One problem with hen decoys is that they stand as still as a statue for hours. This spooks wary toms because real hens are almost always moving. The only time they stand still is when they they are on high alert looking for a suspected threat and then they’re about to scram. So a motionless decoy is not inviting or realistic to a mature tom. Toms often hang up out of range, then walk away. As well, if you call to the hung up tom, he can pinpoint the exact location of the call and see there is no hen there – just a bogus looking hen statue 30 yards away. Jakes and inexperienced 2 year olds some times fall for this set up but mature long beards will often skirt around it out of range.
A push pin pox call and 40 yards of fishing line is a cool way to add realistic movement to your decoy and make the call come from the decoy itself. As pictured, loop a short piece of line through 2 small holes drilled in the box call and around the stake of the decoy. The higher up the stake you attach it, the more the decoy will move. Experiment with your decoy to get the right height for realistic movement. Then figure out a method to keep the loop at that height. There are so many different kinds of stakes I can’t cover them all. Some can be drilled others taped or notched.
Then tie 40 yards of line to a small hole drilled in the push pin. This hole is in the opposite end of the pin compared to where you would put your finger to push the call, because now you are pulling the pin with the line to make it work rather than pushing it. When the fishing line is tugged from your set up 30 to 40 yards away, the the box call will cluck and the decoy will move a little. With a bobbled head hen decoy, the movement is very realistic. It’s possible to cluck and purr on the call with very little hand movement and your hand can be kept down at the ground behind your leg to hide the movement.
Braided fishing line has no stretch and gives a more precise feel and sharper sound than monofilament line. Use an old closed face spinning reel to keep the fishing line on and just reel it in as you walk toward the decoy after you tag your tom. If you don’t have an old reel just wind the line around a small piece of wood or an old spool. Leave the call attached to the line permanently so you don’t have to fumble with it in the dark or if a tom surprises you by gobbling nearby and you have to set up quickly and quietly. Just put the decoy stake through the loop before you push the stake into the ground.
With this set up I often set up the decoy and push pin call and give a few clucks with it in case there is a tom nearby. If not then I call louder with to my pot and peg or box call until I get an answer then switch back to the push pin box call once a tom answers. A few clucks will keep him coming and he will be focused on the decoy rather than my location.
This is an excellent set up for bow hunters who need the tom to focussed on the decoy so they can draw the bow. Face the hen decoy away from you because the tom will approach it from behind and looking away from you.