds that are not interested and birds that don't come into the decoy. To me...if every bird you are seeing is coming into your decoys you are hunting in Turkey Nirvana.

From: Bowfreak
24-Mar-16
I will also add that IMHO the best decoy setup when in doubt is to go with either lone Jake or strutter. Both will at times spook birds and both will at times drive them crazy. In theory te Jake will spook less and typically the birds I have killed off the strutter have been older and more dominant.

From: trkyslr
24-Mar-16
Bowfreak, there's more to it then just that. Proper setup location and realistic calling helps when that tom sees the decoy and decided to come in or not. And also there's me doing my job not getting busted or not. Say what you will but the Dsd Jake (and even copy cat Jake deeks) have changed the game a bunch in higher success. Numbers speak for themselves.

From: trkyslr
24-Mar-16
And I'll add that's on birds that have commited to the calling or your setup and came in to within say 60 yards as Paul was talking about.. I just haven't seen many put on the breaks cuz of the Jake decoy as its been something else that stopped them

From: writer
24-Mar-16
Slayer X3, for all three posts.

I've had lone two-year-olds come a heck of a long ways then hang-up when they see the strutter. A few lone jakes come in very slowly or may skirt.

(Jakes are like gang-members, tough in bunches but wusses if they have to fend for themselves.)

Our success rate with the Dakota (the knock-off as mentioned...couldn't find a DSD at the time) is about like what Chris and Joe find.

I use a DSD hen with the jake sometimes, but they first almost always go to the jake, even if they don't attack it.

From: writer
24-Mar-16
Slayer X3, for all three posts.

I've had lone two-year-olds come a heck of a long ways then hang-up when they see the strutter. A few lone jakes come in very slowly or may skirt.

(Jakes are like gang-members, tough in bunches but wusses if they have to fend for themselves.)

Our success rate with the Dakota (the knock-off as mentioned...couldn't find a DSD at the time) is about like what Chris and Joe find.

I use a DSD hen with the jake sometimes, but they first almost always go to the jake, even if they don't attack it.

From: Bowfreak
24-Mar-16
Yes trkyslr. I agree with realistic calling 100% and if you are calling realistic you don't call like guys on TV. If you are calling realistic where I hunt, you call very little. Turkeys are not nearly as vocal where I hunt as they used to be. It is really not even close.

Either I have no idea what I am doing or we are hunting way different turkeys but I can assure you that I don't have the same reaction that you guys are experiencing. I have killed a pile of turkeys and the ones I hunt are not as sold on any decoy as you guys describe. I agree that these dekes are awesome but they aren't bulletproof.

The only thing that will work on turkeys nearly 100% of the time is corn. :)

I will say that while bowhunting I have killed way more turkeys with persistence than any kind of decoy, calling or expertise. I find that you simply have to be in turkeys a lot to kill them with a bow. Sometimes the first 2 you see come in and you tag out. Sometimes you see 4 or 5 before one even considers coming in. They are as fickle as anything you can hunt. It can be the easiest hunt or difficult. You really never know how they will react.

From: trkyslr
24-Mar-16
Many diff ways to skin a cat and the calling topic leads to a future thread I'm posting later today... Don't want to change the direction of Paul's thread

From: Brotsky
24-Mar-16
Paul, I had an interesting situation somewhat similar happen last spring. I had my DSD jake out with the hen and called a big tom in. He refused to come into the decoys and just stood in the field and strutted about 30-40 yards out from the decoys. My wife was on the string so we needed the shot close. Eventually he lost interest and wandered off. I personally felt like he was the dominate gobble and did not feel at all threatened by the Jake. He figured if he strutted out in safety that the hen would come to him in his magnificence. That gave me an idea so the next morning I set up on him again, only this time I brought my strutter! Well lets just say he didn't appreciate someone else strutting in his woods! My wife managed to shoot 3 holes through his tail feathers while he thrashed the strutter so he still lives to this day! He is public enemy number 1 for me next weekend on the opener. Hopefully I can trick him again! I'm convinced that he did not feel threatened by the meager jake and that it took the strutter to threaten him and get the necessary reaction.

From: trkyslr
24-Mar-16
Brotsky, I can't say cuz I wasn't there on your first setup, but any chance he didn't like your decoys location that day or saw movement or your blind or had prior knowledge of the setup? I've had a few similar scenes over the years and in those I could tell it was something other than the deek he didn't like with the blind ( usual reason I've experienced) or a small movement, etc... Just a thought

From: Reflex
24-Mar-16
Hey trkyslr, could you elaborate on the decoy location? That is, what do you feel about the location of decoys that could have caused the tom in Brotsky's example to not come in?

I've had the Dakota jake decoy for a few years and have had really variable results. I've had a few really good encounters and a lot of what I call bad encounters. Toms see the decoy and walk or skirt on by. Some of these encounters are within 50-75 yards, others are further out but easily within site of the decoy. Just wanting to get your thoughts on how I can potentially get better results.

24-Mar-16
The overall turkey population would be my determining factor in using a tom decoy or not. If I've got 1/2 dozen toms and 10 jakes running around and 30 plus hens, I'd most likely use a tom decoy. In my case with a dwindling population, I don't even use a hen decoy most often.

So, I feel it's a direct correlation with flock dynamics if I use a tom decoy.

Bowfreak... People actually use corn for turkeys? :)

From: drycreek
24-Mar-16
I find the biggest variable to be ......me. I use a jake and hen and generally have no hangups beyond my range. I just won't shoot at a turkey beyond twenty yards because of the small vitals. Where I hunt the openings are small, and I hunt out of a pop-up with only the front open, so there could have been hang ups I've missed. But, I have been busted by a Tom or two that came in silently from the side and got close enough to see me try to draw. This happened last year late in the day with the sun at my back. Under those conditions, the blind is no longer a black hole and turkeys can detect movement.

I agree with Bowfreak about the easy/difficult part also. Sometimes on the same hunt.

From: Brotsky
24-Mar-16
Chris, very little chance of that. I virtually had the strutter in the same hole in the ground as the jake from the day before. Blind was set-up the same, same orientation to the decoys, etc. It could be as simple as he was in a different mood the next day. The only real difference I could control was the strutter vs the jake. This tom is the only turkey I've had that's entered the "circle of trust" as I call it that hasn't fully committed to the Jake decoy.

Reflex, to hit on your question a little, 50 yards for me is what I define for turkeys as the "circle of trust". If they get within a 50 yard circle of the decoys and have a clear view of the jake they are coming in. That's the point I set my slate call down and start my camera or grab my bow or both. One thing I learned over the past couple of years is that I think turkeys have a harder time seeing our decoys than we think, especially in a wooded setting. When our head is 5-6' off the ground they are only a couple feet off the ground. Our line of sight is much different than a turkey's. Don't be afraid to get on your hands and knees to get a "turkey's eye view" of things around your set-up. It's an eye opener.

From: trkyslr
24-Mar-16
Reflex, I will in a few gotta work now

From: longbeard
24-Mar-16
To answer Paul's question, I think you are better off the majority of the time with a jake decoy so you can avoid any "hang up" situation due to the dominance factor. However I can't begin to tell you guys how much money your wasting on those expensive decoys basically any type of decoy will work if set up properly. Trkyslr I know from your posts on here you have the experience to know when and how to properly use a decoy. Give your self some credit (and save some money)and stop using the "realism" factor of an inanimate object as the reason for your success. You guys are doing things right, its not because the decoy is a DSD. I can't tell you how many turkeys I have killed over decoys made from plastic or even just a tail fan stapled to a piece of wood like a paint stirrer. Its more about set up, woodsman ship, flock dynamics and even the attitude of the individual turkey you are hunting, if that's what you are doing. The DSD and AvionX are very nice but not necessary. You said it yourself, there is more to it than that and you obviously have cracked the code. Good luck!

From: Reflex
24-Mar-16
Brotsky, I think you are probably right that birds may not see the decoys all the time. However, some of the specific instances that I am thinking about are when the birds can clearly see the decoy. For instance, last season I set up on the corner of a football-size (both shape and size) pasture that was essentially mowed down to the ground. There were two toms that I got to sound off back in the woods. I got them really excited and were cutting me off with gobbles when I called. I quit calling and they entered the field at the opposite end. It's a slight rise (going up-hill) to where I was at, so they may not have seen the jake decoy at that point. The birds starting come straight toward me. At around 100 yards (clearly visible) they veered off to my right (a definite change in direction from their prior course). They walked by at about 50 yards to the side of my blind and continued to go past the blind and beyond. I realize that not every situation works out, but it was a head scratcher for me. I also had a hen decoy out with the jake and I called at the toms when they veered off course. Maybe those things contributed as well.

From: trkyslr
24-Mar-16
Longbeard I never said all our success is due to the decoy. Many other factors are included as you said I know of. I did say the decoy has greatly increased success especially pulling birds into easy bow range. I could elaborate more but I'm limited on time right now.

Reflex I haven't forgot you.. Standby

From: Mad_Angler
24-Mar-16
One comment. .. DSDs may look like other decoys. But... DSD did the work and introduced the concept. They also make the decoys in America.

I also think they look slightly better. But i would but them even if they didn't rather that support a cheep Chinese copy.

But back to the subject at hand. .. late in the season, i will go with just a hen. By then, the rooms in my area are very educated and wary of Jakes. Early in the season, they literally run to the DSD jake.

From: Topgun 30-06
24-Mar-16
I seldom use a decoy and kill a bird every year because I make them come looking for what's doing the calling.

From: longbeard
24-Mar-16
Trkyslr not saying you said that at all...I just know you guys (and others)talk up the greatness of those decoys to no end. Yes they are realistic looking and they do work, but they are still only decoys. I would much rather have a less realistic looking decoy that adds movement to the equation. Like one you can spin a bit with a piece of monofilament line. There is no right or wrong answer in this debate, it just depends on how much you want to spend. You guys are very good at what you do and I wish you continued successs

From: trkyslr
24-Mar-16
Reflex, When I was referring to decoy and setup position it was for two seperate things. One being setup with deeks in a location birds want to be, will travel to, and feel safe. For us and our terrain we try setup on higher ground as birds prefer to be higher on ridge lines or above danger. Our bottoms and lower drainages have more brush and spots for predators to ambush from. They feel more comfortable up higher. On low spots with thick vegetation birds will be more shy traveling there or coming to a deek there as it presents an area with more potential danger. Birds want a higher more visible location for the fact of danger. On flat ground same as birds want more visibility so we see them in open fields or along wood lines vs in the thickets stuff nearby most of the time. This is something that could be diff in your woods vs ours.

And second is in reference to a blind's direction with the deeks out front to a birds possible approach. I've noticed when setup facing a blind directly towards a birds approach (say for example 100-200 yards out in an open field) the bird sees the deeks as he's coming in and his attention is on deeks. At the same time while he's concentrating on the deeks the blinds black hole is right behind the deeks, which could catch his eye if the black hole is too big, doesn't look right or someone in the blind is moving. So to avoid this I Deff try and face the blind and deeks off set or to the side (lft or rt) of a direct line approaching bird if possible. So as the birds coming in he doesn't have that black hole visible until the last few yards to detect danger from as by then he's engaging the deeks.

As I said in brotsky or your situations it's hard to say without being there and knowing those birds routes. Also calling with birds that close could put the brakes on if it's not type of calling they wanna hear. I'm gonna cover a little of this later. Feel free this year if you have the same results to post or send me a pic of the setup from the birds perspective if possible. I might be able to assist better if I have a visual and more info. But I hope that doesn't happen for you. Good luck!

From: trkyslr
24-Mar-16
Reflex pm sent also

From: Reflex
24-Mar-16
Thanks for your input Chris! I could definitely see the black hole being a detriment to the set-up. The only wooded areas where I hunt are the creek-bottoms. typically the birds fly down out of the roost and make their way out into pasture or ag fields. I am almost always hunting in a highly visible area.

From: writer
25-Mar-16
X2, Slayer as per the bird coming in to the decoy with the blind directly behind it.

Like trying to get ducks and geese to decoy with a side-wind vs. one at your back. A lot less chance they'll see something is amiss with the first of those two situations.

From: oldgoat
25-Mar-16
I never ever had luck with a Tom or Jake decoy out UNTIL I bought a Funky Chicken Jake decoy!!! But I know plenty of people that do use them with success sometimes.

25-Mar-16
I don't always go turkey hunting, but when I do I use a dsd jake decoy and we sleigh em :-)

From: Julius K
25-Mar-16
Paul, I might try putting on a tail that is not full strut. Even if it is a couple feathers over some dark colored cardboard. Doesn't have to look perfect, but you will be closer that jake look that is working so well.

From: Tracker12
25-Mar-16
I used light weight Feather Flex decoys for 25 years that always impart pretty good movement. I never got the action from them that I am getting with the DSD Jake.

From: razorhead
27-Mar-16
My experience has been it really depends on the turkeys and the pressure on them..... I found the mer riams, in Nebraska to decoy very well, all the time, however the big toms in Wis around my house, seemed to have seen it all.....

For Wis I use no decoy, at least in my area, just calling and set ups in strut zones and areas they pass thru, found thru scouting......

have had best success with one jake I agree,,,,,,,

last year we used the chicken on the stick, and it was a game changer, and for those that used a gun, they all scored.... I missed two with my bow.....

might try a head up, this year

From: jims
27-Mar-16
Where I hunt in Nebraska jake decoys just flat out don't work. It has gotten to the point that I don't even like using jakes! I hunt large private ranches with literally 0 hunting pressure. There tend to be quite a few bunches of bad-a$$ jakes that hang out together. I have a feeling that is the main reason why toms hang up and don't tend to come in to jake set ups. Tom decoys with fans are generally the kiss of death in that area but I often have to change things up from one day to the next depending upon the situation.

With that said, I haven't hunted towards the end of the turkey season when hens are often nesting. I have a feeling lone hens, or hens without toms may work super well at that time because toms are often on the prowl for the few non-nesting hens that are still available to breed.

From: jims
27-Mar-16
Trkslr, I'm curious what the make-up of your flocks generally tend to be? From a few of your videos it appears that there are quite a few toms vs jakes...or at least groups of toms that are traveling together? The time of year I hunt Nebraska the toms tend to hang out in groups of hens...many of which are VERY large. There tend to be fewer jakes and the jakes tend to hang out together on the edges of the flocks. I hardly see any groups of toms hanging out in groups of 2 to 5 toms without hens like it appears to be in your area in California? If that is the case I can understand why jakes work so well in your area and the time of year you are hunting.

From: trkyslr
27-Mar-16
Jims early season we have everything from solo toms, groups of toms (3 came in rt away yesterday), solo jakes to large groups of jakes.. The 3 toms yesterday were roosted with hens but left them for the hotter louder hen 300 yards away ;-) so a Mixed bag. I usually like to run a couple hen deeks with the Jake throughout the season and if the situation and bird im working calls for a diff spread I'll remove or add the appropriate deek.

From: writer
27-Mar-16
Sounds like you better stay out of Nebraska, Chris...not sure you guys could kill those birds. :-)

From: Panther Bone
27-Mar-16
I've never brushed a commercial blind and never worried about setting up in the wide open. I tag out every year in Tn on private and public ground...shooting turkeys from blinds at literally 5-10' with a r/d longbow.

From: writer
27-Mar-16
Steve..send me a PM, I'll make some public suggestions in Kansas, if you'd like, or at least geographic regions. You can go online and look at the areas open under the walk-in program.

From: Bowfreak
28-Mar-16
 photo Awesome_zpsxjhp5z4e.jpg

28-Mar-16

EmbryOklahoma's embedded Photo
EmbryOklahoma's embedded Photo

From: writer
28-Mar-16
Wow.

If you're going to trash Kansas, and Kansas hunters after you leave, Steve, please disregard the advice I gave you as per areas.

From: Scoot
28-Mar-16
Butthurt, how exactly do you know where and when others would fail? You don't know crap about these people, have never met them, have never hunted where they hunt, and yet you seem to know where and why they'd fail at something. You have no idea what you're talking about and the motivation behind 90+% of your posts is to put others down and build yourself up.

Would the powers that be please dump this moron for good? Ridiculous...

The good news is this: the people who know what they're doing and are accomplished at what they do have no need to worry about the ramblings of a buffoon. Your backhanded shots and self-aggrandizing ridiculousness is water off a duck's back to most, which is why they don't bother replying to your bombastic BS.

From: Scoot
28-Mar-16

Scoot's embedded Photo
Scoot's embedded Photo

  • Sitka Gear