Do you like to set up in the woods or field edges when turkey hunting? Why? — Don Baker, Elmwood, Mo.
I always try to find what I call an “idea setup,” or what writer Mark Strand calls “kill spots.” Basically, these area areas where you cannot see the turkey — and vice versa — until he’s in range.
I look for areas where my calling position is obscured by a slight terrain rise, a bend in a logging road, a patch of brush or vegetation or similar scenarios. Why? If a gobbler looks 100 yards across a field or through open woods for the hen he hears calling but can’t see her, he instinctively knows it’s not natural, and he won’t come in. However, if he looks for that hen — and trust me, he knows precisely where you are — but sees nothing, he won’t be wary about approaching. It’s natural, because the terrain or obstruction is blocking his view.
In such scenarios, willing gobblers often approach to where they instinctively know they should be able to see the hen, and then stop and raise their heads for a look the second they clear the terrain or obstruction. By then, you should be sending a greeting card of shot his way.
I’m constantly on the lookout for ideal setups as I scout and hunt. Even when I’m walking and calling, I’ll note likely kill spots and make sure I call near them.
Of course, we can’t always set up in perfect spots. This is especially true in fields or other open areas. In such cases, I’ll typically use decoys to provide visual reassurance that there’s a hen at the source of the calling. I don’t like sitting on field edges near a decoy, but if that’s where turkeys want to hang out, I’ll do it.
When using decoys, strive for realism. Early in the season, I’ll use fakes to mimic a breeding flock, often placing a strutter decoy near an upright hen and a feeding hen. Later in the season, a single hen often works best. Use the most realistic decoys you can afford.