Heads Up Decoy

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Run and Gun Nebraska Turkey Hunting



Our good friend Ben Guttormson had a great hunt in Nebraska in 2016. He hunted with a traditional bow made by RER and the Heads Up Turkey Decoy. Ben used the Gadget Adaptor to attach the bow mount to his bow. Here is Ben's story.

Author:Ben Guttormson

The spring of 2016 found me traveling to Nebraska with my recurve to try and put a tag on my first turkey with traditional archery equipment.  I would be hunting with two good friends and concentrating my efforts on feedlots as the birds were still in a late-winter pattern. We arrived realizing spring was a little ahead of schedule and the birds had already broken up from most of the feedlots. Spots that once had 200 or more birds the week before now only with a handful. At the advice of our local friend, we decided to stick it out on the feedlots; he assured us we would have opportunities however, in my personal opinion, one of most boring things in the world to do is sit in a turkey blind when there's no turkeys around.


Heads Up Bow Mountable Turkey Decoy
Click Image to enlarge




In order to bag a bird, we would need to change our tactics drastically to a run-and-gun approach. The guy that we were hunting with was granted permission on several farms with plenty of ground for us to hunt. After our second morning sit on a feedlot with no action, I talked to my friend explaining that I wanted to get more aggressive with a different approach. He basically laughed in my face and said, "how are you going to run-and-gun turkeys with a recurve?!"

At this point I had to bite my tongue. I couldn't say what I wanted to say and we'll just leave it at that. Eventually, he pulled out the plat book and showed me the property boundaries for the farms we could hunt. By 10:30 that morning, I was on my way out to look for a bird I could put the HUD to work on.  I didn't take me long; I found a long beard with a couple hens working up a small coulee.

Heads Up Turkey Decoy
Click Image to enlarge
I worked up to the top end of the coulee and used a couple small cedars to peek over the edge. The birds were all still unaware of my presence and were at about 45 yards and headed right for me. The tom was the last in the group and when his hens were behind a small roll in the hill I slid out from around the cedar with the decoy attached to my bow. The bird immediately went into strut and gobbled a couple times. I waited for him to make a move and after 15 seconds of strutting back and forth, he dropped into half strut and started running right at me.  The whole time I had my HUD in front of me. The bird ran straight for me until he reached four yards where he veered left at the last minute and went back into full strut.  My recurve was already at my anchor point by this time. As he slowed, I was able to put a good shot on him.  Nothing felt better than getting back to camp and showing my bird to my friend that had doubted the run-and-gun approach with the HUD.


turkey reaping decoy
Click Image to enlarge
Over the next couple of days, I continued to stun my friend by using the decoy on two more birds. The first, I utilized the decoy to get in front of the tom and his hens and waited him out. This bird, like the first, charged at me but at six yards he figured out I wasn't the intruder he thought I was. Sadly, I missed him as he was leaving.  On the last bird I was able to sneak to within 25 yards using the terrain and shadowed him using the decoy until I was able to get a shot off.


Without the HUD decoy, this trip probably would have been dismal. Never again, will I leave this useful tool at home regardless of hunting with my compound or my traditional set up.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Kansas Turkey Hunting On Limited Time

First set up of the year screen capture Click to enlarge

I vaguely remember the 2016 Kansas turkey season. Heads Up Decoy was heading towards uncharted water with new vendors on the horizon. Meeting their demands was an unknown. I would have to be efficient.

Some early season attempts to help my 8 year old son bag his first bird were feudal. His desire to hunt exceeded his physical ability, but sometimes in order to make them understand...they have to fail. I am not in a rush to get my son to killing animals. I hope he has an entire life ahead of him chasing birds and big game. When we mutually agreed that he was still a ways out from shooting a bird, it was time for me to pick up the bow.

Heads Up Turkey Decoy shown with Bow Mount
Mother Nature always has Her role in hunting. I was fortunate to find a prime day to head out for the afternoon dance. I rolled up to a spot that has produced so many times for me. No birds were visible, but I knew they were around. I grabbed my video camera, ContourHD hat cam, bow, and decoy and slipped into a nice pocket under a cedar tree in a prime location. I organized and fiddled with my equipment making little attempt at concealing my movement only to look up to see birds closing in on my location. 2 big toms and a handful of hens.

I fired up the cameras and slid the Heads Up Turkey Decoy in the Bow Mount. After a few soft hen calls, the birds were nearing bow range. The hens were leading the flock with the toms, in typical fashion, dragging up the rear. I had hoped the 2 would gang up on their intruder, but instead they angled off their direct path. The toms hung out strutting some 25 yards away while the hens continued their course now inside of 10 yards. Adjusting to the toms, I shifted my weight only to annoy a nearby hen. Her warning putts made me anxious, so I drew my bow thinking this was as good as it's going to get. When the arrow skipped low in the dirt, I thought to myself, first set up of the year...to good to be true.

Simulating a tom coming in and out of strut

One or two other attempts over the next couple of weeks fell short with no encounters. The month of May was here and no tags punched. We were blessed with a gorgeous early May afternoon. I set all my priorities aside and headed to the field. I was going to try another tactic. There was a pretty good breeze from the south, nothing out of the ordinary, but rather than run the decoy from the bow, I was going to stake it into the ground in front of me and navigate from behind.


It was warm so I expected the birds would be in the shade before they started their late afternoon stroll towards roost. As luck would have it, I spotted 2 lone toms under a cottonwood soaking up the shade. I hid the truck and positioned myself just inside the property line. I was going to call these two jokers out of the creek bottom, across a plowed field, over the road, and under the fence where I had permission to hunt. I've had better sets ups. As improbable as it looks, I felt my chances were good.

Set up using the ground stake


Once set up with the decoy easily seen from the far edge of the plowed field, I let out a series of yelps from a new call I purchased from Phelps Game Calls. The Rippin Red. I liked it...and apparently so did the toms. After a few short moments, I spotted the pair on the edge of the field. I picked up the Heads Up in my hand and simulated a tom turkey going in and out of strut. I also moved it side to side. There were coming.

As I "worked" the birds across the plowed field, the closer they came the harder it was to track them. Looking through the tail fan on the decoy or under it, I was able to pick up glimpses of red heads bobbing along. The birds where crossing the road. At the edge of the fence, some 5 steps away the birds angle to my right. They were point blank...but in the road. I had to wait for them to cross under the fence. Dropping their heads and bodies to slip under the fence less than 10 yards away, I came to full draw. Seeing some movement the birds continued on their angled course to my right. I was able to spot a good beard on one of the birds and as soon as he cleared into my shooting lane, I thumped him. The arrow hit solid and the bird flapped down the fence line. I pursued. I gave the bird one more arrow just for insurance. It wasn't needed. I observed a substantial blood trail leading back to my decoy and camera.

Full Draw On the bird I shot
I continue to be thankful for the effectiveness of the Heads Up Tom Turkey Decoy. It is much more efficient than I. From the time I left the truck to the time I put my hands on the bird was about 15 minutes. When time is limited, I still have the confidence that I will be successful. I don't need to rely on spot on scouting and patterns. I just need to see birds. Once I see them, I can take the hunt to them. In this case, I had to rely on some good calling and movement of the decoy to lure these birds from a perfectly safe place into my death trap.

Bird pictured with all the essential equipment

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Shed Hunting and Scouting for Whitetail Bucks


Garrett Roe Author

Shed season has dual purpose as scouting for the upcoming deer season. We all love to shed hunt and we all love to have that as another reason to get outdoors and fuel our bowhunting passion. This is a tremendous time to reassess your hunting area and put together a strategy for the coming archery season...especially when it involves using the Heads Up Decoy Whitetail Buck Decoy.

Shed hunting is typically more of a scouting trip for me. If I find some sheds, that is a bonus. But, shed hunting also gives you an excuse to maybe penetrate those areas you may skirt during the season. I like to scour the area searching for pockets and hidey holes that may be a future ambush spot for a bedded buck and doe during the rut.



Once you've found a potential spot, look around to see the best way to enter and exit for a quick hitter set up for a calling and rattling sequence. Can it be glassed from a distance. What wind is ideal? How are the animals coming and going from that location? All things to consider at this time of year.

These areas I am referencing are typically off the beaten path of traditional river bottom locations. I.E. not travel corridors.

The most effective way to kill a whitetail buck with the Heads Up Decoy is during the rut when he has isolated a doe in or near estrus. This is commonly referred as "lockdown". In that situation, the buck cannot resist protecting his prize at all cost. Being able to identify those areas ahead of time can help you devise a plan to slip in for a chance at an unforgetable encounter with an angry whitetail buck. Or, if you draw blanks a spot you can slip out without being to disruptive.



In 2011, on a shed hunting and scouting mission, I identified an area of dense yuccas on a south facing slope. Taking mental notes, I felt this area was going to be a magnet for a buck to push and isolate (lockdown) a doe in estrus. That was in March. Fast-forward to the weekend before Thanksgiving 2011, I found myself on my belly moving into position to show the Heads Up Whitetail Buck Decoy on a bomber whitetail buck that was locked down with a hot doe. For the full story of this hunt: CLICK HERE

Using a series of grunt calls, everything played out as planned in the execution. As the buck responded to the Heads Up Decoy intruder. I ranged his predicted path only to have my broadhead shave his brisket just behind the front right shoulder at 35 yards. I was devastated...it would have been my biggest whitetail buck to date.

Scouting during and while shed hunting was key to finding this spot and it has been productive through the years as an area for lockdown bucks.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ryan Staab's Spring Gobbler Success With Heads Up Turkey Decoy



Sometimes it’s best to mix things up, get off the beaten path, and do something out of the ordinary because the reality is, life is too short to have boring hunts. As we progress as hunters, we often look for new challenges and excitement to keep us coming back for more. Ryan Staab of Kansas found himself in this exact scenario last season when it came to chasing Spring gobblers. Instead of sitting in the same blind over and over again, Ryan chose to get eye level and was able to put an exhilarating approach back into Spring turkey hunting. 

The following are the accounts and encounters, as told by Ryan Staab, during a recent interview about his hunt while using a Heads Up Turkey Decoy.  

The Clock Was Ticking

It was the second to last day of Spring turkey season and the howling Kansas winds were relentless, to say the least, but Ryan wasn’t going to just sit at the house. Knowing that the archery tackle might not be the best option in the heavy winds, Ryan grabbed his shotgun and his Heads Up Turkey decoy and made the drive to his family farm. Having hunted the property for many years and knowing the general lay of the land where the turkeys might be roosting, he took to a high vantage point and glassed the landscape below. 

Shortly after getting set up on the afternoon hunt, Ryan spotted a group of eight hens and a lone tom in the creek bottom, so he began to devise a plan for a stalk. With hundreds of yards between him and the birds, his plan was to sneak through the CRP to conceal his movement and to close the distance in hopes of getting a shot. As he made his way closer to the group of turkeys, he held the decoy in his left hand to cover his approach towards a nearby row of round bales. At this point, Ryan had slipped to within 150 yards of the group so he set up the turkey decoy next to the hay bales and began calling. 

Ryan capitalized with the Heads Up Turkey
Decoy on a thrilling afternoon hunt! You can
also see the pond in the background. 
Within minutes, the big tom took notice of the intruder across the field and quickly made his way towards Ryan, gobbling and strutting with each step. When the long beard made it to the edge of the pond, he flew across, landed and made his way towards the row of bales. Ground level displays of dominance proving to be insufficient to drive the intruder away, the big bird jumped on top of a nearby round bale to gobble at Ryan. It was obvious that this gobbler was extremely fired up and ready for a fight.

Swooping down from the round bale like a hawk from the sky, the bird landed and skidded to a stop at a mere FIVE heart-pounding yards away. Before the tom had a chance to realize he had made a mistake, Ryan dropped the decoy, pulled up his shotgun and dropped the 8-inch beard, 1-inch spurred gobbler in his tracks! 

Mobility and Heart-Pounding Excitement

According to Ryan, hunting from a ground blind was starting to get old and it hindered the hunt by having to bring so much gear into the field. He finds it much more enjoyable using the Heads Up Decoy due to the freedom and mobility with this particular style of hunting. He also finds it very rewarding to kill turkeys in an up-close, eye-level encounter which keeps him coming back for more each Spring.

If you are looking to experience the most exciting turkey hunt of your life, leave the ground blind at home and pick up a Heads Up Turkey Decoy today. You will never forget the heart-pounding encounters and the rush it brings when a big, strutting tom is staring you down at less than 10-yards away.

Ryan received a Heads Up Decoy Hat and T-shirt for allowing us to share his story. Do you have a story? If so, email us at info@headsupdecoy.com.


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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bow Hunting Partners...Choose Wisely


2015: My Brother Jeff was running the decoy as I buzzed an
arrow past his ear and into the chest of this buck. 40 yard shot.
We were cruising a small creek looking for a cruising buck.
Click Pic To Enlarge.

Bowhunting partner...those words for most probably flash the face of their partner or partners without much thought. Heads Up Decoy has blessed me with the opportunity to hunt with a bunch of different guys over the years. Before H.U.D it was almost 100% family. Now that I am older, have a family of my own just getting into hunting, and a network of guys, it is not unusual for me to hunt with a variety of people throughout the course of the year. Rather than giving you my opinion on how you should choose a bow hunting partner, I am going to tell you about my hunting partners.
   
Stuff Dies:

When I reflect back to 2008 when Heads Up Decoy first started, there is one guy...and now several guys that I have hunted with where animals get dead. My friend Kent, not only is he a great human, he's a phenomenal bowhunter. I get so excited when I go on a hunt with him because I know our chances of success are extremely high. Kent, is not the only one, there are guys that when they get in my truck or I climb into their's...brown animals or turkeys are in real trouble. I do not believe that it is coincidence. It is confidence.

2008: My good friend and cerified killer, Kent, was with
me on the first Heads Up Decoy bow kill in 2008.
15 yard shot. This buck is a freak.
Click Pic to Enlarge


Many of the guys I hunt with are accomplished bowhunters. Maybe that is why animals get dead. I like to think, at times, two skilled bowhunters are better than one. When I have confidence in the person I'm with, my optimism is high. I am more efficient and more on point.

Humility:

I am not an expert. I enjoy listening to others share their knowledge, regardless of their level of experience. I try to listen to bowhunters' successes and failures. It only makes me a better bowhunter. I can think of three specific conversations that I had with my friend Kent that led to success for me on two occassions. I applied two tips on one instance. His experience and willingness to share his knowledge, played out for me. I recently passed on Kent's experience with snort wheezing to a good friend, and he applied that to a decoying scenerio and was able to get a buck into bow range. I later applied the snort wheeze technique to my set up which led to my 2016 buck coming in for a fight.

I have found that I always struggle hunting with people that have to be right or have no faith or confidence in your ability. Honestly, I have been on both sides of this coin. What ultimately happens is a whole lot of struggle. Over the years, I have found that when I've been "that guy"...a dash of humility would have been a better ingredient.

I learn from my peers. Many of my best hunting partners are guys that fail a lot...but are not failures. I know people that are self proclaimed trophy hunters that never kill anything...failures in the field. I know guys that are humble as dirt that kill trophies at will...but it takes them many attempts. I know who I listen to when the topic of hunting comes up.

2013: Matt Dorram with the giant prairie buck. We worked on this buck.
The hunt evolved by the minute. We talked each other through it.
It ultimately led to a 40 yard shot. This buck was with a doe.
A smaller buck was making it difficult to get this deer in bow range.
Click Pic To Enlarge


The Dance:

I am not sure this is the greatest analogy, but here it goes. We've all been to wedding dances when a couple gets on the dance floor and they seem like they are floating on air. They own the floor and it's obvious. I like to think that I can lead...or be lead at any point during a hunt. When I have been forced to lead...or force to follow I've become the hero or the goat. Not the "greatest of all time" kind of goat. I personally don't want to be the hero or the goat. A natural flow of responsibility on a hunt has always been more satisfying and fulfilling for me. There are times when I will be on fire...and times I am as cold as ice. I know when I'm in the zone and I know when I don't have it. It seems to me that when I've been a part of a natural exchange of philosophy more things go right.

2010: Kent holding the decoy as this buck postured in. Cut milo field.
Shot this buck at 17 yards and closing.
Single best H.U.D moment to date. Been hunting like this since.
Click Pic To Enlarge

My best hunting partners seem to have a great deal of self control or awareness. Stumbling and bumbling through the woods has not worked with me. A good idea or plan that both parties buy into...whether right or wrong has worked well for me. My best partners try to find success in failure. By that, no one gets saddled with blame and we can check a hunting spot or technique off the list and move on.

My picks:

The guys I work best with are guys that are ethical. Guys that have confidence in me. Guys that I have confidenc in. It always helps when they are experienced. I enjoy those that have a degree of humility. Not afraid to take the lead or the backseat. Guys that share both in success and in failure. When you screw up they let you live it down...but every once in a while bring it up to give you the business.

Heads Up Decoy and Partners

One of the things I appreciate about Heads Up Decoy is how enjoyable the product is to use when you have a partner. Many of my greatest moments with Heads Up Decoy have been with a partner. I am more aggressive and less conservative.

2015: Charging Buck. My friend Kent running the decoy as his hired hand was the shooter.
The wind was blowing about 30 mph. Miserable conditions, but we were able to get a shot.
We worked for this chance. Click Pic To Enlarge.

When I am with a partner, I have played many roles: the shooter, the guy running the decoy, or observing a guy going solo. I find it very satisfying helping someone tag out. My best bow hunting partners feel the same.

2013: Good friend David Gillan. We've killed some animals together.
Turkeys, deer, and now elk.
David is optimistic and positive. Spring Turkey.
David shot this bird at 5 yards. Click Pic To Enlarge.


When there are two people that are accomplished, humble, and confident...animals die. Heads Up Decoy is deadly when there are two people working together. Bowhunting is about making memerois as much as anything. Having someone to experience a hunt with Heads Up Decoy helps keep the memories alive and furthers the bowhunting bond.



If you find yourself hunting with a partner, Heads Up Decoy has a product for you that can improve your results and create moments in the field that you won't believe until you experience it.

2016: Holding the decoy as my friend Nathan whizzed the arrow by my ear.
This is a screen capture of the arrow going passed me.
This buck is at 20 yards. Made eye contact with him before
I could get the decoy up. He was locked down with a doe.
Came posturing in from over 100 yards away.
Click Pic To Enlarge.

2012: Matt and Lucas Palmquist with 2 great mulies they shot in the same field
approximately 30 minutes apart. Both bucks were inside of 20 yards when the arrow made impact.
Click Pic To Enlarge.

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