We’ve all been there. Waking up at 5 am we get ready and race out to our hunting spot hoping to get a jump on a turkey. Fumbling in the dark we set our decoys, load our shotgun, and get in the blind to wait. Around 7:30 am the thunderous sound of turkeys getting down from their roost can be heard echoing through the woods. We call. They gobble back. However, none of them come into our setup. Several hours later around noon a decision is made to head home and catch a nap. Later, you debate going back out in the evening, but you’ve never had much luck hunting turkeys during that time of day so you make plans to get a good night’s sleep and head back out the next morning.
I’m gonna share with you a reason to hunt them in the evening next time. You’re going to put the turkey to bed before you leave.
You may be picturing a cute scene from a children’s book where you are tucking the turkey in a tiny bed and reading it a bedtime story. Not exactly what I mean.
Putting a turkey to bed means you are in the woods and well hidden at least an hour before sunset around the general area you know there to be turkeys. Due to their lackluster natural defenses, turkeys roost the whole night. They pick a tree, fly up, and sleep perched on a branch. This keeps them safe from coyotes and other predators and is probably the only way they can get any rest.
They will stay in the same spot (unless something gets too close and disturbs them) for the whole night. This is where you come in. Hidden in your blind or behind a tree, you are going to wait for sunset and listen to the turkeys flying up to the roost before dark. You can’t miss the sound of them going to roost. Their large wings make an unmistakable sound when they fly up.
Once they are roosted, give them some time to get comfortable and use that locator call we talked about previously. Sound it a few times and wait for the toms to shock gobble back. This confirms what tree they have roosted in.
The next morning instead of heading into the woods blind, you will know exactly where the turkey you are hunting is. Set up your blind and decoys somewhere close to the turkey’s roost. It is imperative that you do not get too close (stay at least 50yds back) and be quiet while getting into position. If you startle the bird he will likely leave the roost and fly in the opposite direction.
If done right, this technique of putting a turkey to bed will leave you in a close spot the next morning. Calling while the tom is still in the tree before sunrise, your setup may even be the first stop he makes after leaving the roost.
Next time you are out hunting and have not had much success, consider putting a turkey to bed before you leave for the evening. It should set you up very well for the next morning.