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Hunting Competitive Gobblers by Grant Woods

In most states turkey season opens during the early portion of breeding season when gobblers are very competitive. Mature toms around they will actively chase jakes (year old male turkeys) away from hens and/or the mature tom’s strut zones.

I recently used a Reconyx UltraFire camera to monitor a known strut zone at my farm. Within a day or two it filmed two mature toms aggressively chasing three jakes from their strut zone (watch this video)! This will be a perfect place to place a jake in strut decoy before sunrise then after the sun is up give a few yelps.

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These toms won’t tolerate a jake in their strut zone. It should be fun watching the toms attack a jake decoy – just before I send a Winchester Long Beard XR toward one of the aggressive gobblers.

If there are significantly more jakes in an area than mature toms, I prefer to use a hen as jakes will gang up on toms to fight them daily. In flocks where jakes outnumber toms, mature gobblers will often flare off jake decoys as they are tired of being picked on by the flocks of jakes.

Take time to do some scouting during the weeks before turkey season. Knowing a bit about the age structure of turkey population where you hunt can help you pick the best decoy setup for the specific area.

Chasing toms together,


Dr. Grant Woods
Dr. Grant Woods
Raised in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, Dr. Grant Woods has consulted on wildlife research and management from Canada to New Zealand. A hunter since childhood, he not only knows how to grow big deer, but how to effectively hunt them as well. His work serves to improve deer herd quality and educate hunters about advanced management techniques.