Yamaha Outdoors Tips — 10 Ways to Play the Turkey Roost
By Steve Hickoff
You know you have at least one or more gobblers to hunt. How? You heard them on the roost at daybreak or dusk – or both. That’s half the challenge. Now hunt them seriously.
Step 1: Fix roosting locations with locator calls or simply by listening to turkeys fly up the night before your hunt.
Step 2: Rise early enough to make your way there in the dark.
Step 3: Close in on the roost, walking quietly — you’ll make some noise later yelping to turkeys on the ground. Don’t move too much. If you call at all, make it a hands-free mouth diaphragm. For added realism, stake a decoy or two near your position and in range (do this in the dark). As turkeys fly down and regroup, a gobbler may move in for a look.
Step 4: Adjust your setup before action begins; quietly, slowly clearing sticks and debris.
Step 5: Get comfortable one more time and don’t move much as you listen to turkeys waking up.
Step 6: Focus your mind right as fly-down time begins — no distractions. (Notice the emphasis on making ready.)
Step 7: Watch or listen as turkeys pitch down. Wait … now call softly as they regroup. Pay attention. Did a legal bird pull into range? If so, take the turkey. If not, let the flock drift.
Step 8: Where did they go? You’ll want to know to set up between the roost and where they hang out all day – assuming afternoon hours are legal in your state. Be there before fly-up time when they stroll back and close the deal. Get in there early enough to avoid detection. Call now and then to get a response from approaching birds.
Step 9: Did you accidentally scare and scatter turkeys while moving in? That’s okay. Relax. If you unintentionally separated a gobbler from the flock, use this to your advantage. Get between this bird and the remaining turkeys — ideally hens he wants to regroup with.
Step 10: Locate turkeys in wilderness country on your Yamaha ATV or Side-by-Side. Camp nearby, not far from the birds you’ve found. Make your morning setup miles from the nearest road. Hunt these gobblers yourself.
Start with Step 1 again if nothing works. Enjoy it. As the saying goes, the journey is the destination.