Turkey Decoy Strategies: Full Strut Tom + Breeding Hen

What used to be unheard of is now one of the most common and deadly turkey decoy setups out there.  Turkey decoys have come a long way in the past five years and ultrarealistic strutters are just one of the reasons for their increased popularity amongst hunters.   Pair a strutting body with a real tail fan from a previous turkey you’ve killed and you’ll likely have several more to hang on the wall.


  • Can draw out the dominant bird
  • Large visual for long distance birds
  • Can lead to quick hunt
  • Triggers aggressive reaction


  • Will scare off some birds
  • Bulky to carry depending on decoys
  • Safety concern, especially on public land

Watch as Pat Reeve, host of Driven with Pat & Nicole, shows you how to use this combo and the heart pumping action that can follow.

When to use a full strut decoy paired with a breeding hen decoy

Using a full strut decoy will either be boom or bust.  It’s an aggressive technique that will trigger an aggressive reaction from a dominant bird or a group of multiple toms.  First, the “boom”:  Once a dominant bird or bully group catches sight of an intruder in their area that’s about to get lucky, they’ll literally come charging in.  The exact opposite can happen as well, and can send a subordinate bird running to the next county (the “bust”).  High risk, high reward.

This can be a cumbersome set of decoys to carry around, especially if you like to run and gun.  However, if you’re willing to carry them, pairing a full strut gobbler decoy near a hen decoy set in the breeding position provides a great visual for large open areas.  This is precisely why it was one of the tactics we mentioned in Dealing with Stubborn Field Gobblers.

The best time to use this decoy setup is early on in the season when birds are still sorting out dominance.  Later in the season it may scare off more birds than bring in because more of them have gotten their butt whooped and they’re more focused on finding hens.  Nonetheless, any decoy setup can work at any time depending on the birds.  Remember, every bird is different Don’t get discouraged if one setup causes a negative reaction, just be ready to adapt.

Setup is key when using a full strut decoy paired with a hen decoy in the breeding position.  For this setup you’ll position the hen decoy on its belly with either a very short stake or no stake at all.  Next, you’ll position the full strut decoy directly behind her about one foot away.  Before you stake them in and get setup, pay attention to where you think the gobblers will be coming from, as you’ll want the strutter decoy facing the approaching toms.

More Killer Turkey Decoy Setups

When to use a Lone Hen Decoy

When to use a Jake + Hen

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