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Decoy Tactics For April Gobblers
Adjusting the way you use decoys to increase your odds of fooling a late-season tom this year. These tips should make the process easier. (April 2008) ... [+] Full Article
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Hunting Hill Country Houdinis

“One real common mistake hunters make is not evaluating a setup as strategically as they should. A lot of guys will have birds come in behind them and get hamstrung. If that gobbler is henned up, he’s going to follow those hens and if you don’t account for them when you think about your setup, you’re not going to be as successful as I think you’d like to be.

“Some folks get a little overzealous with their decoys, too. They think if they have it they need to use it. A guy might be walking along and hear a bird gobble and then run out and try to find a good place for the decoy and then come back and find a place to set up. Then he looks out there and sees a red head at 100 yards and it’s too late because he’s already busted because the bird saw him sticking the decoy out or rustling around.”

Dave Fulson of Total Outdoors Adventures has had his fair share of successful turkey excursions. Here are some of his pearls of wisdom.

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“I always catch myself telling clients an eagle may have better distance vision, but no creature on the planet has as much vision for his immediate surroundings as a turkey. They can basically scan 360 degrees around their position, so that’s one of their biggest advantages.

“I’ve seen it happen a hundred times where someone has moved something around like a popup blind or a hay bale or anything else, and if they see anything at all changed they respond to it. A turkey’s memory is incredible. They’ll remember areas where they were ambushed by a predator like a bobcat, or where they were shot at by somebody. If the turkey was spooked, we will never set up in that same spot to try and kill that same bird.

“Turkey hunting was an eastern sport for years and years, and it was done mostly on public land, where you might have seven guys trying to kill one bird, so they wised up. I guided the first Mossy Oak guy to come to Texas (Ronnie Strickland) and he thought the hunting was too easy. Now it’s a different story.

“I compare turkey hunting to elk hunting. That old 4-year-old bird doesn’t gobble as much as he used to, but the 2-year-old bird will. The birds are much more wary than they were even 15 years ago. People from all over the country are coming to hunt them and they’re not as vocal as they used to. I probably use a lot more subtle calling, and I’m starting to kill a lot more midday birds. You used to be able to go out early and cut loose and bring birds right to you. That’s not the case anymore in many areas, especially the Hill Country.

“Most people give up too early and lose their interest. Over the years I’ve killed an enormous amount of turkeys between noon and 1 p.m. Basic breeding is over by 10 o’clock in the morning so you can convince a tom that there’s a receptive hen in the field where you are and pull him off a lot easier than early in the morning.”

Roy Wilson of Krooked River Ranch Outfitters has seen plenty of birds in his more than two decades of working with hunters. Here’s what he had to say.

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