With a hen decoy, a mouth call, and his bow, upstate New York outfitter Chris Davanzo (fandfoutfitters.com) has stuck a pile of longbeards without a ground blind. To draw and shoot undetected, he sets up in a triangle formation. Here’s how he does it.
1. Ping a Roost
Before the hunt, Davanzo locates a tom on the roost with an owl call. He selects a spot to set up that is 80 to 100 yards from the bird and has the perfect mix of cover. “Find a good tree to sit against that also has a deadfall, root ball, or wide tree trunk just in front of it to shield you as you draw the bow.”
2. Stake Out
Before first light, Davanzo stakes a hen decoy 10 yards to the right or left of his hide and 20 yards behind, in relation to the roost. A bird’s-eye view of the setup looks like a scalene triangle, with the roost, the hunter, and the decoy as the triangle’s three points.
3. Call Him Back
When the tom flies down, Davanzo starts with soft clucks and purrs to get its attention. “Call enough to keep him interested, but not so much that he’ll pinpoint your position,” he says. When the tom sees the decoy, quit calling unless he starts to walk off.
4. Duck and Draw
A hot gobbler will head straight to the decoy—and right past you. Once the bird is behind the tree concealing you, draw your bow. “If he spins away from you while strutting, that’s another good time to draw,” says Davanzo.