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Light, noise, and roosted birds
So what do the experts says about the tolerance level of roosted turkeys to lights and noise? Say 30-40 minutes before sunrise?
I’ve gotten to the point I have time a lot of evenings to roost birds for a morning hunt. I like to go in in the pitch dark without a light and set up a blind as close as I dare. I’m afraid to test my theory that a light headlamp used sporadically won’t spook them if it’s dark dark
In the past I’ve turned a light on for a split second is needed, like a lightning flash
Same thing with noise, I can’t set up my blind too quietly. But it seems I can get away with some noise at 50+ yards
What do the turkey killers think?
Depends on the night, if it’s dead calm obviously you can’t get away with as much as if it’s windy. I use a very, very dim red headlamp and it doesn’t seem to spook them too bad. I keep it strictly pointed at the ground to see where I’m going.
If you do some scouting and know where the birds like to roost i would set up the blind before hunting it. Then on your morning hunt get in plenty early and clear your walk in of debris and leaves. If you make light noises you can be passed off as some critter, or best if the birds are still sleeping. Nothing like being undetected and so close to the roost. I would advise against a light, and don't much care for a full moon either.
I’ve definitely scared birds off in the pitch dark by getting too close/ using a light.
The birds I hunt run for the hills if they see or hear anything out of the ordinary off the roost. A blind set up in the middle of an open field has never worked for me. The longer a blind sits in an area and birds get acclimated to it...the better. In fact, I have 5 blinds I bought when I first started turkey hunting and have only shot turkeys out of 1 of them....1 time! I don't even bring them along any more! My preference is not to use a blind.
If you have to use a light possibly try a red light?
Try this as I did just last week. Get near the roost area but not too close. Watch and wait for the birds to fly down and leave the area. Sneek in and set up the blind and decoys and starting calling with hen yelps like a hen that is looking for the other hens. Lost hen calls. I had a tom come back twice and I killed him at 9 am.
Then last year. I knew there was a tom in the small wood lot next to the creek but did not know now far in. I crossed the field 200 yards, set up the blind and decoys at the woods edge, in the dark. I called at first shoot-able light, the tom gobbles less than 75 yards behind me. I hen yelped. A hen answered and then she flew right over the blind and landed 10 yards beyond the decoys. A few minutes later, something ran right past the blind. It was the tom heading for my jake/hen decoy. I killed him at 15 yards. The sun had not come up yet.
So to answer your question, sometime you can get close and sometimes one might wait and then set up later with the hope of calling the tom back in. Of the 50 toms I have killed at least 45 were shot from a blind and that is here in Colorado, Neb and Kansas.
I prefer to setup my blind the night before. I’ll even go so far as to set the decoys out ahead of time. Having leaves on the trees definitely helps with concealment. I’ll then get up extra early and get into the blind without a light (middle of a field setup).
I did this last weekend and had the blind up at 10:30 PM. I was back in the blind at 5:30 AM and had the flock land and march right into me at 6:35 AM.
I use a ‘green’ light, if I have to use one at all...Moon’s also starting to come back around!