They say hunting elk is like hunting a turkey that can smell. Still, thousands of bowhunters successfully fill their elk hunting tags each season – without a ground blind. Many of them use decoys. Maybe bowhunters who chase turkey in the spring can learn something from them when it comes to setting up a shot with a turkey decoy.
Typically, an elk hunter will set up a decoy behind and out-of-line of their calling location. When turkey hunting, this gives a bowhunter a huge advantage. The incoming gobbler is focused on the decoy, giving you a chance to draw back your bow undetected. Also, if the tom does hang up and waits for the decoy to come to him, he is usually still in range. It can be a deadly early-morning tactic.
To pull it off, slip into known roosting locations well before the sun is up. Use a locator call to provoke a gobble from the limb. Once you get a response, try to get as close to the roost as possible without being detected. Set up a decoy. Find a natural blind to hide behind, such as a large tree trunk, between the decoy and the roosting location. Try and triangulate the decoy, your location and the gobbler’s location with your location being the point of the triangle between the decoy and the turkey.
Wait for the bird to fly down before you start calling. As the bird makes his way towards the decoy, keep calling softly until he sees the fake hen. Once he does, stop calling and let the decoy do its job of attracting the longbeard the rest of the way. When the incoming tom is between you and the tree, draw back your bow and wait for him to step into your shooting lane. Aim for the vitals, and let an arrow fly.
While this is a great early-morning tactic, it is also a good strategy to use whenever you strike a gobble from a lusty tom. Leave the ground blind at home and give it a try.