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Strutter vs Jake decoy
In the Knight and Hale interview, they said that they prefer full strut decoys with full tom tails.
It seems that most folks on the bowsite seem to prefer the half-strut jake.
I have an original Pretty Boy full strut decoy. I've killed a few turkey over it.
Lately, I've only used a DSD jake. I've killed a lot of birds over it.
What do folks prefer?
Yesterday, I tried my Pretty Boy.
I set it out in the open about 100 yards from the roost area. Many birds could clearly see it when they woke up.
They gobbled a lot while roosted. After flydown, it was 2-3 toms, 4-5 jakes, and 2-3 hens. The toms and jakes strutted and looked at the decoy from about 80 yards away. The hens just fed away from the group.
The toms wandered around the field strutting and posturing with each other.
After about 90 minutes, a nice tom started coming to the decoy. He got within about 10 yards of it and started veering away.
I was able to kill him about 20 yards from me (using a shotgun, sorry).
I wonder if I would have used my DSD jake if they would have came right in...
DSD Jake or similar jakes by far... Much more effective for the bowhunter in many more situations vs a strutter IMO.
I like my DSD jake 99 times out of 100. However I have used my strutter in certain situations with a dominant bird to elicit the type of response from him that I just couldn't get from the jake. I do know that if you use one or the other and it doesn't work you'll always wish you had tried the other one! Ha!
Brotsky, are you saying turkeys are unpredictable? ;-)
Chris, 50% of the time it works every time!
I have had better luck with a jake rather than a full strut tom decoy. I've had several toms hang up at 80-100 yards and lose interest and walk away. Maybe I just haven't had the right Tom come into it, who knows. In my opinion, if you don't catch that certain pissed off at the world Tom that wants to kick every other bird in the area's rear end, you aren't going to have much luck...Some people swear by them but if I were to have a choice, I would take my Jake decoy out 100% of the time.
I have had incredible success over a DSD strutter in areas that have high bird densities, like eastern Kansas. But back home in northeast Indiana, I find the jake decoy works better. I have had limited success over a strutter at home, while I have hit it out of the park many times with the DSD jake.
Not many birds that will come to the strutter than won't come to the Jake...not always the other way around, though.
A strutter does give a bigger profile for birds to recognize at a distance.
Earlier in the season, the better, especially when the toms are traveling in groups.
They can wuss-up pretty quickly when they are traveling solo.
I agree.... when they're solo you've got a much better chance of them coming in to whoop a Jakes butt....
Hazel Creek strutter equals no hesitation and dead birds. lol. real thing is hard to beat. I have killed so many birds over it. most at 2 yds to 4 yds
I like a strutter. The pose is more realistic for non mobile decoy. Plus a little wind can move the fan. I do have a DSD jake that I've used a few times, but haven't had many encounters so I don't have confidence to use it over the strutter. I've also had good results with a strutter and a feeding hen or two in late season hunts and afternoon hunts.
DSD jake and I have a date with a tom in the morning!
I've actually had poor results with jakes and fantastic results where I hunt in Nebraska with a strutter. The only conclusion I can come up with why jakes don't work is there are lots of jakes in that area that may possibly beat up on lone toms? The toms almost always are with groups of hens and the jakes are usually watching from the flanks. The toms generally seem to ignore the hen/jake setups because they usually already are with hens. I imagine if I was dealing with lone toms or groups of toms strolling around and they saw a lone jake with hens they may get ticked off but that usually isn't the case.
One thing for sure is fanned out tail feathers seem to get a lot of attention and are super visible...especially late in the season as grass and shrubs get taller or leaf out.
This may change depending upon the time of year and situation so I always am willing to change things up depending upon the situation. I'm starting to use my jake decoy less and less the time of year and places I hunt.
Could be on the season, thing...but I'm usually tagged out by now, and done with youth hunts, so I can get to fishing and dog training.
I've noticed in trkyslyrs videos and pics that many of the toms he hunts are lone toms. I don't see that very often where I hunt. That likely may be a timing deal in both California where he hunts and Nebraska where I hunt? It may also be the make up of the flocks? I've never thought of it this way but maybe tom to hen ratios may be different? In Nebraska there are literally hundreds of hens in winter flocks vs toms/jakes. Once hunting season opens in Nebraska there are plenty of hens to occupy toms so they aren't alone very often. I certainly wish there were more single toms running around because it would certainly make things a lot easier! As many of us know...henned up toms are super tough!
Jims, I was curious exactly on numbers of our bird(s) coming in and counted up last three years including this year and got these approx percentages.... Solo call ins about 40 %, two toms call ins 40%, and remaining 20% is 3-5 bird group call ins.
trkyslr, is that 80% of the birds you call in are toms without hens? Is the 3-5 birds a mix of toms and hens? The tom:hen ratios must be super high with a lot of toms for the number of hens?
Most of the birds I'm hunting in Nebraska during archery season have around 10 to 50 birds in single flocks. I've seen as many as 200 in a group when they all come together to roost. In April they start breaking up but most of the flocks have at least 1-3 toms with 5 to 15 hens. Later in April and May once the hens start nesting there are still 1-3 toms with 5 to 10 hens off and on during the day. I haven't really hunted late into May so the toms may break away from hens by then? Once in a while I'll see lone toms without hens but that hardly ever happens because there are so many hens available. I've found it nearly impossible to pry toms away from fairly large groups of hens with decoys that are set up in a field. I've been fortunate to find a few lone toms or called in a few groups of 3-5 turkeys to decoys but that seldom happens. I almost always have to get in close and get them riled up to move my direction or intercept them while they are moving.
I can understand why jake decoys would work with your senerio if they are single or 2 toms or toms you somehow can pry away from very small groups of hens. It sounds like we use totally different techniques because of the difference in tom and flock dynamics?
The 3-5 bird call ins im talking about is toms/jakes .. I'd say the number of call ins that involves hens coming in with toms or visa versa is about 5% out of all call ins. This year out of all setups we had m, we had hens come in 3-5 times and that's out of minimum 60 setups. Out of those 3-5 setups hens came in it was solo hens to small groups of like 5 hens..we have a few roost spots where off the roost we'll see up to 20-30 hens but that's usually in March at the start of the season.. By May that same roost will have a fraction of that number of hens. this is all spring as fall is way diff. These main roost spots in the fall will have 30-50 hens with 10-20 jakes and toms. The biggest fall group I've seen at one of my spots was about 80 hens with about 30 jakes and toms.
I'd have to say that is a high percentage of jakes/toms...which is good for you! It's kindof like hunting a premium elk unit with high ratio of rutting bulls running around battling over a smaller number of cows! I sure wish I didn't have to deal with so many hens but it is that much more satisfying once things work out. I've picked up a few tricks but it is always a challenge with so many keen eyes watching.
Jims...what all states are you hunting?
Nebraska has some of the highest success rates in the nation. So does parts of central and western Kansas.
I've been hunting Nebraska and Colorado. So far Nebraska has been very good to me during shotgun season but super tough during archery season. I've found that bow season in Nebraska is super tough because birds are in such large flocks and want 0 to do with decoys where I hunt them. Also weather can be pretty rough during archery season.
I just started hunting mtn merriams in Colo. It's been a challenge in Colo hunting heavy pressure (OTC tags) on the Front Range. It makes it pretty tough when toms are with hens and scattered across large areas with trees, and are god aweful quiet. If they weren't with hens and willing to come in to calls it would definitely make things easier! I certainly haven't found a spot in either state where there are single or multiple toms running around without hens!
I've killed birds over full fan Tom decoys and my DSD Jake. I love my jake decoy but it's awesome watching a big ole Tom fully commit to my strutter! If I had a limited amount of time and really wanted to get the deed done, I'd use a jake.