By KENNETH L. KIESER, Leavenworth Times outdoor columnist
Posted Apr. 2, 2014 @ 2:08 pm
Turkey season opens this month. Turkey decoys are highly-effective tools.
A realistic hen or gobbler imitation is designed for two purposes: to attract birds from a distance and to give turkeys something to look at when turkeys hone in on your calling sounds. The problem is some gobblers have different reactions to decoys.
A tale of two gobblers:
Several years ago, my brother Rodney and I set out our decoys on a warm spring Missouri morning on our family farm.
I had recently purchased a gobbler decoy with fanned out tail and swiveling body.
We set the big boy out with two hen decoys on a hilltop, hoping the dominate gobblers would charge in to drive off this upstart.
The morning started out as planned. Plenty of gobbling off the roost and eventually from the ground cover.
I tried a few light clucks and purrs that produced some beautiful chain gobbles. A couple of light clucks and purrs brought out more promising gobbles.
A trio of jakes broke cover at the bottom of the hill to our west, encouraging but not what we were looking for. They decided to slip up the hill for a closer look at the decoys when by brother’s eyes caught my attention. He was studying something interesting to the east.
I slowly turned my head to find the dominant bird had broken cover and was moving up our hill from the other direction and without a sound. Rodney could not move to reposition his shotgun because four gobblers were looking straight at us from two directions.
Suddenly, the wind slightly turned our gobbler decoy and the bigger gobbler stopped in his tracks. He stretched his neck up for a look at the decoy, turned and disappeared back in the woods. He was gone forever.
Fast forward to a Kansas hunt several years later. Cecil Carder quietly slipped us into an area where gobblers were hammering from the roost. We setup under a big tree in a pasture where the gobblers generally flew down. But, that morning they changed tactics and flew down into a small, grassy pasture with scrub trees scattered throughout, surrounded by timber with an opening that led to our location.
We sat and watched the big gobblers parade back and forth along the fence about 80 yards away, surrounded by hens. Listening to the chain gobbling was a benefit of our location, but logic dictated that the gobblers would soon breed and disappear farther down in the timber for a siesta.
But, a couple of hens decided to walk out into the pasture and down the fence line to our right. A big gobbler, perhaps the dominant, followed the hens and stopped dead in his tracks when our Pretty Boy gobbler decoy came in sight.