After a miss on a turkey during the first few days of my 2020 turkey season I needed something to help keep birds in range. I needed a decoy, but one that I could pack in on public lands. I wanted something that wouldn’t get me accidentally shot by another hunter while I was wearing full camo nearby. So it had to be light, had to be a hen, and had to be packable. I was hiking in three miles from the truck, and hanging a full sized turkey from my back seemed like a nonstarter in the dark.
Shopping around I settled on the HS Strut Strut-Lite hen decoy. It was light, as the name implies. The whole setup, which includes a two piece metal stake, and the 3D decoy itself weighs only 15.5oz (441g) on my kitchen scale. The decoy is fairly realistic in terms of coloring and texture to the point where I had several hens feed up to it last season without issue.
You can buy the decoy directly from the HS Strut website, or generally a little cheaper on Amazon for right around the $30 mark. It’s not so expensive as to break the bank, and you get a lot of bang for your buck at the price point. HS Strut also offers combination packs like the Strut-Lite Hen and Jake Turkey Decoy Combo which contains both a hen and jake decoy for about $70.
Packing this deke in a backpack I flatten the decoy body and then roll it up some the same way that it was packaged from the factory. Unfortunately there is some amount of memory in the rubberized decoy so unless it has some time to warm up a little the hen may be a little misshapen on it’s post.
If you want to bring the decoy back to life a little bit, run over it with a hair dryer on medium heat and it will make the rubber pliable enough to form back into a vaguely turkey-like shape. Placing the deke in direct sun achieves the same effect if you’re in the field. Honestly I found it not to matter much to the turkeys, the neck was always the last thing to spring back to shape.
Searching around online I’ve found a couple people used expanding foam in the body of the decoy. This helps it retain it’s shape but it doesn’t help me with packability. I might be able to meet half way, expanding an air pocket from the center of the decoy is why inflatable dekes even exist. I think for a small investment of a dollar store beach ball I can make the hen decoy a little more true to form.
Overall this is a cheap lifelike decoy from a company that’s been in the business of making turkey calls, decoys, and other assorted accessories for decades. This was an easy choice for me to add to my gear. It’s not without it’s downsides though, Prolonged storage either in your garage or bag will wear on it and cause some amount of memory on the rubber body. In high wind the turkey will pirouette around aimlessly on its single post.
With the amount of rolling, stuffing, and packing I do with this decoy none of the paint has chipped or flaked off. I think that’s very much a positive here given the amount of abuse it’s seen in the field. While as simple as a silhouette of a turkey and a metal stick, this decoy does it’s job in the field.
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