April 15, 2014
By Tony J. Peterson
There's no question that the key to success bowhunting turkey falls squarely on the shoulders of scouting and being where the birds live. Of course, beyond that, most hunts boil down to using a quality blind and decoys that are realistic enough to fool longbeards into point-blank range.
Just what blind you choose will depend on a few variables. First off, will you be hiking two miles into public land to avoid the crowds on a solo gobbler adventure? If so, weight and portability will be key factors. Conversely, you might be bringing a buddy along on a trip to the family farm where you only need to walk 200 yards to your dual-person accommodating blind. In that case, size and configuration of shooting ports will play a larger role in blind choice.
Whatever blind you opt for, you'll need to put some faux turkeys in front of it to draw in approaching toms. Decoy choice is highly subjective, but one thing is for certain: the more realistic the better. Turkeys aren't intelligent, but they are wary and have phenomenal eyesight. This means that if something doesn't look right, a tiny flight synapse will flash through their bird brains and they'll leave fresh tracks heading in the opposite direction.
Realistic looking decoys, though, will have the opposite effect most of the time, with the same bird looking at your spread and feeling a slight tingle in his loins as he realizes there are plenty of hens ripe for his taking. Of course, he also might realize he is going to have to rough up a pencil-necked jake in the process, provided you've staked out a fake competitor as well.
As you saddle up for a spring turkey hunt, consider what blind you'll wile away the hours in while your decoy spread works in conjunction with your calling to draw in birds from near and far. If you need a little help deciding on what's right for you, take a look at the following turkey blinds and decoys, all of which are field-proven and guaranteed to increase your longbeard success.
Ameristep Bone Collector Man Cave
Very few bowhunters will ever complain that their ground blind is too big. Too small however, is a different story. That's why the folks at Ameristep
teamed up with Michael Waddel to create the new Bone Collector Man Cave
, which features a 72-inch footprint, 88 inches of shooting width and a full 82 inches of vertical height.
Even if you shoot a longer axle-to-axle bow, you'll have no problems with your top cam hitting the roof in this blind. Each weighs only 18 pounds and boasts an offset hub system that creates a 270-degree field-of-view and multiple options for shot opportunities.
Baronett Blinds Big Mike SuperTough
has built a reputation for offering big blinds that can withstand the elements and the tradition seems alive and well with the new Big Mike SuperTough
. Anyone who has ever stuck a broadhead through a blind wall knows how quickly a small tear can turn into something much bigger, which is why the SuperTough is designed with high thread-count polyester in a checkerboard pattern. This design keeps those tiny rips from becoming major tears. The SuperTough features a 59-inch footprint, an 80-inch height, weighs 29 pounds, and is adorned in Bloodtrail camouflage.
Cabela's Predator Den Ground Blind
If you should suddenly notice your teeth are more pointed and your sense of smell more acute, it's probably because you're turkey hunting in a Predator Den Ground Blind
from Cabela's (or at least you should be).
Covered in the new Zonz Woodlands camouflage, the Predator Den weighs a shade over 19 pounds, offers a 75-inch footprint, and is 67 inches tall at its highest point. Brush strips located at the top and bottom of the blind allow you the chance to truly brush in this blind, which is a must for public land birds who have had too many close encounters with blinds placed in the wide open.
Dakota Decoy Company X-Treme Jake Turkey Decoy
There's no question that bow success often depends on having a realistic male turkey mixed in with your flock of decoys. Many hunters opt for a full strut decoy, however a semi-strut jake is often the best bet because nearly every bird in the flock will feel emboldened enough to strut in and pick a fight with him.
The X-Treme Jake Turkey Decoy
from Dakota Decoy Company
is the perfect choice for most bowhunters due to its head-tilted-back body posture and uber-realistic paint job.
Dave Smith Decoys Leading Hen Turkey Decoy
The downside to Dave Smith Decoys
is that they are somewhat bulky and are not cheap, the upside is that they will help you arrow a lot more turkeys than sub-par decoys. Ever since I've started using DSDs, I can say that my success at drawing gobblers into five to 10 yards has gone up considerably.
For 2014, they've got a newcomer to their comprehensive lineup - the Leading Hen Turkey Decoy
, which is also available through Cabela's.
The Leading Hen's posture positions gobblers perfectly and since it's a DSD, you know that the paint job and attention to detail will be perfect. If you're stumped as to why your turkey hunting success has been lower than you'd like, considering picking up a few DSDs. You'll be shocked at how well they work.
Hunter's Specialties Backpacker Blind
To some hunters, sitting in a hub-style blind for longer than 20 minutes is pure torture. This is bad enough for some sit-and-wait creatures like whitetails, but is much worse for game like turkeys who announce their presence gobble-wise often enough to ramp up any A.D.D.-like symptoms you might possess. If this sounds like you, check out the Backpacker Blind from Hunter's Specialties
This 54-inch tall, 12-foot long roll-up-style blind is perfect for the run-and-gunning bowhunter. Set-up and take-down demand only a few seconds of your time, and due to it's leafy blind material, the Backpacker allows you to blend into nearly any kind of cover or background.
Hunter's Specialties Suzie Snood Hen Turkey Decoy
Life-like colors, no-flake paint, and a true-body profile are all notables of the new Suzie Snood Hen Turkey Decoy
from Hunter's Specialties
A design feature you'll certainly appreciate in the Suzie Snood involves an internal air flow valve that that is made from expandable rubber and allows the decoy to be folded for transport but then quickly returned to full size sans annoying creases and dents common in foldable decoys. A folding stake allows for two postures, upright and breeding position, depending on just what kind of setup you're shooting for.
Montana Decoy Spring Fling
As an avid public land hunter, I'm always looking for lightweight products that I can carry deep off of the beaten path. That demand has led me to hunt hard with Montana Decoys
over the years, and they've become a staple in my turkey pack. For 2014, they've upped their game even more with the addition of the Spring Fling
The photo used to create this decoy was taken of a live hen just prior to actual breeding, and when paired with Montana Decoy's Strutting Tom, Punk Jake, or Papa Strut, will bring reluctant longbeards into range. The entire Spring Fling decoy weighs only eight ounces, which means you can carry several in a backpack and construct an entire flock with only the dedication of a few pounds of gear.
Primos Gobb Stopper Hen Turkey Decoy
The rush to create affordable, ultra-realistic turkey decoys has been a good thing for turkey hunters. Exhibit A comes your way via Primos
and their new Gobb Stopper Hen Turkey Decoy
The HD paint detail of the Gobb Stopper makes this decoy look just like the real thing and when combined with the durable fabric used in its construction, this decoy actually appears to have real feathers and the sheen that accompanies them in the right light.
Primos Shack Attack
One of the coolest new blinds to hit the market this year is the Shack Attack
. Weighing in at 22 pounds, the Shack Attack utilizes a two-hub system for ease-in-setup, while offering a seriously wide shooting port.
Covered in Primos' Ground Swat camouflage, the Shack Attack can accommodate up to two hunters thanks to its 70-inch height and 80-inch width. As an added bonus, this blind is designed with a large rear entry door for stealthy, early-morning maneuvering.