Contributors to this thread:
How close to birds on the roost?
How close is too close to setting up on birds on the roost? I bumped birds twice this past weekend- once was a mistake where we ended up right underneath them (that's too close)! But, the other time I thought we were pretty quiet and I'd guess we were 40-50 yards from them. Looking at it in hindsight, I'd think we set up just perfectly. However, it was pretty clear the birds knew something wasn't right and didn't like us there.
So... how close is too close?
I wouldn't set up any closer than 100 yards....I think they would be too suspicious of anything inside that.
Under certain conditions such as sparse piney woods and lots of Illumination from the moon 500 yards maybe to close. A hundred yards may be better than fifty once you try to call. Normally 100-150 to me ideal.
50 is dang close! 500 would be out of their wheelhouse in my opinion if trying to kill them right off the roost. 80 - 100 would be good and start out with soft tree yelps. Don't be too loud until they start talking to you. If they have hens I mimic the hen to tick her off. I've shot a bunch following a ticked off hen.
Lee, you are right about the 500 but under certain conditions I would wait for them to fly before risking bumping them.
Its more about being set up where they will fly down. Whatever that distance is. I firmly belive closer is better if you can quietly get there. If you get in under a hundred yards let him know a hen is there and shut up. Calling too much is worse than calling none at all
Trick question (well not really). I go more with the "what are they going to do after they fly down"? I try a pattern the birds and set up where I can see them fly down. With patterning hopefully they will come to my call a walk past. 200 yards is OK if you can see them and they can see the decoys. I have found that eventually curiosity gets the best of them. I feel a lot better NOT getting a bird then scaring them off the roost when trying to get close.
It is dependent on a couple of factors two of which are sight and sound. If they can see you it is over, if they hear you, and you sound suspicious, it is going to be real tough.
As close as you can get to where they are going to land or go after landing without them hearing or seeing you is the simple answer. Assuming you know which tree they are in! Ha!
I never would get any closer than a couple hundred yards from the main roosting area where I hunt. I would usually take two pop-ups with me and set one up middle of the afternoon where I wanted to be the next morning. That way I could walk into the set-up silently and be ready for fly down time. That blind stayed until the last morning hunt unless I tagged out first.
Every situation is different. It all depends on variables like terrain features, amount of foiliage, past hunting pressure, etc...but one thing is for sure, one step too close and the game is over. I like to get in as close as I can, but I always try to make that decision ahead of time. I've had hunts go bad from 200 yards and go good from 20 yards and vice versa. I would always advise making a game plan and adjust accordingly but plan on the conservative side.
I hunt a lot of highly pressured public ground in the northeast. I try to be within sight and where I think the bird will land. IF you are not there it is likely another hunter will kill or spook him before you can move in. I spend a lot of time scouting and in season roosting. IF you know where a bird is roosted you can move in tight under cover of darkness. DRY leaves and moonlight make it more difficult but keeping a low profile and staying in the shadows will get you there.
When shotgunning I've slipped into 30-50 yards and killed them. 100 yards is as close as I want to be with my bow if I need to set my blind up. If my blind was already set and I know birds are there I don't care if they are crapping on top of it. :)
It's like casting a jig around brush for crappie, The difference between perfect and too close is always minuscule. The earlier you get in, the better. Figure out where they're going and set-up on that side. Swamp...we wouldn't have much fun hunting together. I like to call, and sometimes a lot, especially if I can get a hen on the roost fired up. Scoot, don't over think it.
drycreek I like that plan. Think I will steal it and use it this weekend. Got 2 blinds and camping gear in the truck and been contemplating how I was going to set up this weekend. Im going to go with your suggestion.
depends on what time you get there. Go early! then you can get real close. if there are any regular birds chirping then don't get too close, you are too late and the turkeys are also awake!
First spring turkey I got, I was sitting right under the tree, they pitched off a ways and a nice Jake came back to my decoys. One thing I've read is they don't like to fly into the Sun, so set up west of the roost and set up on an opening where they can land. I have to drive so far to hunt I never make it out for the fly down normally so I just try to set up in travel corridors.
As stated, many variables to account for. For me, some of those variables include cloud cover and moon phase, terrain, and foliage. That being said, I like the sweet spot of about 150 yards if I'm going to try to kill one "off the roost" as it gives you a little buffer for a pitch down that might not be exactly in your direction.
I am like swamp too. I call very minimally when bowhunting. Its funny how we all have our own styles.
Thank you all for your input! The tom I was specifically asking about decided he wanted to be in a different location this morning, so maybe my questions/concerns won't matter anyway. However, it's good info to have for sure.
It's interesting-- most people are giving an answer that is a fair bit farther than I would have anticipated. I hear what everyone is saying regarding "it depends" and the variables that factor into that. However, I assumed people were trying really hard to get in to about 50 yards most of the time. The spot I was looking at gave me two good options-- one was about 50 or 60 yards and one was about 150 yards. I'd have to call him across a pasture for the 150 yard spot and he'd land almost right in our lap at the 50 yard spot. I'll look closer and see if I can relocate that bird. However, he wasn't on the property I can hunt this morning. I think there wasn't a single turkey there this morning, which is kinda weird for this time of year.
MN turkey opener is next Wed and I'm hoping to have a bird located on the roost Tues night. I really want to get my little girl in a good spot Wed morning. She may be late for school Wed, but that's ok- a kid can learn a lot in the woods, while spending time with her dad too. In fact, the woods can make an excellent classroom, so I don't feel bad about it one bit.
Bowfreak,..if I couldn't call a lot (by my standards) I wouldn't go. Most of the really great turkey hunters I've been with call a lot. Years ago I was doing a story on a past governor trying to get the current governor her first turkey. Old Gov was a yelp three times, cluck twice softly on a wingbone every 45 minutes. In the last hour, of the last day, he gave me the green light and I got aggressive with a box call. She tagged her first bird within 20 minutes. I don't think it was the one she was aiming at, but she got it because of aggressive calling. :-) It's the gobble that makes the spring season special...though I'm relying more and more on the male to male contact from a good jake decoy for the fun. Have fun Scoot....like that's going to be a problem.
I'm with you writer. Spring turkey hunting is all about the calling and communicating with your intended target. The more calling and the more gobbling that takes place on a hunt the happier I am. There is a method of "taking the birds temperature", so yes soft calling has its place, but giddy up and let her rip is the style I prefer and have been very successful with in the past!
As an old man in Mississippi once said, ..."God's three greatest gifts to man are beautiful women, smooth whiskey and two-year-old turkeys." The older I get, the more I prefer the latter to the other two. Something about five two-year-olds, coming in together, gobbling at every cluck, putt, yelp, purr, cackle, fart, sneeze, cough,....just makes me smile.
I was just in Nebraska. I located several toms and jakes in big group. For 3 days I setup the safe 100 or so yards away and had no luck. On the last morning I snuck in, in the dark and set my blind about 40 yards from the roost in a pature. I set out a tom and jake. With in an hour I had the three biggest toms come doing the mean shoulder walk into the decoys and I shot the biggest ! Writer I like you love to call a lot and did a bunch of gobbler yelps and jake toots to get their attention !!
To each his own. To me....Turkey hunting is about killing them. I will leave calls at the house if that is what it takes to kill them. In the 20+ years I have been hunting turkeys in my county I have noticed a huge change in how they react to calling. In 1995 I called a lot. Now...Not much. Birds are not near as vocal now as they were. I'm not sure if it's predators or pressure or a combination of both.
When I gun hunted I called a lot and covered a lot of ground. I would tag out in a few days and in the process burn out a large piece of ground due to my movement and aggressive calling. Now I move very little and let birds come to me. Birds don't really even notice they are hunted and you can shoot numerous gobblers off small pieces of land like that.
I have used the same tactics for years here in Iowa Bowfreak, killing numerous gobblers on even my larger properties. I just get aggressive in my calling when the bird dictates it and don't run and gun the property.
38th season, seeing no change, coast to coast turkeys are turkeys Habitat in which they live, time of breeding season has more to do than anythings I've seen. Hunting pressure can have an impact, too. But it's the people, not the calling, that impacts the birds.
"time of breeding season has more to do than anythings I've seen"
+1 writer, matters more than anything else IMO.
Killed a nice 20 pounder this am in Kansas. Got about 70 yards from the roost set up blind and dekes and waitedl They began to gobble and I waited for the first gobble on the ground and then lit them up. The tom and 3 big jakes came out into the field gobbling and and looking. When they saw the dekes it was a race to c who get arrive first. Shot the tom at 10 yards with a 100 gtain bullhead. DRT. I agree writer this is my 75th Turkey. I hunt from Texas to Michigan and Montana to Georgia !
The states that open early have a big advantage. Try NY when it opens May 1st. It makes for tough hunting. I normally try and pattern them a bit to find which way they head when they fly down. If I have that figured out I set up at least 100 yards but a lot depends on how easy you can get in without letting the birds know you are there. Real early is better as they may still be tucked in. I agree do not over think it, turkeys are pretty much dumb as a box of rocks. Scooby
"Hi, my name is Chris and I am a call-oholic. I can't stop calling and when I do I get the worst case of ct's and turkeys don't come in. They sit on a knoll death gobbling for me to call. I can't help it I always resort to hitting the raspy reed mixed with a cold dry slate until my jake decoy feels the abuse. The only thing that cures my calling problem is a short period of celebrating a kill followed by a ritual ice cream scoop before the next hunt, which calls for more calling. Yes I am a call-oholic."
I can remember always trying to chase the roost trees and setting up within the magical 100 yard mark. Once I quit doing that and concentrated on the areas I was consistently seeing birds after fly down, I started killing turks. Now when I set up, I don't even care if I hear a bird close to my blind if I have confidence in my location. The magic time is after 9 am when those hens leave the toms. I know so many guys in my area who don't have the patience to sit it out and wait for those easy, silent toms to come in. If they aren't hearing gobbling, they can't stand it and have to move and spook birds or leave for the morning.
Bowfreak and I hunt alike. Small farms and aggressive calling has never gained me anything. After the fly down and no birds in sight or hearing gobbles, I stay put, call every 15 minutes and eventually a wandering tom fires up or comes in to investigate silently. Kill the tom, stash him in the shade and wait for the next one if I still have a tag.
As a matter of gamesmanship I do limit my calling. I like playing the shy soft hen most of the time but will crank it up if a sense a bonafide hang up but only to shy down again.A gobbler will need a good job and nice car to stroll my back
Once you can hear them you are close enough. set up do some clucking hen calls , not too may just a few good cut like hey I am over here then shut up and wait. this has been workin for me now for at least the last ten years1
Cluck, cluck, yelp and wait. Man, sounds like a funeral! I like to light them up! It's a party in my decoys and all tom's are invited. I have the sluttiest hens in the county, come on over:)