I'm like you poser, only use them if I feel like sitting in a food plot in the afternoon. I have never killed one over a decoy, and only seen it happen twice. I have seen turkeys ignore them more than come. I never use one when I sit down to work a vocal gobbler. I think they do work, but are overrated. We see them work all the time on tv, but they are not going to show us viewers the times decoys do not work. I have no problems with people sitting in blinds all morning with decoys waiting, but that isn't for me. There is deer and duck hunting for that kind of stuff.
I normally have a hen or two in my vest but a lot of times I leave them in the truck. If I'm hunting woods I don't use them. If I'm on an open field sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I have a pretty boy I used a couple of times one year and every gobbler that saw it went the other way so it's been hanging in my barn ever since.
I used to be anti decoy too, but last year on opening day we set up on a bird that we had roosted and put out decoys. He gobbled about twice and it was like he vanished. We sat there till about 7:30 and never saw or heard him after fly down. We decided they had went to a different field. So, we left and checked the other fields only to find them empty. That's when we headed back to get the decoys and just before we step out into the field, I see him and a hen about 300 yards across the field. We sat down and didn't call. After a few minutes, he spotted the decoys and walked straight across the field strutting and gobbling the whole way. I killed him at 20 steps.
I carry a hen these days but rarely use it. My tactics when I first started were more like deer hunting. Stationary for a while and using dekes. My first bird was at AEDC came to decoys like he was on a string. He was a nice bird too.
I've since been more of a run and gun hunter, but this year I have access to a property with more secluded fields, so a hen and a jake may be in order this year.
I use a pretty boy with a real fan sometimes, had good success. Also use hens as well. A must if bowhunting. I have had gooblers hang up on the strutter, as well as the hen, but overall I like em for field or roadbed hunting.
I us them about 1/2 the time. I've had many kills over decoy hens and strutters and really can't think of a hunt where they've messed anything up. I've had birds hang up at 50 yards but had the same thing happen many times when their looking for the hen they hear and there's no visual. Like tick said in a field or logging road it's been very beneficial. If your setting up in the woods calling and by the time the Tom can see you he's in range than there's no need for a decoy. Just depends on the type of hunt you like. To each his own...
With my style of turkey hunting I almost always carry a couple of dekes. I always start off hunting the edges of timber listening for birds or in the timber. I leave the dekes at the edge of the field or sometimes I even set them up in the field before hitting the timber. If I tag a turkey in the woods I just loop back through and pick up the dekes. If not then I work my way back to the field where I have the dekes set up and in many instances there are birds in the field with my dekes. Sometimes I'll hunt the timber and return to set up in the fields later into the morning with my dekes. I've seen birds that hit the fields like clockwork at a certain time and I'll beat them to the fields by 1/2 hour, set up, and wait for them to show. Sometimes I'm a passive hunter and sometimes I'll run and gun. The run and gun isn't for using dekes. I've probably killed as many birds using dekes as I have without using them. The point is I have faith in them and don't hesitate using them.
IMO they're 50/50, about like calling... I think they're effective in large fields and when your set up is in the turkeys favor.. Particularly if a bird is roosted on top of a hill and your trying to call him into the bottom... I think they can be fun watching gobblers reaction when it works.. I think most guys like to run and gun and decoys are just something else to carry, many guys don't take care of em cuz they only use them half the time and have success with our them... I can promise u there are situations when u would not kill a turkey with out a decoy, now you may not anyway but there are times when it's close to impossible with out one... I'm like most of you I have a few use them half the time, have success w out them, etc. I have made a deal with myself this yr to use mouth calls more and put my decoys out even when they aren't necessarily needed. The reason why is I like probably most of you am only confident in what I'm successful w period. I'm really comfortable w a slate is why I'm making myself go to mouth call. And usually am just to lazy to deal w my decoys... My advice is try new things and dont get set in your ways, always something you can learn or become better at...
In the past I have used a half strut jake and single hen on the first setup or for setting up and calling when I don't hear a bird. When I am moving on a turkey and trying to get close, I rarely put them out and that is when the the majority of my kills take place. I have seen them work on a fist setup out of the tree in fields and open hardwoods. I think decoys work better early in the season and later in the morning in my experience. If hunting alone, I hardly ever use them but like them for the kids. I will likely try a full strut for the first time this weekend on private ground, if we encounter henned-up field turkeys.
It's hard to deny the effectiveness of decoys. However, the introduction of full-strut decoys has put a bad taste in a lot of hunters mouths. The modern decoys are much more realistic, but are generally more bulky and heavy. The main reason I don't use decoys all the time has more to do with the burden of carrying around the decoys all day rather than whether or not the decoys are actually effective.
Only a few times have I witnessed decoys actually spooking a turkey. The majority of these birds were spooked by a gobbler decoy, not a jake or hen decoy. My experience has been that they either come to the decoys or they completely ignore them.
Last season I was sneaking up on a couple of gobblers that were gobbling down in a hollar. After unsuccessfully calling to them from the ridge top, I decided to take out my jake decoy and try to set it up on the edge of the ridge where the gobblers could see him. I put the stake in the decoy and began crawling to the edge.
As I'm crawling to the edge, I look over and see two gobblers and a jake standing about 40 yards away. I'm literally on my hands and knees crawling in the wide-open woods with the decoy sticking straight up in front of me. Just when I think I'm busted, the gobblers start charging towards. At about 4 feet, one gobbler stopped and went into full strut. I'm still on my hands and knees looking down at the gobbler's spurs. My gun was laying on the ground and I knew if I moved it would be game over. (I never would have done this on public land)
With that said, I usually carry a single lightweight jake decoy in my vest at all times. If I'm hunting a big field, I'll throw out a few more decoys and maybe a full-strut jake decoy.
I would say probably 25% of mine have involved a decoy of some sort. Usually a single hen when im in an area where a turkey could see my setup from farther than i could shoot him (field turkeys usually). Ive killed a couple over a strutter deak and seen a couple more killed over them.
I think they are effective at times, but not needed most of the time and very overrated in price and appearance.
They may work at times, but I have heard horror stories of gobblers sprinting away from full strut decoys. I have never used a strutter, and that is the reason. It aint worth scaring one to me.Think about the ones that would see it and run off before you even knew they were in the area? I would rather not kill that gobbler that day without a decoy then use a strutter and scare him.
And about seeing them on tv, example like b-mobile and avian x and whatever else there is, those people aint going to show us when it doesn't work, that would be bad advertisement on their part. They get to hunt probably every day and hunt the best places in the world so of course it makes their products look good.
I keep them in the truck but in the past 2 or 3 years I may have used them twice maybe. just don't have any luck with them much neither do a lot of people I know. I do have the b mobile and the she mobile I believe its called. but very very very rarely do I use them. the only luck ive had with them really is ive had hens and jakes come to a hen decoy early but that's about it.