Strutting tom turkey decoy
Hunting over a strutting tom turkey decoy is one of the most exciting ways to chase these big black birds, but it can also be one of the most frustrating. A strutter gets their attention for sure, but it can also intimidate many of the birds you would like to shoot. There are times and places for sure, and times to avoid using a strutting tom turkey decoy.
When to use a strutting tom turkey decoy
Early season when the birds are still in winter flocks is a good time to use a strutting tom turkey decoy. For some reason I can’t put a finger on, if I hit bad weather when the Nebraska season opens and the toms are still bunched up, a strutting turkey decoy will get their attention. With so many birds in one area, just another hen or jake won’t pull the birds, but a strutter will sometimes do the job. My guess is that when all these toms are bunched up, the dominant birds are in the bunch and they will not tolerate some rogue bird strutting his stuff. The birds that come often come fast and hard so be ready when it happens.
A strutting turkey decoy can also work well when you are hunting large numbers of birds. It’s really just simple math, put the strutter in front of enough toms eyeballs and you will find one ready to fight. Really any turkey decoy works in this scenario, but a strutting decoy is a lot of fun to watch.
A strutting tom decoy is a great decoy to use when you want to kill the dominant bird in an area, but keep in mind the baddest bird of the bunch is not always the biggest. I killed such a tom in Montana one spring with Levi Johnson. This bird was clearly the king tom of the area, and every other bird cowered in fear as he approached them, and we knew he was the one we wanted to kill. Was quite a surprise to roll him over and see he had no spurs on either leg. Not even a bump. Attitude trumped in his world.
When not to use a strutting tom turkey decoy
Keep in mind that a strutting tom turkey decoy is going to scare away more toms and jakes than it brings in. It’s the truth. Most people that realize this won’t use a strutter when introducing new people to the sport, hunting pressured birds, or hunting areas with low turkey numbers. Your strutter is better served for the maximum impact it provides in unpressured areas with high turkey numbers. The strutting tom turkey decoy provides one of natures most entertaining shows, but it comes with a cost of potentially scaring off the only birds you may have a shot at.
I personally never use a strutting tom turkey decoy. I have seen too many good looking sets go bad when the toms we were hunting shy away at 40 or 50 yards, or get so spooky around the decoy you don’t get a decent shot opportunity. Watch the TV this winter and see how many times those old toms almost close on the strutting tom decoy, and either chicken out, or realize the decoy is a fake and fail to close. Not every bird has the testosterone to close the deal and fight your fake, and those on the bubble are so tense and focused on your decoys body language they often figure out he is not real. My goal is to get all the birds I work in close and personal. That interaction and proximity is what brings me to the spring woods, and is why we designed the best turkey decoy the way we did.