By Steve Hickoff
Let’s call these The Big Three: location, decoys and calling. A hunting emphasis with one is likely, and all, well maybe.
Your Yamaha ATV & Side-by-Side will help you find locations during scouting runs. This includes deer, ducks, geese and even fall turkeys. Factor in elk, antelope, moose and whatever other big-game species you favor too.
Location, as they say in the real estate wars, is everything.
Okay, you’ve found a place the species you want to hunt tend to favor—at least in that specific time period. It’ll change, often with shifting food (or water) sources. Scouting effort matters.
Your four wheels will also help you haul decoys to that location. With ducks and geese, moving a huge spread in and out of spots is often essential. Unless you lease the flooded timber or dry field you hunt (and even then) you’ll need to get those fakes in and out again with relative ease and effort.
Decoys are never more important in waterfowl hunting. Next to location, they rule. Sure, you can kill wood ducks along a river where overhanging oaks plop acorns onto those stream banks, and do it without decoys. That’s called being where they want to be. In other locations, you may need to pull sky-bound birds down to you—even if they were moving to somewhere else.
While decoys are used in certain bowhunting circles, whitetail fakes surely aren’t on everyone’s radar. That’s true for fall turkey hunting as well. Though decoys are trending big these days for spring gobbler hunting, in either-sex autumn bird locations, some tend to leave dekes in storage until next year.
Do you sit on watering holes for antelope? You might crouch behind a pronghorn fake. Or not.
Want to start a good camp discussion this fall? Debate how important calling is to pulling your game of choice into range.
Some might argue that location and decoy spreads are more important in waterfowl hunting than calling. Others might say calling wild turkeys into range ranks over decoy use. While many a hunter has grunted and rattled up bucks, others ignore the option.
How would we rank The Big Three when all is said and done? It depends on the quarry you’re after. Surely you can’t hunt game where you don’t find it, so location rules. Then again, you can pull passing ducks and geese into a well-set spread of decoys, even if they hadn’t been there the day before.
Consider all three as you hatch your hunt plan. And don’t forget your four Yamaha wheels.