Contributors to this thread:
When roosting a bird do you guys call them to your location at last light and try to watch them fly up then sneak out and return early? Or do you simply go to their roosting area and try and watch them fly up without any calling? Any other advice on roosting a bird is also welcome. Thanks Archer 0880
I try to kill them before they roost. Why would you just go watch them roost? If they get by without getting a shot and fly up, come back in the morning.
Quit time is sundown. When in large forested areas, I hang out in woods waiting hear gobbles after quit time, as many times where I hunt turkeys don't gobble until in tress. Yes, I may walk and call a little after quit time trying to get one to gobble in the tree. When found, I sneak in close to determine exact tree birds are in. If possible, I set up blind at that time. If not, I come back real early and set up.
Not sure where BA0880 is at, but here in IL, we can only hunt until 1:00 PM. Therefore, can only watch them fly up in the evening Iran attempt to be close in the morning.
To answer the OP question, I tend to be passive in the evening and wait for them to let me know where they are so they are in their natural pattern. I am leary of them getting too close if I call and then busting them trying to sneak out. I guess this is because I'm too impatient after they fly up to completely wait them out until the coast is clear.
I'm in Northeast Ohio. Can only hunt till noon starting May 1st all day. This area is all woods. The closest field several hundred yards away and I do not have permission. Trying to get one prior to reaching the field. They seem to travel the same direction "towards the field" but not in a small enough area to ambush. At least I haven't setup in the right spot yet. The roost area has "many trees" the can choose and they seem to change it up often. They fly down towards several different opening "small" to strut prior to heading for the field. I can't seem to get this location right either. LOL. Thinking about going tonight and trying to get one to roost close to the blind for in the morning?
"Quit time is sundown."
Our birds typically roost before then. This photo was taken 3 minutes after sundown. We were waiting for the stragglers to fly up, and dark enough to pick up the dekes and sneak out.
"...but here in IL, we can only hunt until 1:00 PM."
Bummer. I didn't know that. Sounds like a good reason to move. ;-)
I haven't found that they are very spooky after fly up anyway, unless you get very close to the roost. I'm sure they can see us leave every night, but we hunt this same location morning and afternoon about 100 yards from the roost until we both kill. Usually that takes less than a week. We are more careful to arrive while still completely dark, but not leaving at night.
In my experience, they don't respond much to calling late in the day. They know it's almost roost time, and that's what they have on their mind. They are not expecting mating activity then, so it's difficult to try to call them to you. They may go to their favorite roost tree, or just choose one that's close by wherever they end up late in the day, so there can be some randomness to it.
My main strategy for roosting birds is to listen. If conditions are fairly calm, when they fly up you can hear their wings flap for a good distance. They often gobble once they get on the limb. As Ziek said they will often stay on their limb even if they can see you pass by, as long as you don't encroach too close.
Many times they don't gobble at all in evening. Usually that gets better as the weather stabilizes as spring goes on. But yes I have done both called to them to get them to gobble and/or just waited to see if they gobble on their own. When I do call I sometimes cackle like a hen flying up to the roost, if that doesn't work then I will wait until last light and owl hoot a couple of time to se if that gets a response. I have had success with both methods.
We like to get into an area and listen for bird walking to the roost. Here in PA/VA/MD they often will gobble as they head to the tree. If the birds aren't talking we will call and try to get a response. We do this late so the bird does not try to come to us. Last night we walked out a trail in a new area we have not hunted before. We walked out this trail and waited till just before dark and heard nothing. My buggy gave a few tree calls and this bird sounded off maybe 75 yards away. He high tailed it out of there before he could spot us. My buddy went back first this this morning and bagged that bird. I have often used one of those hand horns from the road to illicit responses late evening and even at dark.
I just honk my horn to get a response. ;) If that doesn't work I slam the door on the truck.
Is bad as this sounds, I don't need to kill a turkey that bad to hunt them in the evenings prior to flyup. I also have no interest in ambushing them.
I want them gobbling hard, coming to me. I've never had that happen in the evening and after several years of evening setups, I'd just assume prepare for the next day.
Caz I agree. I have ambushed many turkeys and anymore I want the show or nothing. Calling them off the roost at first light can work pretty good though.
I love having them put on a show coming in.....Just seems like these birds are not willing....LOL. I have tried lots of different setups and want to make sure I am not missing anything. I might have to really try my patience and wait them out till they get lonely....LOL
"I want them gobbling hard, coming to me. I've never had that happen in the evening..."
Caz, I don't know what you're doing wrong. ;-) While I will ambush them if that's what I'm presented, I regularly call them as they approach the roost . This photo was taken in our normal spot about 100 yards from the roost at about 7:15 PM. I have many other similar photos. They often come in to that meadow and feed, strut, and put on a show before wandering down to the roost. I also sometimes, just take pictures and enjoy the show, as I did that evening. I came back in the morning and killed one.
If you can hunt until sunset, great. I've encountered toms gobbling late arternoon, but the last hour or so not so much, but have had them strutting while following hens. I used to go out the evening before my hunting season starts to try and listen for gobbling on the roost or try to elicit a gobble, but many times the entire valley would be quiet, but the next morning several toms would be gobbling. Roosting a Tom in the evening is overrated IMO. I like to pattern toms based on their morning activity.
I don't hunt in the evening normally. In my experience it has been pretty much a waste. If I am out in the evening I am normally just listening and watching.
It's legal to hunt until sundown in a couple states where I hunt. I've set up decoys close to roosts. Unlike others I've spooked quite a few turkeys off their roosting trees while picking up my decoys. A couple times they headed to the adjoining property so it was a bum deal. I've heard of people spooking turkeys off roosts on purpose in hopes the following morning they search, call, and rejoin their buddies. I'm not sure if I agree with that scenario but it kindof makes sense.
Hard to say. I'm referring to birds in KS vs. Mountain birds. Difference?
A couple hours prior to fly up I've seen them all puffed up etc, but seeing them 1 hour or less prior, seems they are on a mission to get to the place they want to roost. They're still displaying, but seem mute to decoys set,and or calls, but same birds next morning are ready to play.
Maybe you just have one of those spots. I have an elk waterhole that is about 100 percent in the AM vs. Evening which goes against the grain.
We can only hunt til noon in NY. I usually wait til a bit after dark and go close to known roosting areas and slam the truck door or even owl hoot. In my area they shock gobble pretty easy, so any loud noise would do. I pattern birds to kill them so rarely if ever roost a bird and do very little calling as well. Shawn
I've killed my 2 biggest birds in the evening. One was vocal one slipped in silent and full strut after I had been calling periodically for about an hour.
This guy came in about 45 minutes before sunset gobbling and strutting for almost a 1/2 hour just out of bow range before he moved back to the area where he usually roosts. Not sure what he didn't like about the set-up but I did shoot at one in the same location 3 days before and shaved some feathers off.
Maybe this is him???
Here in South Central Ks. I like to drive around to the woodlots I hunt and either owl hoot or let out a few yelps to find them. They gobble like crazy on the roost in the evenings. I don't have to get near enough to them to spook them. Usually can hear them from the road. They will gobble when it's completely dark. I do this several evenings a week and it answers a lot of questions.