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Hanging with the Ladies

A Hen Joins the Spread
A Hen Joins the Spread

It was text book spring turkey the morning my son and I guarded the woodland edge in southern Nebraska.  The first bird sounded off from the roost as the dark of night just started giving way that cloudy early morning.  From the sounds of it the turkey was not far off, either.

We clucked back a soft reply and were quickly cutoff by the bird.  A little while later we tried some yelps and received another excited response.  Every call we gave over the next several minutes was answered.  Each reply more aggressive than the last.

It was still only half-light when the sound of wings caught us by surprise.  The bird hit the ground and was charging directly toward us.  A second turkey magically appeared behind the first with a third and fourth just a little farther behind.

The first turkey barely beat the second one to our hen decoy, but both went into a full-puff strut within mere inches of the fake and less than 15 yards from us.  The excitement was tremendous for both turkeys and turkey hunters for the next 10 minutes.  That’s when all four hens became satisfied with the encounter, their place in the pecking order and moved south to find the gobblers all six of us were seeking that morning.

Not Happy with the Decoy
Not Happy with the Decoy

For some reason this year Logan and I have been blessed with hen after hen after hen visiting our setup.  Some have simply come over to check us out. Others have spent considerable time feeding and taking dust baths in front of us.  And some like the ones above have taken offense to our decoys.  None, as of this writing, have brought their suitors along with them.

Another Hen Visitor
Another Hen Visitor

Now hens are not what we are targeting, but hanging out with live hens is better than simply spending time with the decoys…and one of these times a gobbler will be following these ladies.


About Aaron Hershberger

Aaron "hershy" Hershberger is an Outdoor Education Specialist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He loves being outdoors. When not outdoors he is day-dreaming about being outdoors and/or whining that he is not outdoors. Hershy has been a Hunter Education Instructor, in two states, for nearly three decades & a Bowhunter Education Instructor for over 20 years.

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