Where to Put Your Turkey Decoy to Bowhunt with PSE’s Terry Drury
Editor’s Note: PSE has asked nationally known outdoorsman Terry Drury to give us his tips and tactics for taking a wild turkeys with his PSE bow.
One of the most critical elements for successfully harvesting a gobbler with a bow is decoy placement. I like to have the decoy 12 to 18 yards from my stand site. Depending on the time of the year, and whether you’re using a strutting gobbler decoy, a half strutting decoy, a jake or a hen decoy, I believe that the decoy either can help you or hurt you. But, the decoy always has to be really close to your blind when you’re bowhunting for turkeys. You have to take the turkey’s temperature to determine his emotional level at the time you’re hunting him to decide which decoy seems the best for hunting that particular turkey, that day. For instance, if you put a big strutting decoy out early in the season, and you call a gobbler in to where he can see that decoy, and that gobbler comes running in, then you’ve got the right decoy for that gobbler that day. However, if you put that big strutting decoy out in front of your blind, and you see that gobblers are shying away from him, then you may want to change decoys and use a decoy in half strut or use a jake decoy. Also, the heads of those two decoys generally aren’t as brightly colored as the head of a strutting decoy is. These more subordinate looking decoys often will lure in a gobbler that the full strut decoy may run off. During the peak of the breeding season, you may want to just use a hen decoy, perhaps one that’s squatted. Just make sure a gobbler can see that squatted hen decoy. So, learning to use your turkey decoys to match the time of the breeding season and the mood of the turkey you’re trying to take is very important to your success when you’re bowhunting toms.
Although you may be able to shoot accurately out to 40 yards, you still want that decoy to bring that wild turkey in as close as you can get him to your blind. That turkey gobbler may look as big as a lion, when he’s in full strut coming across the field. But remember that the vitals on a turkey are very small. The gobbler’s breast may look large, however, if you don’t put that broadhead in the vital area, there’s a really good chance that you will lose that turkey. Remember, if a turkey will come in within 30 yards of a decoy, then more than likely, he’ll come within 18 or 20 yards of the decoy, if you’ll just be patient. If you’re using a hen decoy, the gobbler may move in from behind her. But, if you’re using a jake, a half strutting or a full strut gobbler decoy, the turkey may come in side stepping toward the tom’s head. On a calm day with very little wind, the gobbler may circle the decoy and then try and flog the decoy.
Really, I don’t worry too much about which decoys to use, because I’m usually either hunting with Tad Brown or my brother, Mark, and I just use their decoys. We use the Flambeau decoys that are flocked. Often we’ll use a full strut decoy the first week and put the fan of a turkey we’ve harvested before in the back of that decoy, to make the decoy look more realistic. Then, after that first week of turkey season, I may use a half strut decoy, a jake decoy or a gobbler decoy that has a head that isn’t brightly painted and therefore looks more submissive. During the peak of the season, I’ll use a mounted hen decoy made by Hazel Creek. I bowhunt turkeys with my Dream Season EVO, a Rage turkey broadhead and PSE Bow Madness arrow shafts.
Tomorrow: PSE’s Terry Drury Says to Check Your Range of Motion When Bowhunting Turkeys
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