How Important is Roosting?

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How Important is Roosting?

Postby kenturkey89 » January 26th, 2011, 6:37 pm

1Morgan recently added a post asking if tom's didn't gobble would you still hunt them. I saw this same question on last weeks episode of Turkey Thugz on the outdoor channel and on the very same episode they asked some of the hunters, "How important is roosting a turkey". Just as with every other situation, you always get mixed opinions. Some hunters believe it's a necessity and some hunters actually prefer to not roost turkeys. I, personally, like to at least have an idea of where the birds are sleeping the night before I go out in full pursuit. I feel that it gives me better odds and gives me the chance to determine where and how I want to set up on a specific bird(s), and when it comes to any type of hunting, I need every advantage I can get. Most of the birds on my property use similar roosting sites year round, but I'm not a big fan of surprises so I still like to always check and make sure I know where they'll be come sunup. I have a perfect spot on my property in a fence row that I can go and see/hear birds from any direction on my property, and it's out of the way of the birds so I don't risk spooking them. I just like to go out the night before and listen to see if I can see any birds fly up or hear them gobble as they go up to roost. I bought a coyote howler a few weeks ago to do a little coyote hunting and I plan my try my luck with it as a locator call to try and roost a bird with.

My question to you guys is, how important is roosting to you? Do you have any special methods, calls, or techniques that you use that you've had better success with?

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RE: How Important is Roosting?

Postby shaman » January 27th, 2011, 12:37 am

I have to admit that roosting is not a big part of the game for me.  On my 200 acres it's kind of a matter of they're either there. . . or they're over there. . . or . . . well, I guess they're not there.

The turkeys on my place have been roosting in roughly the same places since before I got there.  In fact, I talk to guys who used to hunt there when they were kids and they all talk about the same places. 

"Back there by the big oaks!"  or "Down in the holler there behind the tobacco barns."  "Down on Pity Creek."

The point is that turkeys have been roosting, feeding, and loafing in roughly the same spots for generations-- human and turkey. 

For me, it is not so much a question of where as when.  One of my turkey mentors talked about the 2 of 7 rule.  I lay it all on you and see if it fits:

"If you see a pattern to what them animals do, it'll pro'lly turn out to be that they do it 2 days out of 7."

That's about right.  If I find turkeys roosting in a particular spot on a  particular morning, I can't count on them to be back there the next night.   I can probably figure they'll be there again some time in the next week.  When?  That's the problem. 

Now.  2 out of 7 I've  got them licked.  I have them also licked  2 more days because they seem to want to roost on the opposite side of the same ridge about an equal number of times.  That makes 4 out of 7 for the same spot.    2 out of 7 they're almost sure to be roosting clean off the property somewhere, and I never do find them.    That leave only 1 day out of the week that is up for grabs.   I may find myself  going in for coffee at 9 or I may be into hot action until noon.

The other thing that I have learned not to do is hunt flydown all that aggressively anymore.  I'm no longer expecting to have a gob pitch down off the roost and come right to me.  The majority of my set-ups are now focused on middle-to-late morning. 
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RE: How Important is Roosting?

Postby eggshell » January 27th, 2011, 2:22 am

I seldom roost gobblers, but I admit it is valuable information. Like Shaman stated they are usually in the same relative areas of the farm I hunt, however; it's nice to know more specifically the location. I will at time roost birds and especially when I'm out of State and time is short. With all that said I just don't do it very much. I agree more with Shaman that I have more success later in the morning, but gobbling from the roost has usually guided where I am later in the morning, so I plan to be within ear shot but not necessarily set up right off the roost. I have had many successful morning when I never entered the woods till an hour after daylight or more. Usually this is from relocating, but occasionally I'll just wait to go, especially if it's bad weather.

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RE: How Important is Roosting?

Postby Cut N Run » January 27th, 2011, 2:39 am

Roosting is not as important to me either because sometimes the turkeys roost on a neighboring property that I can't hunt. I can only hope that a gobbler will cruise our property trying to find the hen he is hearing (me!). Places on our lease are so thick that getting near a roost site quietly can be tricky at best. We found that it is better to set up places where the turkeys already like to strut, loaf, or travel and hope we can talk one into range.

Before last year's opening day I went to the lease for a week straight and the turkeys were roosted in the exact same area every night. I didn't roost them the night before opening day because I was busy getting stuff ready at camp. The next morning, those birds were roosted nowhere near where they had been. I still managed to talk one into easy gun range, but if I had gone to their "normal" roosting area planning to get a shot right at flydown, it wouldn't have happened.

If your hunting strategy is based on taking a bird near flydown, then roosting them is critical. If you hunt from a favored area & call the birds to you, then it is less important.

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RE: How Important is Roosting?

Postby Treerooster » January 27th, 2011, 3:53 am

Roosting is pretty important to me.

I hunt several states a year and I am on unfamiliar ground a lot. I never scout the land because the areas I hunt are too far from my home and scouting time would just cost me hunting time. When I am on familiar ground I just use info gathered on previous hunts.

In the Merriams country where I hunt the flock could be in the same area as the day before or they might be a mile or more away.

Some of the public I hunt the birds will go off property to feed and the early morning might be your only chance until late afternoon.

I have hunted some Easterns that just hardly ever gobble at dusk. Several times I have heard birds fly up and just could not get any gobbles. Go their the next morning and there are 2 or 3 birds sounding off. So roosting is pretty futile then. But I have also hunted Easterns that gobble regularly at dusk too.

I have killed a pretty good proportion of my birds right off the roost, especially if I can get set up tight on the gobbler.

To roost I will get to a high point if terrain allows. I use a yote howler when I think the birds are in the trees and I haven't heard anything yet. If I get nothing after trying the howler I move a good ways to see if I can locate one.

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RE: How Important is Roosting?

Postby Gobblerman » January 27th, 2011, 4:34 am

This is a really good topic for discussion.  The opinions stated so far are very valid and applicable to the situations and conditions that each of the individuals hunt under.  Small properties, traditional roost sites, and intimate knowledge of the properties by the hunters all point to a lack of need for roosting gobblers.  On the other hand, there are definitely situations and conditions in many places where using roosting tactics to find birds is a very important component in the success or failure of a hunt. 
I'll use my own situation here in NM as a prime example.  Here, we have hundreds of thousands of acres of public land (National Forest) to hunt.  The turkeys are not evenly distributed in that acreage.  There are large areas that have lots of turkeys,....and there are large areas that have few, if any, turkeys.  Our birds are also very vocal on the roost, both in the evening and morning, and as such are very easy to locate.  Because this is mostly public land, there is no exclusivity in hunting them. 
Our hunt strategy is to go out and cover as much country as we can in the evenings at dusk when the birds gobble on the roost.  It is a given that a lot of gobblers will be heard.  The trick is to determine which birds are in locations that gives the hunter the least likelyhood of other hunter interference, as well as makes them most susceptible in terms of the hunter being able to get a good set-up on them.  Your success or failure depends a great deal on making the right choice in which gobbler(s) you decide to hunt on any given morning. 
Someone who has never hunted here, and who is not familiar with the country and the value of roosting our birds, is at a great disadvantage.  Make a wrong guess on what area to hunt and you may find yourself in a canyon or on a ridge where you are met with dead silence at daylight on a morning, while a couple of miles away, there is so much gobbling going on that it sounds like a turkey farm.  Finding birds to hunt here is as simple as using some basic roosting tactics and locator calls, and covering a little ground.
Here, knowing how effective roosting can be and using it as a primary hunting tool can make all the difference in the world. 

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RE: How Important is Roosting?

Postby kygobbler » January 27th, 2011, 5:28 am

Roosting to me is very important. I have a place that I hunt that is on the edge of the city limits. It's a 20 acre field in a small valley and the property has a stretch woods thats about 40 yds wide and goes across the south side hill. The property has woods around 3 sides of it and a major highway on the east side. The turkeys always roost on the south side hill everyday of the year, except when the winds are blowing hard they will move into the valley close to a cider thicket. Since I have a extremely small place to hunt there roosting is very important. They only use the field to lay thier eggs atleast thats what I think because you will see 3 or 4 hens in different spots and stay there all day long.
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RE: How Important is Roosting?

Postby dewey » January 27th, 2011, 6:09 am

Like a LOT of other folks have already said I don't roost all the time because the turkeys where I hunt all roost in the same general area and I know where to find them do to their pattersn. It also helps that I hunt at my in-laws place and my father in-law is always watching them and then reports back to me on their location/time/direction of travel/hens and toms and anything else he can think of.

However if I were to hunt a new area I would do what Treerooster and Gobblerman said because otherwise you may be very frustrated in that there may not be any birds around you at sun up. I have done a little bit of roosting just to know where they are and where to set up my felleow hunters the following morning but it is not a hard and fast rule I always abide by.

So I guess you could say that sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.

Good topic for discussion.[:D]

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RE: How Important is Roosting?

Postby grizzly » January 27th, 2011, 10:28 am

when i first started hunting it was important to me but i soon learned that just because you roosted them it didn't mean they were going to come to you. like some of the others i hunt the same ground every year so i have a good idea where they're going to be so i pick a good spot and go to calling then move to the place i think they're headed if need be[:)]wayne

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RE: How Important is Roosting?

Postby Bobbyparks » January 27th, 2011, 2:24 pm

Knowing where birds are roosted would alway be preferred but here at home at least it's not that important. I've just not had that much luck roosting birds here. As nice as it might be to know where to be and work in tight on one at daybreak, often I'll at least hear a bird to move in on. Depends on the property.

Like Treerooster said when hunting out west I consider it to be more important.

In one state I hunt Merriams I definitely want to have an idea wgere birds are roosted and It'sbeen much easier for me to locate birds on the roost out
there. Even if I don't get right in on them..I have a good place to start and follow/ move on the birds.

Jim B spoke about what he does and I've seen him in action first hand.
Compared to any place I've hunted, In that terrain it really would help to
know exactly where to start.
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