As an experienced hunter, I have found that using turkey decoys can greatly enhance my chances of success when hunting longbeards. Decoys are an effective tool for luring in turkeys by mimicking the appearance and behavior of real birds.
When the decoys are strategically placed in the right locations and using the right techniques, you can attract turkeys within range and increase your chances of making a successful shot.
Using decoys will increase your odds of success. Figuring out which decoy or decoys you need can be tricky. We've written a detailed blog on How to Hunt Turkeys Using Decoys and you will find details on how to place your bird, what type of body configurations for decoys are there, and more.
Shaggy Outdoors "Best of" for Turkey Decoys
Best Compact Turkey Decoy
Miss Purrfect XD Turkey Hen by Montana Decoy Co.
The XD Series by Montana Decoy Co. gives you the ability to fold up and pack away in your vest or backpack. Great 3D Design and look. Modify the Head position to change up the body style.
Best Feeding Hen Turkey Decoy
Feeding Hen Decoy by Dave Smith Decoys
5 Star Rating and 59 customer reviews can't be wrong. This is a confidence decoy to bring in a mature tom. Solid bird ACE Technology with Iridescent Paint for Real Feathers appearance.
Best Quarter Strut Jake Turkey Decoy
Avian-X LCD Quarter-Strut Jake
The most true to life turkey colors and 3D appearance. This non-aggressive pose makes him attractive. Constructed with rugged dura-rubber.
When it comes to decoy prices, the construction materials and the attention to detail in colors and design influence how much you will pay. At Shaggy Outdoors we only choose the best options for our hunting trips. By knowing our hunting conditions, we know in advance if we are carrying our Dave Smith Decoy with A.C.E. (Advanced Crosslink Elastomer technology) bodied decoys out to our ground blind or if we will be using our Montana Turkey Decoys that are lightweight and compact to keep one or a whole flock in my vest.
We know that not all hunters have the ability to purchase the top of line decoys. We know the quality of the Avian-X and DSD brands, but when you're set up in a ground blind or running-and-gunning you may need to review a few choices before you buy.
For those turkey-hunting fanatics looking for more information. Check out our Ultimate Gear Guide for Turkey Hunters. We cover all things turkey hunting for the beginner to the advanced hunter.
Below are our top choices based on the price points of a single decoy purchase.
5 Key Reasons why using Decoys can be Effective for Hunting
- Attracting Turkeys: Turkey decoys are designed to look like real birds, and can effectively lure turkeys into your hunting area. By placing the decoys in the right spot and using the right techniques, you can make it look like there are real birds in the area, which will increase your chances of attracting a turkey within range.
- Decoy Distractions: When you use turkey decoys, it can distract the turkeys from your actual location. This can give you an advantage by making it easier to get into position for a good shot.
- Aggression Trigger: Turkeys are social birds and can be aggressive towards other birds that they perceive as intruders. By using a decoy, you can trigger this aggression response, which can make the turkey more likely to come within range.
- Confidence Builder: Decoys can help build confidence in your turkey hunting skills. By using decoys to attract turkeys, you can increase your chances of a successful hunt, which can help build confidence and motivation for future hunts.
- Educational: Using turkey decoys can be an educational experience. By watching the behavior of the turkeys as they interact with the decoys, you can gain a better understanding of turkey behavior, which can help you become a more skilled hunter in the future.
13 Top Decoys Every Hunter Needs
The decoys we've provided are considered to be some of the best on the market. Design, attention to detail, colors, and quality of materials make up for the different price points for the decoys. Just like each hunter needs their turkey calls, every hunter should have one or more decoys ready to deploy to improve their success.
We know that not every decoy on the market is the same. Construction materials can vary between flexible plastic, rubber, fabric, or solid hard material. When you take a shot with your turkey load #4, #5, or #6 shot and you accidentally tag your own decoy, the materials of the decoy will determine the life of your decoy. With the wrong material, you could ruin your decoy.
The A.C.E. Technology being used by Dave Smith Decoys allows for a few shot pellets to hit but not destroy the decoy. The decoys maintain their shape in all temperatures and the soft self-healing material allows you to use the decoys for years.
I've seen firsthand what a cheaper hard plastic decoy looks like after a hunter takes a shot at a gobbler. The cheap options can be a one-and-done if you happen to hike the decoy instead of the turkey. Our intent is to inform and educate you about your option as we give some details on the structure and materials of the decoys.
Our 13 decoys, noted below, are 2D or 3D body styles. If you are looking for a stalking or a reaping-style decoy we have provided 5 options after this section. See below for more information.
Having a decoy during your hunt can impact and produce a successful hunt. Having the right decoy will determine how many occasions and years you get to use your decoy and how well turkeys respond to the lifelike nature of the decoy.
23 Ratings on Amazon
Montana Decoy - Miss Purr-Fect XD
Voted the Best Compact Turkey Decoy on the Market.
Montana Decoys XD series is 3D-designed decoys. They are built out of XD Fabric with HD printing for the most realism. The Miss Purrfect XD has 3 positions for the one decoy: place in the feeding, standing, or breeding position. The adjustable head positions make this decoy beneficial in several different positions. Use by itself or with other decoys to make for a flock.
16 Ratings on Amazon
Dave Smith Decoys - Feeding Hen
Voted the Best Feeding Hen Decoy.
DSDs are one, if not the best custom-designed decoys on the market. Having used these decoys for several turkey seasons, we have had great luck combining these decoys with our Montana turkey decoys. The A.C.E. technology that goes into these decoys allows for worry-free shooting. The bodies reseal if hit with turkey shot load. This is not a compact decoy.
345 Ratings on Amazon
Avian-X - Quarter Strut LCD Jake
Voted the Best Quarter Strut Decoy.
This bird will get the attention of those toms and get them ready to fight. These LCDs (Lifelike Collapsible Turkey Decoy) by Avian-X are compact, and lifelike, and require them to be blown up for use. At 15% of its natural size, this decoy is constructed of PVC dura-rubber providing quiet movements and no unnatural spin. Use this decoy with a pair down hen to mimic a breeding pair and drive the gobblers crazy.
367 ratings on Amazon
Avian-X - Lookout Hen LCD
Voted Best Turkey Decoy Under $100
For less than 100 dollars this bird will get the attention of those toms. These LCD birds by Avian-X are lifelike at 15% of their natural size and they are collapsible decoys for easy storage and transport. Constructed of PVC dura-rubber provides quiet movements and no unnatural spin. Get this decoy to show off and use your calling to pull in those longbeards.
224 Ratings on Amazon
Avian-X - Jake HDR Decoy
Voted Best Turkey Decoy Under $200.
HDR by Avian-X stands for Heavy-Duty Realism! This decoy is a molded rubber decoy from a hand-carved design. The decoy has excellent details including 3D design and the most authentic painting in the industry. The decoy comes with two removable heads. One which is more submissive and another that is in the aggressive posture. Pair with a hen and get those gobblers pissed off.
12 Ratings on Amazon
Dave Smith Decoys - Strutter
Voted Best Turkey Decoy Under $300.
DSDs are one, if not the best custom-designed decoys on the market. Having used these decoys for several turkey seasons, we have had great luck combining these decoys to get gobblers excited and running our kill zone. The A.C.E. technology that goes into these decoys allows for worry-free shooting. The bodies reseal if hit with turkey shot load. This is not a compact decoy.
96 Ratings on Amazon
Avian-X - Feeding Hen HDR Decoy
HDR by Avian-X means Heavy-Duty Realism. These are blow-molded from a hand-carved design. The HDR series has multiple head postures to increase realism. This bird is in the submissive feeding posture which provided a relaxed sense of security for other birds. The Feeding Hen can be used alone or with a flock of decoys. This is not a foldable decoy, there is a handle built in for easy carry.
Montana Decoy - Wiley Tom 3D Decoy
Voted the Best Turkey Decoy Under $100!
This Full strut decoy for the mobile hunter by Montana Decoy Co is your go-to. This compact two-piece design has an ultra HD realism within a 3D design. Fully collapsable for easy storage and transport. Lifelike taxidermy eyes. View through a window. Great for run-n-gun hunters that need several decoys while hiking through the mountains.
49 Ratings on Amazon
Flambeau Outdoors - Shady Baby Hen Turkey Decoy
A very affordable turkey decoy to add to your flock. It is a 3D-designed full-body hen decoy. The decoy is collapsible and will retain its shape. Constructed of durable vinyl resin and comes in a natural upright pose. Use alone or in conjunction with a jake decoy or group of hens.
1 Rating on Amazon
Higdon Outdoors - Jake & Jill
This is a set of decoys. First, you get a 1/4 strut Jake and a full-body laydown hen. Use these two together to get the appearance of a Jake mating with a hen. With the right calls, a mature tom will see the smaller Jake and want to push him off the hen. Jake is in a semi-aggressive posture but submissive to incoming gobblers.
24 Ratings on Amazon
Avian-X - Merriam Jake and Hen Decoy Combo Pack
This combo pack is a Merriam turkey decoy combination. Merriam Turkey can be found in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Texas, and Nevada. The combo pack comes with a dominant hen and a subordinate jake. Get your Merriam turkey decoys today.
49 Ratings on Amazon
Montana Decoy - Purr-FECT Pair XD Combo
The XD Combo by Montana Decoy Co comes with a Miss Perfect XD Hen and a Jake Purrfect XD. These decoys are the best for packing into your backpack or hunting vest. Their compact design opens to a 3D turkey decoy. Each decoy has the ability to be placed in different head and neck positions. 3 Positions for each decoy give you the opportunity to have the decoys mating or feeding near each other. The HD printed photo on XD fabric with feather-style flaps gives these decoys a lifelike appearance.
6 Perfect Decoys for Reaping or Stalking Your Gobbler
If you are stalking your turkey then we have a few Reaping-style turkey decoys to show you. Reaping is an exciting method of hunting. But, hunters need to be careful hunting this method.
There are more tragedies hunting turkey using a reaping hunting style than any other. That is why many states have outlawed the stalking and reaping style of hunting turkey.
When you add great calling to your reaping style of hunting, you are apt to bring in more than a dominant tom. When hunting public lands this style of hunting should not be used. Even in certain private land hunting camps, you should be careful with this style of hunting.
Since many hunters still hunt in this style, we are providing our opinion as to the best 5 Reaping decoys for your turkey hunt.
MOJO Scoot-N-Shoot Max
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
This Reaping Decoy is a mature tom looking to battle and defends his territory. Overall size allows you to hide your body completely while looking through the viewing window in the fan. Fan and wings are removable and you can replace them with real fan and wings. Built-in handle makes for easy carry and ground stakes allow you to place the decoy in the ground before setting up for a shot.
Montana Decoy Fanatic Reaping Decoy
Overall Rating: 4/5
This run-and-gun hunter decoy is perfect for those looking to get close to their gobblers. The reaping decoy is a full frontal of a mature tom with a fan out showing his dominance and size. There is a see-through mesh viewing window in the fan, stakes for placing the decoy in the ground, and a handle to hold with one hand and get ready for the shot with the other.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Hands-free turkey jake fanning decoy for either shotgun or bowhunters. The handle has a built-in ground stake to secure the decoy for the shot. From the front oncoming turkey see a strutting Jake which will get the gobbler's attention and bring him close to the fight.
How to Use Your Decoy When Turkey Hunting
Once you have your decoys it's time to start working on the setup. Decoys can be used with run-and-gun style hunting, early morning locator calling, and ground blind hunting.
Run-and-Gun Hunting with a Turkey Decoy
You can use decoys if you're run-and-gunning by having a portable decoy or multiple turkey decoys in your vest. When you have found your birds using locator call techniques it's time to set up for some action.
Determine the direction the birds are expected to come from and figure out where you will sit. Now, place the decoys in plain sight so oncoming gobblers can see them. Typically, you'd want the decoys between 15-20 yards of your location if you're hunting with a shotgun or 10-15 yards if you have a bow.
While you're using your slate call or mouth call, keep still to ensure the wiley birds don't see you. Let them get close enough for the shot and take them down.
Two good choices of turkey decoys for the run-and-gun style are the Lookout Hen and 1/4 Strut Jake. Depending on the brand you could use these decoys in different scenarios. The Montana Decoy Co has a very portable pair that you can pack away and pull out of your vest at a moment's notice. The Perfect Pair XD Combo head and neck are made to pose in several different positions giving you a couple of possible pose choices.
Ground Blind Hunting with a Turkey Decoy
You want the birds to get as close as possible to get the best shot. Set up your blind in a position that you won't spook oncoming turkey.
You could place your decoys in a feeding pose or travel pose with multiple decoys or a flock of birds.
When trying to attract a large gobbler using a decoy, remember don't put out a full gobbler strutter in the late season. There would be a possibility that your bird is tired of fighting and will be less likely to come into a full strut gobbler.
How to Incorporate Turkey Calling with Turkey Decoys
The excitement of the turkey hunt comes when you hear birds in the distance talking. The real excitement starts when you are calling and talking to those birds.
There are several types of calls from friction box calls to pot calls, locator calls, and mouth calls. If you're not sure where to start with using turkey calls we have a blog on the "Top Turkey Calls Every Hunter Should Own and Master Before Hunting Season Starts".
Calling is the most important part of turkey hunting. Without calling you don't know if there are birds in your area and you have no way to attract birds from 100 yards to over 1/2 mile away. You must use calling before any other strategy or technique.
Once you have the bird's attention, the placement of your decoys is vital to pull in a longbeard for a shot. Using a breeding pair or feeding a flock may be all you need. Late spring season, after the initial breeding season, you could try a single lone hen that could still be ready to breed and in the fall you may want to work on your kee kees to imitate a flock that has broken up.
Either way, add a few decoys to your calling and you will give that gobbler a visual of who is calling and it could pull him in fast.
Final Thoughts on Hunting Turkey Using a Turkey Decoy
I've had success hunting turkeys with and without a decoy. I have never directed any of my fellow hunters to purchase decoys because they are necessary. I have had more fun over the years when I included decoys in my hunt.
The reactions and actions between my decoys and those hens and toms are interesting and fun to watch. When hunting with my sons and young kids, having the decoys out always kept their attention when calling was slow.
Decoys are an amazing addition to your turkey tool chest.
While I believe using turkey decoys can greatly increase your chances of success when turkey hunting. Adding calling and having birds mimic the appearance and behavior of real birds, decoys can attract turkeys into your hunting area, distract them from your actual location, trigger aggression responses, build confidence, and provide an educational experience.
Whether you choose to use a single decoy or a flock of turkey decoys, incorporating this tool into your turkey hunting strategy can not only improve your chances of a successful hunt but also make the experience more enjoyable and rewarding.
So why not give it a try and see for yourself the benefits that turkey decoys can offer in your next turkey hunting expedition?
Frequently Asked Questions
This is a tricky question and answer. First, there are a million different scenarios for using turkey decoys. Second, how many do you own? I have used one decoy for a lone hen that was calling and I have used two breeding pairs my favorite is a flock of turkeys foraging for grubs. Try different numbers of decoys. Be careful you don't use a mature tom in full strut, you could scare off a younger tom or jake.
While there are a few good choices here, I like to use the Montana Turkey Decoys. The lightweight design allows me to carry full 3D models and like to keep my Fanatic Reaping Decoy on hand. I use the reaping decoy for both set-up positions when calling and when I'm trying to get close to a flock.
If you are hunting in early spring pose a breeding pair together. Jake and Hen with the hen down and jake on her back or next to her. For the early season when the gobblers are all fired up to find a hot hen, this pose works wonders. In late spring, I use a smaller jake with a few hens and in the fall I like to use a couple of different hen poses. The Montana XD Purrfect pair allows you to change the body style and head and neck making this a good choice for multiple poses.
Decoys can be used in several different poses. In early spring I like to use the submissive hen and jake breeding combo. I'll add in a 1/4 jake or even full strut jake or tom to entice a gobbler to come in and take control. For late spring I use smaller strutting jakes or 3/4 jakes to keep the toms interested. Sometime in the late spring hunts a tom has been beaten up a bit and won't come in if he sees a full strut gobbler.
If you want compact and lightweight Shaggy Outdoors recommends the Montana Decoy Turkey XD Purrfect Pair XD Combo. If you are okay with carrying in your decoys then the Dave Smith Decoys are best for the money as their ACE Technology will last for several hunting seasons. But don't count out the Avian-X lineup of decoys they have great reviews and results by hunters.
While not necessary as hundreds of turkeys are shot every year without the use of a decoy, it is highly recommended when you are calling to have a decoy. The decoy can distract the incoming turkey and it can give a visual when they hear the yelps.
Turkey hunters should have three calls in our opinion. They need a locator call, a friction call, and a mouth call. The locator call can be used in the early morning before the birds come off the roost. The different friction calls can be used to call a great distance or make the necessary purrs, yelps, or clucks. The mouth call works perfectly when a gobbler is in close and you can't use your hand to continue calling. Check out our article on the Top 3 Turkey Calls Every Hunter Should Own and Master Before Hunting Season Starts. We give you a brief overview of the different types and links to pick out the right call for you.
A breeding pair or mating setup is an excellent spring turkey setup. A mature gobbler cannot refuse to come in and kick off young jake or a smaller tom and get his action on the breeding hen.