If You Could Have Only One Decoy - Hen Or Jake?

Welby

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For those of you who use decoys:

If you could only have one decoy, what would you choose - a hen or jake?

I have read and heard some experts say they would go with a jake, and still others insist on a hen.  What has your experience taught you about choosing one over the other?
 

MBullism

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If I only get one, I'd take the hen.  I figure that's what tom wants, what he's looking for.  If I put just a jake out, maybe a nice tom passes on him cuz there's nothing to fight over.  I typically put out two hens and a jake.  That usually does the trick and they ALWAYS take care of the jake decoy before addressing the hens.  The only thing that's worked against me is a half strut jake.  Maybe the less dominant birds are scared of him...

So, If I only get one decoy, it's a hen...

M
 

Possum

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Do we get to choose two for different parts of the
season?  If not, then the hen.  Late in the year I would go for a jake in a strut zone.  The gobblers have seen the combo pair so often, sometimes just a jake will drive them nuts.
 

Drake Slayer

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Hen because sometimes the boys get nervous seeing another tom plus sometimes I like to use a decoy on public land.
 

Fubar

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If I can only use one decoy it would have to be a hen because it is not always safe to put out the Jake. A Jake is legal to shoot and you are making turkey noises. I have had dummies come in to my calling on public land several times and they should know better. Putting a Jake on public land can be dangerous. I do use Jake decoys, but usually only on private land. If you are going to use a jake on public land, make sure you are out of the line of fire.                    Fubar
 

spectr17

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I've had too many close calls with people stalking my decoys to even think about pulling a jake or tom decoy out, public OR private land. I get nervous with a hen decoy even. Stop and watch your buddy next time as they put out a decoy from say 50 yards away in the woods. If you're far enough away all you may see is a turkey shape wobbling around as they set it up. Many of the hunter shootings I read are from bozos who shoot sound or what they thought was a deer or turkey without first positively identifying the target.

One of the craziest things I've seen turkey hunters do is walk around with a turkey decoy or decoys  in their hand from one setup to another. You're just asking to get shot. This is the same reason hunter safety classes tell you to put the turkey you shoot in a hunter orange bag or in your vest and cover it up with hunter orange cloth.

I use a hen when I do set up a decoy and I try and figure out the safest spot to be in if someone comes in to my calling, which happens every year on private or public land.
 

Tominator

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Hen, my son confiscated my jake for his own hunts in the backyard.
Tominator
 

Welby

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I appreciate all your answers, but I guess I didn't consider the safety factor when I asked it.  Goodness, I would be scared to use a decoy on public land or where I thought other folks might also be hunting at the same time.  Too many goobers with guns running around.

More specifically I was asking this on a strategic level of use.  For example, do you excite a tom by letting him see a hen decoy, or do you make him angry and jealous with a jake decoy?

For the most part, I have often heard that a jake decoy is usually more effective at bringing in a tom than a hen decoy, for the simple fact that they are so easily made jealous.  But on the other hand, I have heard that hen decoys are more effective for other hunters.
 

Welby

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Let me further clarify my reason for asking….

This spring, I would like to use my bow to turkey hunt.  I was thinking that a turkey decoy might aid me in getting the ol’ boy’s eyes diverted while I draw my bow.  But, I was wondering, which decoy would be most effective?

Where I hunt primarily is on private land only, where no one else has permission to hunt.  Unless there are poachers in the area, which is highly unlikely in THIS specific area, there should be no danger of “friendly fire”.

Also, I like to hunt light.  In other words, I carry as little as possible with me into the woods. Just a couple of calls, in this case a small blind, my bow and possibly just one decoy.  Hence the question of which decoy to use.

I guess I should have asked it this way….

Barring the obvious safety concerns and based on your experience, if you had to take one decoy to the woods to aid you in luring Mr. Three Toes into range, what would it be?  Hen, jake, half-strut jake, other?  What is the most effective decoy?


(Edited by Welby at 9:07 am on Feb. 5, 2002)
 

Fubar

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Welby I do use a hen decoy alone, but I have never used a jake alone. Usually when I use a jake I put out a hen also. I guess the reason is to make the gobbler jealous. I have had birds come into decoys and seem decoy shy. I dont know if they had a bad experience with the decoys before or if they were intimidated by the presence of the jake.
If you do use a jake, make sure you put it where you want to shoot the bird. The gobblers usually go right to the jake decoy.
I have had very good success with decoys and I like using them.                   Fubar
 

PowDuck

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If only one, I'd have to say a hen.

But ... for bow hunting (I've not done this myself, this is from other people's advice) you will want the gobbler close and facing away from you so you can draw. Since you'll already be carrying a blind, go ahead and carry 2 hens and a jake. Position a hen in your bow range facing you with the jake directly behind her like he's mounting her. Put the other hen off to the side a few feet. When the gobbler comes in they will generally go straight to the jake and face him. This will position the tom facing away from you so you can draw your bow and put an arrow right in the back. Remember, this ain't the Old West and there's certainly no shame in shooting a turkey in the back with a bow.

Good luck.
 

trkyhntr

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Would have to be a hen for me. I do use a jake in my setup alot of times.
 

Welby

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Wouldn't that be rough...

...think your fixin' to have a good time and then...

...you hear a peculiar sound from your rear....

...and then...

...you feel instead that unmistakeable sensation as you get sliced from your bootie-hole to your rib cage...

uhhhh...my gosh, can you imagine??  Wow!!
 

Wild Turk

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Gotta go with a hen.  Jakes have their place, and I always put one out with hens, but given only 1 deke it would be a hen.

When I put out a couple of decoys, I use 3 Delta hot hens and 1 jake.  This "flock" has worked for me many times.  Pointer for the new guys:  Make sure you pick out some extra slutty looking hens.  The gobblers dont like prude looking ones.....
 

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