Hey folks, this is the first installment of a brand-new feature we're bringing you in cooperation with our good friends at Best Turkey Decoy. It will feature text and videos, including the wisdom of turkey hunter and callmaker extraordinaire Dave Constantine. Enjoy!
Hunting Fall Turkeys Starts at the Roost
Similar to a spring hunt, hunting fall turkeys gets easier when you can locate the roost. A consistent roost is your only given in some areas, as the birds might have multiple options where they can feed and water. This constant variable means if you can find the roost, you will be in birds every day.
In the open, flat country of the Dakotas, Kansas or Nebraska, the task is relatively easy, as sometimes the only trees are located in river bottoms or around cattle tanks. Find a good vantage point to spy on a section of land the birds are frequenting, and you can find the roost. For the rest of us, finding that fall flock of gobblers takes a little more work.
Hunting fall turkeys at the roost: Key on water and elevation
After you locate a good group of toms in an area, there are certain terrain features to check out as possible roost sites. The first spots to check are around water. Creeks rivers and ponds will attract turkeys in fall. Look for large clusters of droppings, letting you know the birds sleep above. Scratched areas should not be ignored, as they signal feeding activity, but roost confirmation is not complete until you find the actual clusters of dropping under favorite trees. The second spots to key on are large red and white pine trees about 1/3 of the way down a ridge top. Birds like to roost in these large-limbed pins, and the key is to search groups of trees that are near the top of a steep ridge.They might roost anywhere, but these two terrain features will gather the bulk of the fall flocks.
If you can’t find the roost, your odds of success are going to decrease when hunting bachelor groups of mature toms in fall. The ability to get a strange jake in their face when they are close to "their" roost ups your odds significantly. Unpressured birds will attack a strange jake more than 60 percent of time, and if you are that jake in the roost, you are in the chips.