Would you advise a novice to use a decoy?

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Everyday Hunter
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Would you advise a novice to use a decoy?

Postby Everyday Hunter » March 27th, 2010, 3:25 pm

In another thread someone asked whether a decoy is necessary for spring gobbler hunting. WillowRidgeCalls gave the following answer:
ORIGINAL: WillowRidgeCalls

No, they do help in certain situations. In an open field or pasture or a open wood lot they do help you, a bird will hang up if he dosen;t see something that is making a call. In a high grass or brushy woods or a marshy area then you really don't need one because the bird is coming to your calling and your better off without one.

That's a good answer, and it raised the question in my mind: "Would you advise a novice turkey hunter to use a decoy?" I would not. I believe the novice turkey hunter is better off not using a decoy. My reasons?
[ul][*] If it is used improperly it can add an element of danger to the hunt. Starting out it's better to keep thing simple.
[*] Decoys can hurt as much as they can help, so using a decoy can add to the learning curve of the new hunter.
[*] It can become a crutch to the novice hunter -- a few successes can cause the hunter to think he's better than he is.
[*] Its best to concentrate on positioning, calling, and other aspects of turkey hunting before using a decoy. [/ul]What say you? Would you advise a novice to use a decoy? Why, or why not?

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RE: Would you advise a novice to use a decoy?

Postby Cut N Run » March 27th, 2010, 4:18 pm

Good topic, Steve.
I probably would have a beginner use a decoy if it was under a controlled situation (didn't have to worry about some fool shooting at the decoy).  Mainly because it causes the turkey to focus more on the decoy than the exact source of the calls.  I've had new turkey hunters just about soil themselves because they were not prepared for the intensity that goes with a mature gobbler suddenly showing up in range all blown up.  They were either busted by being caught moving, handcuffed by not having the gun ready, or were too shaken up by the encounter to function properly (they missed...bad). I believe that having a decoy to draw the gobbler's attention allows the new hunter more wiggle room to succeed with a less than perfect execution.
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RE: Would you advise a novice to use a decoy?

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » March 27th, 2010, 5:30 pm

I agree with you Steve. Any time a decoy is used it increases the element of danger. I will never use one on public land, there are to many hunters that think they are Mr. Professonal Turkey Hunter that will try to sneak in on your set up, it makes no differance wheather they are a novice or an experienced hunter, but they sneak in and are focused on your decoy and not on what is around it. They will also try that on private land as well, but on public it's a real problem. And in a woods that has a lot of cover you may not see them sneaking up on you? That is why you don't want to wave or stand up to let them know your there, holler at them because they are focused on your decoy and all they see is movement.
Birds that have been called in to a decoy set up and have been shot at and missed may turn away from your decoys that aren't moving, so in some instances they hurt you more that they help you.
As far as them being a crutch, if you've had birds come in and have taken them you start to think that you need decoy or eles you won't bag a bird. It causes you to depend on them and use them in an unsafe area. I was just watching Knight & Hales Ultramit Hunting show, The two hunters were watching a pair of Toms in a open field with a ravine in it. The birds went into the ravine so they moved up a small knoll to get closer to the field and so the birds wouldn't see them. One guy held a strutter decoy right above his head when he topped the knoll incase the birds were looking in their direction they would see the Tom first. He said that it was ok to do that because they were on private land. That ladies and gentlemen is and accident waiting to happen!! They have no idea if a tresspasser snuck in and was sitting close to that knoll waiting to see were those 2 birds were going. Don't ever try anything that stupid, but what do I know, they are the professionals [:D] In an open field they will help a novice hunter, I've had young hunters that get so excited about seeing their first Tom coming across an open field that the barrel of their gun is bouncing up and down about 10" and they start shooting at the bird 60-70 yds out. With a decoy they know it is out there at 25yds and if they let the bird come in close to the deke it puts the bird in a killing range.

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RE: Would you advise a novice to use a decoy?

Postby NEStrut » March 27th, 2010, 6:50 pm

ORIGINAL: WillowRidgeCalls

One guy held a strutter decoy right above his head when he topped the knoll incase the birds were looking in their direction they would see the Tom first. He said that it was ok to do that because they were on private land.

Well...nobody every said professionals were smart! [:D]

I agree that it's a very situational thing. In all honesty, I would suggest teaching them the proper use from the beginning. Use them in fields, open woods, etc. Not in dense woods. As discussed above.
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RE: Would you advise a novice to use a decoy?

Postby swpatrkyhunter » March 28th, 2010, 6:41 am

I agree that a decoy should not be used by a novice. Someone who is new to turkey hunting has enough on their plate already and use of a decoy is not needed. Sometimes it can ruin a hunt if not placed right or as stated before pose a safety hazzard.  In my opinion a novice should just learn what they can and enjoy the hunt. Get to know the birds and the calls first. Learn the ins and outs of scouting, where to setup, shot placement, knowing their gun and it's effective range, and most of all the safety factor for themselves and the other hunters they share the woods with.
         As we all know. You will never stop learning in this sport. No matter how long or how many birds you bag, there is always something new to learn about these birds and their habits. So. There is plenty of time to get into the use of decoys later on after some education from having been out in the turkey woods has been learned.
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RE: Would you advise a novice to use a decoy?

Postby kenturkey89 » March 28th, 2010, 9:11 am

I feel that if a novice is hunting a farm with wide open fields and pastures with little or no hardwoods, then it's okay to use a decoy. But that's the only situation. If the area they hunt doesn't contain a lot of open fields or if it's pressured by other hunters such as on public land, then I agree that it's best to leave the decoy's at home. But this is coming from a novice hunter himself!

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RE: Would you advise a novice to use a decoy?

Postby grizzly » March 28th, 2010, 9:28 am

in this post this is my honest thought on decoys a few years ago i tryed using decoys to be honest i don't know if they helped in my hunting or not but after having a guy fire at one from the road with a rifle i decided they were not for me. if a person asks me if they should use them i say it's up to you but form a safety stand point i will never use one again[8|] wayne 

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RE: Would you advise a novice to use a decoy?

Postby TeocTom » March 22nd, 2011, 6:07 pm

I have stated before in another post that being a novice I use decoys to help increase my chances. One thing that does frighten me is the fact that regardless of being on private land there is a possibility that someone could be intruding and I be placed in harms way.
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RE: Would you advise a novice to use a decoy?

Postby retranger » March 23rd, 2011, 4:25 am

I use decoys both in the open and in the woods. I have gotten birds over a decoy and without a decoy. It sure gets the attention of old tom when he sees a decoy. I understand the safety concern talked about and I believe it comes down to the responsibabilty of each of us to know what we are shooting at and what is behind what we are shooting at. I have seen other hunters decoys and I certainly could tell it was not a real bird. If you are not comfortable using a decoy then don't use one ,,, I don't believe it is a necessity just another tool in our basket of tricks.
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