Here’s Tommy’s Turkey Hunting Setup for Michigan’s 2022 Season
I love to turkey hunt and thought I would share my setup for you in case you are thinking about getting out and bagging a Michigan turkey.
2022 Michigan Turkey Hunting
The 2022 Michigan Turkey Hunting season is underway. The first season kicked off on April 23 and the second season kicked off on April 30.
Depending on where you hunt and what season you chose to hunt in, the season will last until June 7.
You can only shoot one bearded bird for the season. Here is a complete guide on Michigan turkey hunting rules right here.
Let me start by saying you do not have to use a blind when turkey hunting. I bagged my first half a dozen birds sitting next to trees or in woodpiles. Heck, when I first began turkey hunting I just used a hen call and no decoys or a Tom call.
I learned to turkey hunt on my own. After years of seeing them while bow hunting I learned a little about where to look for them.
Turkey Decoy Setup
Turkey hunting decoys have come a long way since I began hunting them over 20 years ago.
In the photo above is a turkey with a real fan on it from a previous bird I took about 10 years ago. Off in the distance is a young jake decoy.
I set up the decoys to emulate how I see them when they are out in the field. Usually, the jake is a little further away from the bigger Tom and the hens.
Here is a front side look at my Tom decoy and two hens. I've had these hen decoys for almost 20 years and yes I should upgrade but I'm too cheap to upgrade since the two decoys I want cost a lot of money and I'm still bagging birds with the old ones.
I'm not telling you how to set up your decoys. This is just a setup that has been working for me. I like to keep the big Tom near the two larger hens and the Jake decoy off in the distance.
Sometimes I think hunters put their decoys too far away. You can keep your decoys pretty close to your blind or where you are sitting. Toms and hens will come right up to your decoys. Don't be surprised if a wild bird attacks your decoys. Turkeys are very territorial and I've had Toms, Jakes, and Hens all attack my decoys. I even had a huge mature hen attack my blind when I was using a hen call one time.
As you can see in the photo above there are 3 Jake's wanting a pieced of this decoy.
My buddy Adam uses a setup I highly recommend and it's the Jake above that looks like a smaller Tom and an easy fight for a mature bird. He also has a hen decoy that is sitting on the ground in a submissive position. This type of Jake and hen setup is really effective and inviting for those Toms to come to pay you a visit. Plus the colors of his decoys look just like real turkeys. Before I moved back to Michigan we had a golden eagle fly down to attack this very same setup. These decoys fooled an eagle.
Did Tommy Get a Turkey?
Yes, I got a pretty nice bird. I didn't see or hear anything until about 9:15 am when a hen came in that actually had a beard on it. It was windy that day so I didn't call much but when I hit my gobble call the Tom turkey lit up the woods and came toward my decoys.
The turkey had a double beard which sometimes happens. I have previously shot turkeys with three, four, and even a five-bearded bird. I hate to go all fisherman here for a second but this turkey's beards are thicker but he flopped around the water after I took the shot and tightened everything up.
This turkey was a mature bird with spurs at one and a half inches. This bird is somewhere between 3 and 5 years old. The bird weighed just a hair under 25lbs and will taste great when I deep fry him later this year.
Turkey hunting is alive and well in Michigan and a lot of fun. It's also a great way to introduce young kids or someone who has never hunted before. By using calls you get to connect with the birds and can really lead to a heart-pumping exciting hunt.