Turkey decoys work well on any species of turkey, and I have been fortunate enough to chase 4 of the sub species over the years. Some choose to chase the grand slam for the adventure, which I consider the right reasons, and some chase it to bloat their already excessively large egos, which is a bad reason. After chasing them all over the country, I am of the opinion that a turkey is a turkey. They live in different places, but they are all just turkeys. Constantine will custom paint our best turkey decoy to closely match any species for $45 plus freight for those who want the best to be a little better, and he does a great job.
Turkey decoys in Florida (Osceola)
There are two main differences the Osceola turkey exhibits from other grand slam birds. He likes to fight, and he is expensive. Stupid expensive usually. It’s simple 7th grade economics that make him expensive: supply and demand; he only lives in half a state. Why they won’t cross this line is beyond my comprehension, but he won’t. If you decide to pay for one, they are fairly easy to decoy with a jake or tom turkey decoy as they love a good fight. They are the bird that the Primos B Mobile was fashioned for, and a jake turkey decoy will never work better. Us midwestern guys like them because it’s warm in Florida mid-March, and that’s when season opens. If you couple it with a family trip to Disney, it will actually seem cheap, but it’s a bad plan. Disney was an animal rights guy and some of his parks do not even sell beer. A whole day on hot pavement with the kids and not one beer in the whole place. Who would build such a place?
Texas Rios are a staple of the grand slam. When you think Rio Grande turkeys, you think Texas. I hate Texas turkeys. Their whole social structure revolves around the feeder, and you can’t fight the feeder. I have tried several times to find the place to set up where birds will call and decoy like the rest of the country, but the fact remains that those toms know all the hens will come to the corn, and they plan accordingly. So how do you hunt them? You set a blind up next to a feeder and shoot them like chickens when they come in to the little yellow turkey decoys, because that is what they turn into 20 yards from the feeder. Drop out of strut and run to the corn. Don’t get me wrong, I love hunting Texas. It’s a whole different world of hunting and shooting with the hogs and exotics, but Texas turkeys are not on my list. You do have options, and one of them is Kansas. You can find lots and lots of Rios in Kansas, and they don’t all live by feeders. Kansas birds will call and come to your turkey decoys like Easterns, and the memory is much sweeter.
Turkey decoys and the white-tipped birds (Merriam)
A snow white Merriams wild turkey is the prettiest of all birds, and you will not find the white tips everywhere the NWTF map shows where they live. Many of these birds have figured out how to cross the map lines and breed and mingle with Rios, Easterns and hybrids of each. Mutts, if you will. If you want a true white-tipped bird, you either sort through a bunch of South Dakota or Nebraska birds as they come to your turkey decoys, or you need to go further west. Most (not all) snow-white-tipped birds are mountain birds. Low densities of turkeys means that your boots better be broken in and your lungs and legs up to task. These Merriams will come from forever to your calling if you can locate them, and are a blast to hunt. They’re very tough to bow hunt with all the blinds and chairs, but you will always remember the distance that bird traveled to meet your turkey decoys. Some of my fondest memories are from the mountain Merriams of Montana. A lot of work, but it makes them that much sweeter.
Turkey decoys and Easterns
He is the king in my book. He gobbles louder than any other bird, and when he spits and drums, the blind will shake and your hair will stand on end. He often receives more pressure from hunters and survives more close calls. He may have seen a buddy or brother go down hard to the roar of a 12 and he learns from it. Consistently score on pressured Easterns and you can kill any other turkey.
If you choose to chase the slam, best of luck. I enjoyed the trip, and hope you will as well, and be sure to drop a note on how you think each bird differs. No doubt your spin will differ from my mine when using turkey decoys on the 4 sub species.