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How to Hunt Turkeys: Setting up for Roosted Birds

Posted by Dirk Durham on
How to Hunt Turkeys: Setting up for Roosted Birds

Turkey hunters often talk about "roosting a bird".  This is done by going out in the evening to listen for turkeys flying up to roost, and the Toms (male turkeys) will gobble (vocalize) as darkness sets in. By witnessing this it will confirm where to go in the morning to set up in hopes of catching the birds flying down.  

Setting up and enticing the Tom towards you with "soft calls", and "tree calls", or maybe just quietly setting up in the right zone to catch the turkeys unaware on the ground as they start their day, are typical scenarios. 

The Night Before
The minute you hear that first evening gobble, work your way in as fast as you can. Remain undetected by staying hidden and do your best to get within 70 yards or closer, but not less than 50 yards if possible. Take your hat or even your hand and slap your pants hard like a hen might sound taking off in flight. Then wait a few minutes before making some sweet hen sounds ( light yelping and soft calls). When the Tom responds, answer his gobbles! Talk a bit, let him know you are interested and be ready to argue with any boss hen if she gets nasty with you. Dominate her if possible, but just let that Tom know you are very interested! Then slowly back off and slip out of there after marking that zone and taking note of any good set up areas for the morning.
The Next Morning
The early bird catches the worm! You gotta get in there early, set up, and get comfortable, patiently waiting till the gobbling has been going on for a while.
Start your vocalizations with soft tree calling (look it up!). He might not answer you immediately, but rest assured he will. DO NOT not over do it with your calling, just answer him now and then so as to slowly build up as the morning light grows.
When it's light enough (light enough to see a coyote on the ground at 50 yards like a turkey would want), and before those turkeys start to fly down, do some aggressive calling, then a bunch of nervous putting, and then slap your pants hard repeatedly again, and suddenly go silent for a couple seconds. Then immediately rustle a bunch of leaves if possible to mimic a landing! Now wait 2 or 3 minutes and start yelping like a boss hen needing attention! Now be sure to NOT answer his gobbles if possible, make him answer you! 
It won't be long till he pitches down to the hot hen on the ground that you've presented him with, as she'll be getting attention from all the other gobblers. 
Once he's on the ground get into a long yelping sequence even if he is gobbling his head off as you are doing it. Then SHUT UP, and get down on your shotgun sights! He's almost in range.......
Author- John Weik, Northwest Spur Chasers

You can see an example of the morning sequence at Northwest Spur Chasers on YouTube titled, "John's Decoy gets the Smack Down". where I walked in on a roost that was 50 yards in front of me.

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