It’s the evening before opening day and the homework is done. Two toms are roosted next to an oak flat that you’ve been scouting for weeks. Now, how do you insure the turkey vest is 20 pounds heavier in the morning?
Mapping the route.
A good practice after roosting a bird is to head straight for the aerial maps. Shoot for a location within one hundred yards of the bird. Plan your entry route to avoid areas where birds are roosted. Spooking other turkeys on the way in could ruin your chances of packing one out.
Maybe you don’t have the luxury of avoiding a roost area on the way in. The property lines won’t allow a detour. Those toms are roosted on the back fence line. No problem. Just wake up early and take the quietest path you can. The only way to avoid blowing a roost is to walk step by step at a snails pace. Darkness is your friend in this situation, so set the alarm extra early. There is no such thing as arriving too early because you will pay the price if too late.
How far away is he?
The distance between you and a tom can be deceiving. Factors like wind, dense cover, and the direction he is facing all control the volume of his gobble. The slightest breeze at your back can make it tougher to hear the tom. As foliage thickens, it provides cover when approaching a bird but will muffle his gobble, making his position harder to pinpoint. Sometimes a bird will sound closer on one gobble and farther away on the next. Chances are he is still on the same limb, just turning around.
Observing the terrain.
Topography around the birds is equally critical. Turkeys don’t like pitching down in thick cover. Roosted toms in rolling timber will typically fly down to the highest point around the tree. This could be an open ridge directly above or adjacent to the bird. Open field edges or clear cuts can also be great areas to set up near a roost.
The key is to set up where no obstructions are between you and the bird. Toms don’t like crossing barriers when approaching a hen. Creeks, ditches, fallen trees, and fences can ruin your hunt before it starts. Scouting during the late winter months will remedy this problem. Concentrate on roosting areas and try to visualize a toms path to a potential setup. This will prevent that old gobbler from hanging up on his way in to your call.
Pay attention to the terrain and listen closely to your surroundings. Pegging that tom’s position could help you punch the next tag.
How Close is too Close? was last modified: February 9th, 2017 by Bill Winke