Marshall Collette never uses decoys in the morning but employs them almost exclusively at fields in the afternoon and evening.
“By the latter part of the season, turkeys have seen a lot of decoys, but they’ll often work at fields, if you’ve got the right kind of decoys,” he said.
Collette places two hen decoys and a gobbler in an open field to draw the attention of a dominant bird. Boss birds won’t allow interlopers in their territory and often come at a fast pace to that setup.
“I use Avian X hen decoys, a feeder decoy and a lookout,” Collete said. “My gobbler decoy is a Spin-N-Strut model.”
His gobbler decoy turns 90 degrees, and its tail comes into a “fan” position when Collette reels in fishing line attached to its tail.
Collette found out just how well the decoys worked the last day of the 2014 season.
“I had four gobblers jump on the Spin-N-Strut and beat its tail off,” he said. “One got his leg caught in the braided line and was dragging my reel. I took a shot at him, and it was the only shot I missed last year. He got loose from the reel, so I was happy for that.”
Cox agreed that afternoons are the best times to use decoys in fields, but he doesn’t always use them.
“I have mixed emotions,” he said. “Sometimes decoys pull birds right in, and other times turkeys shy from them. To me, decoys are a hit-and-miss tool.”
When he does employ a decoy, Cox prefers a single hen.
“I like to use one hen where gobblers are in competition,” he said. “It may pull out a strutter or a boss gobbler.”