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Putting a gobbler to bed doesn't guarantee success the next morning (you won't even be able to do it every night), but it does give you a leg up on your feathered and camouflaged competition the next morning

Roosting is especially worthwhile if the weather turns sour over night, you are hunting in the part of the breeding season when hens are with gobblers or if you hunt a popular area where getting to a gobbler first is important.


If you have found some consistent roosting areas on your pre-season scouting trips, be near one an hour before sunset. 

If you haven't scouted, slip onto a high ridge where you can hear all around. 

Wear camouflage, move quietly and avoid the temptation to use hen calls if hunting is not allowed in the afternoon.  I prefer to stay on logging trails and out of the brush. 

You don't want to spook turkeys that you plan on hunting the next morning.  Turkeys will go to roost within a few minutes of sundown, earlier on dark, overcast days. 

Listen for wing flapping, occasional cackles or clucks of hens as they fly up and settle down.  The wing beats of a turkey going to roost are a subtle sound many novices miss, but you can learn it if you stand quietly and listen carefully.  

With experience you can sometimes distinguish the heavy flapping of a gobbler from the lighter sounds produced by hens. 

You can use these sounds to tell if turkeys are in an area even if a gobbler refuses to sound off.  If hens are around, a gobbler will be near by.


After 10 minutes or so of settling down, the gobbler may gobble on his own to tell hens where he will be in the morning. 

If he doesn't gobble, try to Make Him Gobble with a locator call

I prefer the natural sound of a barred owl, coyote howl and gobble, but you can try any of the locator sounds if these don't work. 

If a gobbler responds but is not close, you can keep him gobbling by hooting with an Owl Locator Call every 2 or 3 minutes as you move toward him.  If you call more often, he may quit responding.


Ideally you want to get close enough to pinpoint his tree.

If you know the terrain, you can decide where to set up in the morning. 

Choose a level spot on or about the same contour as the gobbler, preferably between him and a good Strut Zone

Don't believe that turkeys can't be called downhill or across water.   Where ridgetops are narrow or brushy, toms and hens may go to bottoms to strut and mate, particularly if there are open fields there. 

If you have detected this pattern, during your scouting, set up below the gobbler.


If you end up closer than 200 yards from the tom on roost, sit quietly until dark and slip out cautiously. 

If you are not on a trail that you can find easily in the dark the next morning, mark your path with bits of tissue stuck on branches or with surveyors' marking tape. 

Be in position one hour before sunrise the next morning for best results.


Subjects in the Secrets Library
About Turkeys
Spring Hunting Tactics
Fall Hunting Tactics
Camouflage & Concealment
Turkey Calls & Calling
Check List & Misc.
Bow Hunting Tactics
Safety & Ethics
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