Decoys, blinds and calls

Discussion in 'Turkey Hunting' started by woodsnwater, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. woodsnwater

    woodsnwater Well-Known Member

    I was doing some browsing on BPS and Cabela's. It appears to me that a jake and a hen has some looks other than the small beard. Is this correct? I found foam jake decoys on sale for $7.99. I was wondering with a couplr of these and cut beard off one if that would work?

    Now for a blind. I have 2 blinds. One rather large and a small one man. The small one is quick set up. Is it better using a blind or not? I thought it would help conceal some movement. Especially if you roost them.

    I have some mouth calls and a few slates. I can use a mouth call, a friend taught me years ago. What sounds is most commonly used during the Spring?
  2. Hooked Spurs

    Hooked Spurs Well-Known Member

    Turkeys most likely will distinguish a jake decoy from a hen decoy as such. Not sure which brand you are looking at, but I would say you are better off buying a hen decoy as well and not attempting to pass a jake decoy off as a hen. Depending on darkness of body and head color, turkeys will view it as a jake regardless of beard or no beard.

    The blind is optional and not a necessity. I would just consider the terrain you are hunting and with what weapon you are hunting with. If you are hunting woods and with a gun, then a blind may just be more of a burden. You can find plenty of places normally to hide against a tree. Just try and pick a tree that breaks your outline, which will be wider than your shoulders, and not in the sun. Try and find a shading spot. Sitting still is the key. Blinds are good if you are bowhunting or hunting in extremely open terrain such as fields. The main things I don't like about blinds personally is that they limit mobility and make it difficult to coarse directions of sounds, such as a gobble. Let's say you are gun hunting a field, and not much cover exists where you need to set up. A blind might be useful in that case, but always consider that your first set up may not work or you may have plans to leave at a certain time. Is it set where you could slip out undetected or are you either stuck and can't move or no way to slip out without being seen?

    I would concentrate on three main vocalizations: yelp, cluck, and purr. I would be sure I knew how to do each on mouth, slate, box, etc. You can add cutting, cackling, kee-kee, etc. later, but at least focus on the main three. Knowing how to use various types of calls is important as well, because what might work one day or on one particular turkey might not in another situation. I suggest just keep the calling simple and to a minimum until your comfort level rises.

  3. spur

    spur Moderator-Razorback Forum<br>Sports

    Hey woods, if you are going to be hunting Wattensaw or the white river bottoms. You don't need a blind. There are trees there plenty big enough to hide a person. Just extra weight to tote around.

    Those birds like the calling soft and realistic and be ready to see the hens before the gobblers. Back when I was photographing them out there I never saw a single gobbler. They always came in with hens.

    Good luck!
  4. woodsnwater

    woodsnwater Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys..........

    Spur, You never seen a gobbler in Wattensaw? I dabbled in it some years back and the 2 years I hunted I got onto some gobblers. 1st one was alone and could not work him. A guy told me he may have been hen'd up. 2nd I heard 3 together. It made me have goose bumps. Could not do anything with them either. I have 3 places chosen to try.
  5. davglo35

    davglo35 Super Member<br>2015 Spring Turkey Team Contest Wi

    Spur was implying that he never seen a gobbler in wattensaw that was alone (single). As for blinds, I use them in certain situations and don't tote one around with me but I do keep a couple in my truck. I like them for blind calling when things get slow or if I know an area where a gobbler likes to hang out from time to time I will carry my blind in and set it up and hang out for hours on end. I usually stick up a decoy or two and the blind makes the wait a lot more comfortable and I can play on my phone or eat a snack and all off the movement be concealed from a gobbler that is sneaking in silent or working his way into the area just by coincidence. I will usually leave the blind there if I have some confidence in the spot and return to it after things get slow again on another morning. That's the main reason I have another one in the truck, to have one handy if the situation arises where a blind is needed. Turkeys are not like deer when it comes to how they react to blinds when they walk upon one. 99% of the time they completely ignore blinds and will walk right by one and never even act like they notice it's there. Food plots, fields, old roads, powerlines and wide open timber are places I like to put a blind and dry call. Basically it's like deer hunting. Blinds can be deadly on gobblers that like to hang out in food plots, powerlines or fields. The trick is to get into the blind while it is still pitch dark and never use a flashlight to approach the blind. Most of the time, when a gobbler is already in a field or plot it is usually impossible to get into a position that is advantageous to the hunter.
  6. reggie-2-guns

    reggie-2-guns Well-Known Member

    On your decoys and blinds let us consider some of the literature before you send more monies to Dick Cabela.

    "Both of these actions [decoys and blinds] qualify as examples of opportunistic execution rather than turkey hunting and are exactly similar to the actions of the man who operates the guillotine. He simply trips the switch that removes the head. Other parties got the head in position for removal.

    Turkey hunting is not fair. It would be fair if you could fly and the turkey could shoot back. But it ought to be made as sportsmanlike as possible and this continual easing of rules and cutting of corners is wholly inappropriate."

    Kelly, T. Tenth Legion. First Lyons Press. 2005

    Save your money on decoys and blinds and work on practicing your calling and patterning your shotgun.

  7. Manybeards

    Manybeards Premium Member<br>2009 Turkey Contest Winner<br>20

    If you can't clearely distingish the difference between the jake and hen decoys by just looking at the heads. I strongly suggest looking at a different brand of decoy. Flambou and carrylight make a decent decoy.

    To be honest I rarelly use them, but they do serve a purpose in certain situations.

    I have never killed a turkey out of store bought blind, but do see the need to use one while bowhunting turkeys
  8. spur

    spur Moderator-Razorback Forum<br>Sports

    What I meant was the hens would come to the calling with the gobbler in tow! Saw plenty of gobblers out there in the early 90's.
  9. woodsnwater

    woodsnwater Well-Known Member

    I missed understood you. I got it now.:up:
  10. spur

    spur Moderator-Razorback Forum<br>Sports

    Got several friends around the area that tell me the turkeys are way down out there from what I remember! The say there are some areas SE of there that there are several birds. Good luck on your hunt, Wattensaw brings back lots of memories from my early years!
  11. Hooked Spurs

    Hooked Spurs Well-Known Member


    I agree that decoys are not a necessity in the majority of hunting situations. In fact, at times they can be detrimental, which is why I very rarely use one. A good set up is much more important than a decoy in my opinion. I am not saying they don't help in certain situations because they do, but just don't rely on them too much.
  12. 7 point

    7 point Well-Known Member

    Reggie the turkey preacher:fit::fit: I agree with the statement by the author BTW. Woods man I say if you like running and gunning leave the blind and decoys at home. They slow you down get in the way and you can kill turks with out them. Decoys mainly work in open areas such as fields and big food plots. I have tried using decoys in the woods,I was getting skunked and willing to try anything, the turkeys I did call in actually were hanging up because of the hen. One thing you have to remember about turkey hunting. When we are trying to call a gobbler in we are working mother nature in reverse. The gobblers are used to having the hens come to them,so when they see a hen and she's not coming to them'he has a hard time understanding it and could make him hang up,and not commit.
  13. reggie-2-guns

    reggie-2-guns Well-Known Member

  14. TacHunter

    TacHunter Well-Known Member

    I've found taking a hand held pruner and loping off a few branches to make a "natural" blind. I hunt in the N.C. Ozarks and a blind gets in the way, especially if your runnin' and gunnin'. As far as decoys go, I stick with CARRY LITE. Buy some decent camo, practice your callin' and pattern your shotgun. And you will be fine, I've learned you can carry so much stuff that you can't get around. JMO :thumb:
  15. biggobs

    biggobs Well-Known Member

    Leave the decoys at home (most cases you don't need them).
    Leave the blind at home unless there are no large trees in the area as wide as your shoulders.
    Most importantly leave the mouth calls at home. Become proficiant with a friction call like a crystal, glass or slate call. Try & master the yelp, cluck & purr 1st cause these will kill lots of turkeys. It is much, much easier for most to cluck & purr on a friction than on a mouth call (or I should say it is much, much easier to make a realistic sounding cluck & purrs on a friction call). Master a friction first & you will kill more turkeys. 95-99% of the time I can tell the difference in a hen & someone & what type call that someone is using. Every now & then some is realistic enough that it's hard to tell. Work on your cadence & rythem.
  16. bhunts

    bhunts Well-Known Member

    If you are new to the sport, then there is nothing wrong with using a blind say on a field edge or open timber. You will more than likely mess more turkeys up by trying to run and gun. It will pay off if you scout an area turkeys frequent and setup a blind and a couple of decoys. This is a great method to kill some turkeys until you learn more about hunting them and start running and gunning. Soft calling every 10-15 minutes will put a bird in front of you if you have the patience.

    I have used the method above and killed quite a few birds doing so. Now I primarily run and gun in AR and never use a decoy (after I had a gobbler hangup in the woods one time). It is a tougher way to hunt but once you master it is definitely the best. Nothing wrong with being patient though and waiting them out.
  17. davglo35

    davglo35 Super Member<br>2015 Spring Turkey Team Contest Wi

    I have been turkey hunting for 40 yrs and I can remember when it sometimes would take me a week to find a gobbling bird before the season. Sometimes they were 2 or 3 miles from the road and I would drive in as far as my truck would take me and walk for up to 45 minutes just to get in hearing range of the gobbler. But you could rest assured that no one else would be there and that old gobbler had probably never heard a turkey call. Most people had never heard a turkey call and never heard a turkey gobble for that matter. In the 80s things started to change and turkey numbers increased but so did the turkey hunters. Then came the leases and the timber companys buying up the land and clear cutting it. Now I had a certain area I could hunt and gone were the days of going anywhere I pleased. In the 90s turkey populations soared and so did the turkey hunters. Now I was in competition on a lease with other lease members. The days of running and gunning in south Arkansas are gone and I had a choice to make. I could either evolve with the changes or quit turkey hunting. So I decieded to roll with the changes and adapt my techniques to what gave me opportunities to tag out on longbeards. Thats where the blinds and occasional decoy usage comes in. Sure, I set up on birds gobbling on the limb and walk and call a little but I can only do so much of this and I'm out of territory. The turkeys on my lease would respond to this type of pressure in short fashion and first thing you know all is quiet for a week or two until everybody gives up and things quieten down. So I use blinds in areas gobblers frequent and don't walk around yakking on a call. I am not having any problem tagging out in a week or so and I am off work and really enjoying myself so I don't care what Tom Kelly wrote or what Joe Blow says. It ain't like it used to be and I have striven to become as complete a turkey hunter as I can possibly be.
  18. Hooked Spurs

    Hooked Spurs Well-Known Member


    I agree that it's in one's best interest to adapt to the environment you hunt. To me that's the sign of a good turkey hunter.

    As far as the decoys go, I just tend to be honest with new turkey hunters that they work sometimes and sometimes they don't. Sometimes they do more harm than good. But, according to many videos and the Outdoor Channel, you can't kill turkeys without them. You just got to know when to use them.
  19. Lt Gibson

    Lt Gibson Well-Known Member

    I may not be but 29 years old, but I pride myself on many many kills in adverse conditions. I taught myself how to hunt on public land in SEARK, which can be brutal. I have paid the dues time and time again. However, I will never quit. I still do not have a place to turkey hunt on private land. When I was in college, I would get up at 0100 in the morning just to drive two hours and not hear a thing, and it didn't bother me. I suggest you leave a damn blind at the house, and learn how to use a slate and a box call. Learn how to hide, don't rely on some dang contraption to hide in. If a bird hammers 100 yards out in front of you, then what are you going to do besides make a bunch of :censored: noise putting the blind away. Turkey hunters pride themselves on gear also. I understand that these blinds may work on tv shows, but I will be damned if I am going to tote one around and try to set it up. Learn how to become a true hunter. Learn how to blend in. Learn how to call with a friction call while holding a gun in ur lap, then learn how to put it away without making any movement while at the same time getting a bead on a bird that just appeared at 25 steps like a ghost. You will love these calls. As far as decoys go, I always take one with me. I may not set it up, but I always take one. I have decoyed a lot of birds and smoked them with the ole ten gauge. Learn how to set one up within 45 seconds. Learn how to do it without making any noise. Practice this in your backyard, no matter the conditions. Go out into your yard, put all of your gear on, sit against a tree, get up and run out 20 steps and set up both decoys and come back and sit down and start calling.....IN THE RAIN. You will learn what hangups and snags you have. It's like a battle drill or magazine change in combat. If you practice this time and time again, it will become muscle memory, and you will not fail or question yourself. You will learn that you should not have had your decoys bundled up, because it took too long and too much noise to get them out. You will learn that you should have kept your decoy stakes in an old wool sock because they were all right there and didn't clang around. You will learn that you shouldn't have tried to put the decoys in separate pockets. You will learn that when you ran back to the tree, you needed to have a box call, and probably two slates handy, but they were tucked away in some pocket that you can't get to now. And the strikers, :censored:, where did I put those strikers? Learn that it's pretty easy to lay them on the ground next to you in dry conditions, but they better be under your legs or just inside your vest loosely when it is raining. Please note that I am not ranting, nor do I think I am the king of the woods, but turkeys are the only thing my Daddy didn't hunt, so I taught myself....ON PUBLIC LAND, and I have gotten pretty damn good. I killed my first bird when I was 13, with an old 870 and some ancient #6's, three of them. Yes, I shot him 3 times. I have been hooked ever since. Leave the blind at home, or save your money and get a good choke. Besides, you can brag to your buddies on how good you are at hiding next to nothing. Learn how to shoot your gun well, in all conditions. By the way, what do you shoot? I hope you have a great spring this year. I am in Afghanistan, and scheduled my R and R around turkey season, if that tells you anything. If you need anything, please write me. I would love to tag along and call one up for you.

    LT Clay Gibson
    2nd BN 30th Infantry
    10th MTN Division
    Our Country, Not Ourselves
  20. 7 point

    7 point Well-Known Member

    Lt Gibson first thank you for your service to our country:flag::up: Second you can't give away all the secrets:fit: I think most of the learning curve on Turks is the trial and error and many mistakes. Remember the definition of insanity is too keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. Turkey hunting always requires different tactics.