Turkey Decoys: The Best of the Best

It’s that time of year again! The leaves are changing color, the air is getting cooler, and turkeys are on the hunt. If you’re planning to do some turkey hunting this season, make sure you have the right tools for the job. In this article, we’ll be discussing turkey hunting decoys in depth, and where to find the best ones for your hunt.

Types of Turkey Hunting Decoys

A turkey hunting decoy is a replica of a wild turkey used to attract real turkeys. These decoys can be made from different materials, such as wood, plastic, or metal.

There are a variety of different types of turkey decoys on the market that can be used to attract gobblers. The most popular type of decoy is the hen, which mimics the sounds that turkeys make and is appealing to the male gender. Other decoys include jake (year-old) turkeys, used to establish dominance, and gobbler (adult) turkeys, used to lure in males. Each type of decoy has a specific purpose and should be used in a certain way to maximize success.

Jake Decoys

Jake (year-old) turkey decoys establish dominance and should only be used when an adult gobbler is in the area. To use a jake decoy effectively, you must first identify whether or not there is an adult gobbler around. If there is, you should use a jake decoy to try and get the gobbler’s attention. If there isn’t an adult gobbler around, then you should avoid using jake decoys as they may scare off younger birds.

turkey decoy example
Photo credit: Whitetail Country Sports World

Hen Decoys

Hen decoys are probably the most popular and widely used in spring. They appeal to big gobblers, which we all want to bag. When using hen decoys, it is important to make the corresponding sounds that go along with them. This will help to create a realistic environment for Toms, and increase your chances of bagging that beard dragger.

hen decoy feeding
Photo credit: DSD Decoys

Gobbler Decoys

Gobbler (adult) turkey decoys lure males and should only be used when an adult gobbler is within range. Gobbler decoys are typically more life-like than other decoys and can be very effective at attracting gobblers. It is important to remain still and keep quiet when using a gobbler decoy. This will help to create a realistic environment for the turkey and increase your chances of success.

gobbler decoy strutting
Photo credit: HS Strut

Turkey Decoy Materials

When it comes to turkey hunting, using the right type of decoy can be the difference between bagging your bird and going home empty-handed. There are three types of turkey decoys available on the market:

  • 2D silhouettes
  • stuffed decoys
  • 3D collapsible or inflatable

2D silhouettes
 are the cheapest and lightest type of turkey decoy available. They’re typically made of cardboard, so they’re not durable. While they may be inexpensive, they’re not very realistic and are not recommended for use in most situations.

Stuffed decoys are the most realistic type of turkey decoy available. They’re made of lightweight foam material that’s easy to carry in the field. However, they can be a bit more expensive than other decoys.

3D collapsible/inflatable turkey decoys are the market’s most common type of turkey decoy. They’re made of lightweight plastic material that can be folded up or inflated for easy transport. They’re also relatively affordable compared to other types of turkey decoys.

Common Mistakes When Using Decoys

While turkey hunting decoys can be a great asset, some common mistakes people make when using them. Here are a few of the most common mistakes:

Not Using the Right Number of Decoys

When it comes to turkey hunting, more is not always better. In fact, using too many decoys can be detrimental to your hunt. If you use too many decoys, the turkeys will become more cautious and less likely to approach. So instead of using a dozen or more decoys, stick to using three to six.

Not Using the Right Type Of Decoys

As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of turkey hunting decoys on the market. And each type of decoy has its purpose. So when choosing your decoys, make sure to choose the right ones for your hunt.

Not Using the Right Setup

Again, how you set up your turkey hunting decoys is important. If you don’t use the right setup, the turkeys will be less likely to approach. So make sure to use a variety of setups, depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

Not Using the Decoys Correctly

Even if you have the right decoys and the right setup, you still need to use them correctly. For example, if you’re using hen decoys, put them in the front. And if you’re using tom decoys, make sure to put them in the back. By using the decoys correctly, you’ll increase your chances of success.

Turkey Hunting Decoys FAQ

When it comes to turkey hunting, decoys can be a vital tool for success. But with so many different types and styles of decoys on the market, how do you choose the right ones for your hunt? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

First, consider the type of terrain you’ll be hunting in. If you’re hunting in open fields, you’ll want decoys that are highly visible from a distance. But if you’re hunting in thicker woods, you’ll want decoys that are more compact and easier to set up.

Second, think about the time of year you’ll be hunting. During the spring mating season, male turkeys are very aggressive and will often attack other males that come too close to their territory. So if you’re hunting during this time of year, you’ll want some tough decoys that can take a beating.

Finally, think about your budget. Decoys can range in price from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, so it’s important to find something that fits within your budget.

When setting up your turkey decoys, you want to make sure they look natural. You can do this by using different positions depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

Feeding Position

The most common setup is the feeding position. This is where you scatter the decoys randomly, making it look like they’re feeding. When using this setup, it’s important to have a variety of decoys, including hens, jakes, and toms. You can also use a strutting position if you’re trying to attract a gobbler. To do this, line the decoys up in a row with the hens in the front and the toms and jakes behind them.

Mating Position

You’ll need hen and tom decoys if you want to attract a mating pair. Simulate a mating posture, with the tom standing behind the hen. This setup is meant to entice Tom and assertive jakes who want to fight for the hens.

Walking Position

You can set your decoys up in a walking formation for a more realistic look. This is where the decoys are lined up in a single file, with the hens in front and the toms and jakes behind them. No matter your position, make sure that your turkey decoys look natural. Using different setups can increase your chances of bagging a turkey this season.

There is no right answer here. Technically, you could use enough to make it appear an entire flock is on the ground and feeding. However, this is probably overkill for most hunters.

Most hunters can get away with using one or two, strategically placed.

No, not at all.

Some people do not use decoys at all. Decoys are used best when in a blind. The idea is to set up your decoys around 20-40 yards away from your blind. Now, it becomes a game of calling and waiting.

This is possible. Basically, one of the down sides of using a giant gobbler decoy is scaring away less dominant, smaller Toms. If a bird has been beaten up a bunch in their life, or recently scared off by larger Toms, a male gobbler decoy could scare your bird off.

Turkey hunting decoys can be a great asset, but only if you use them correctly. So before you head out on your next turkey hunt, keep these tips in mind. And with a little practice, you’ll be sure to bag a turkey in no time.