If you could only take one decoy...

dmozer74

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Messages
11
For the first time in my life I'll be chasing some Merriam's Turkeys around the foothills near where I live in Colorado. I've been backcountry hunting for elk the last couple years, so I have a lot of the gear like camo, game care accessories, pack, etc. I don't want to go all out on specific turkey gear since this is my first year (and I have a lot of kids). So I'm planning to get a full or extra full choke for my 12ga, a slate call and a decoy. I have the call and choke picked out, but I am looking at a few inexpensive decoy options. Am I better off bringing along a jake or a hen? Or should I pick up something else for a decoy entirely? I've been spending a lot of time researching this, but everyone seems to just suggest picking up 3 decoys. I will eventually be there if I find I enjoy it as much as I anticipate, but I just want to keep it cheap to keep the wife happy this spring.
 

fatlander

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
Messages
862
If you’re going to bother with carrying a decoy, there’s one that all others are measured against: DSD Jake. Not knowing how to run that slate call is going to be more detrimental than anything. Don’t over call, don’t call too loudly, and don’t be one dimensional.

In all honesty, if you can pattern the birds, and be where they want to be, the game is a whole lot easier. You would never have to make a call or even use a decoy, but that’s boring. Turns turkey hunting into whitetail hunting.

If you just want to kill a gobbler, find a place the gobblers like to strut after they fly down each morning, be there well before day light, set your Jake decoy at about 20 yards and do some light calling every 10-15 minutes.


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Oregon

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Joined
May 15, 2018
Messages
459
Location
Oregon coast
Call me crazy, but Merriams are the only Turkey species I don’t use decoys. I’ve killed them all.

Pattern those buggers, soft Yelp, scratch your fingers in pine needles, lay prone, and at 1138 each morning whack that Merriam Tom.
 

jmez

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
6,039
Location
Piedmont, SD
Get a couple montana decoys off camo fire
Reasonably priced and light to carry. That way you won't feel bad when you leave them in your pack.

I've hunted all except Osceola. Hunt only merriam's now. I haven't used decoys in years. Other that the Mt, they are a PITA.

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Austink47

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
437
This is just me and the way I like to hunt. I enjoy staying very mobile, cover ground, and chasing gobbles. I prefer to just carry a fan, and that is not a must for me. I just enjoy hunting them like stupid elk that can’t smell.
 

hobbes

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Messages
1,394
If you're trying to keep it cheap, forget the decoy altogether. You absolutely do not need the decoys. Buy an extra full choke, a box of #6 Winchester Longbeards, a slate and a box call. If you already have a straight full choke, I'd see what it'll do at 40 yards with the Longbeards and stay there if you are in the neighborhood of 100 pellets or more in a 10" circle. You can do a lot better than that but you don't have to. Verify point of impact is same as point of aim and you're good.

Merriam's are not Easterns and unless you are sitting on a private field where birds consistently strut, you'll be moving to find and position yourself on birds. If you aren't on birds you'll have a lot of lonely time sitting and quietly yelping every 15 minutes. You aren't hunting the back 40 woodlot and field back East. That may well work, but Merriam's on public land usually require covering some ground.

Learn to call. The box call is the easiest. I prefer a mouth call but the box and slate will get the job done.
 

dtrkyman

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2014
Messages
802
100% a Jake for a single decoy, funky chicken would be good in the mountains.
 

huntineveryday

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
141
I used to use cheap decoys. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn't. Now I have a DSD 1/4 strut jake and a DSD upright hen. I won't hunt with anything other than DSD's from now on though. The posture is just perfect and turkeys just react to them..toms, jakes, and hens. There are still times I go without decoys, but only if I have tighter cover to use. If it's wide open and the tom would expect to be able to see a turkey, those are the times you need a decoy.

They aren't cheap, and they aren't as easy to carry though. I put both of mine into the jake's bag and strap it to my day pack, which isn't too bad.
 

timbrhuntr

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
46
I agree with the no decoy approach for Merriam's in the west especially since you say you are using a shotgun . I hunted them in New Mexico at first carrying decoys and that got old quick. Especially when I found I could kill them easier with just a gun and some calls. I even stopped carrying my gobbler lounger for hunts in the hills and mountains.
 

Beaglegun

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Messages
26
Location
Bullitt Co Kentucky
All I carry anymore is 1 flat gobbler with fan. It is flat so it fits perfect in the back of my vest and works great for reaping also. I never mess with hen decoys anymore.

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fatlander

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
Messages
862
How much does decoy quality matter? I see them ranging from 10-$200.

Are you bow hunting? If so, the decoys are really what’s going to kill the turkeys. Splurge on the DSD Jake and then get the flextone hens from wallyworld to optimize the best set up for the buck.

If you’re shotgun hunting, you don’t need a decoy.


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Bigshot1

Newbie
Joined
Jan 1, 2018
Messages
3
Location
TN
Cheap Inflatable strutting tom decoy (billy bad act) ,as long as you hunting where you know no one else is there,if you have a tom that is hung up and wont come in ,blow up decoy and hold it up where he can see it,turn it side to side and fold fan up and down i have yet to have a tom that saw the moving decoy and did not come in most of the time running,again i would not use this tactic if there was any possibility of other hunters in area,i have used the srtutting tom umbrella but turkeys always spooked
 
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