Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
Yesterday afternoon, my wife, Carol decided that I needed a new turkey decoy. In reality, I probably did not. I already have a lot of turkey decoys. I have turkey silhouettes, folding turkeys, inflatable turkeys, hard rubber turkeys, plastic turkeys, hens, jakes, gobblers, and so on. In my search for the perfect decoy, I feel like I’ve tried them all. Most have their good points; all have their bad. The DSDs are by far the most realistic, and they are also the heaviest to lug up and down steep woodland ridges.
Although I love all types of waterfowl decoys — old and new — I don’t feel the same admiration for turkey counterfeits. Truth be told, I don’t even like them. Unfortunately, they’re a necessary evil when it comes to bow hunting the Timber Ghost; at least for me.
But Carol did have a point on this one. The decoy in question was the new HS Strut: Jake Snood. The decoy is an inflatable, made of seemingly durable high quality rubber. It looks somewhat realistic [though not nearly so much so as the Avian-X or DSD models] and the decoy has a fairly good “passive strut” look to it. Its cost is a fraction of what the better decoys sell for. But it was the jake’s weight that made us pull the trigger. The Jake Snood weighs in at just under 1.5 pounds — virtually weightless when compared to most other full bodied decoys. Whether you’re hunting the rugged blufflands of NE Iowa or backcountry sand hills of Nebraska; every ounce counts, which is what made the Snood seem worth a try.
Bright and early this morning, I decided to give the new HS decoy a try. Why wait? Returning to the woods where I’d found plenty of action a couple of days ago, I was unable to locate a single bird. Moving to the next section, I found a group of hens but no gobblers. A bit later, however, I could hear gobbling from an adjacent field. I hurriedly placed the decoy along the edge of a mostly snow covered pasture and got into my blind. [P.S. — I also hate turkey blinds; but that too is another story!] Since the ground is still frozen solid, I placed the jake atop a free standing goose stake.
I started calling and the gobblers immediately responded. The gobbling got closer and closer until the strutting toms entered the pasture. Upon spotting the Snood, the toms made an immediate square corner and came marching straight in. Both birds were purring like crazy and, although they didn’t give the jake a trouncing, they did do plenty of aggressive posturing as they circled the “unknown” invader. The toms eventually lost interest and exited the pasture via a nearby treeline. After that, a group of white-tailed deer trotted by. No more turkeys came to visit; but I was definitely pleased with the decoy’s results during its first hour in the field.