Try a hen turkey decoy on archery deer hunts

A hen turkey decoy can make wary bucks feel relaxed, which will draw them into archery range.

A wary animal feeding nearby will help deer relax

Two of the keys to taking deer with bow and arrow are to get them in range and to make them relaxed once they’re there, so they aren’t on full alert to jump or duck a shot.

Food is one of the means. And food plots, feeders and food piles are all used with varying degrees of success. But getting them to drop their guard and relax is another problem. The solution to that can result in easy shots at close range without having a nice buck jump the string.

The deer must be confident the spot is safe before dropping its guard. One way is to add something super wary to the area that a deer will perceive as relaxed. Waterfowl hunters use blue heron, seagull and crow decoys to convince wary ducks and geese their setup is safe. This idea works well with deer too. A blue heron decoy may work, but only when water is nearby. However, almost all deer respond well to a hen turkey decoy.

Avoid strutting gobbler decoys

Many gobbler decoys are strutters, an unnatural posture in the fall. Jake decoys with folded fans might work. But nothing will make deer confident the area is safe like a decoy hen or two feeding in the general area, but off to the side.

One Carolina hunter made it work last season on a spot that deer were using with extreme caution, especially during daylight hours. Even with a corn pile nearby, they remained on high alert. That was true even in trail-camera photos. One buck was caught on a trail-cam video crashing away when the camera activated.

Placing a hen turkey decoy about 10 yards off the corn pile produced immediate and amazing results. Getting ready to enter the area, deer would pause just beyond good bow range and scan the surroundings. When they saw the turkey decoy, most walked right in. And over the next several weeks, three deer were arrowed from the stand, the longest shot at 17 yards.


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About Jerry Dilsaver 1172 Articles
Jerry Dilsaver of Oak Island, N.C., a full-time freelance writer, is a columnist for Carolina Sportsman. He is a former SKA National Champion and USAA Angler of the Year.

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