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Locating Roosting Gobblers

Many verteran hunters like to locate a roost by using a technique known as "roosting a gobbler." "Roostering" is where you locate several probable turkey roosting sites around where you have found fresh signs. Once you locate these probable roots, go out in late afternoon, just before dark, and listen for the heavy wingbeats of the turkeys flying up to their roosts.

Never approach too close to an evening gobbber. Just locate him and slip off to await the morning. It is the worse kind of sportmanship to shoot a roosting gobbler.

Another scouting method for locating roosting gobblers during the spring is know as "owling." "Owling" works well just before or at dark when the gobbler is on the roost. This method utilzes the knowledge that gobblers are full of tension due to the mating urge and will gobble at almost any loud noise, especially natural noises heard in the woods. When an owling hoots near a roosting gobbler the gobbler will often gobble back, especially in the spring. By learning how to hoot lke an owl or by purching and learning how to use a blow type owl call, crow call or hawk call, you can locate roosting gobblers.

"Owling" has an advantage over yelping with a turkey call to locate the gobblers in that it gives the locate of the gobbler away but does not make him think a hen is in the area. Also, the gobbler does not become suspiciuos of a moving owl, hawk or crow but might if you use a yelp or hen call.

Roosting Sites;

Turkeys found in mountains and hills like to roost in tall pines and harwood trees on southern slopes. Old gobbers tend to favor tall pines on southern slopes near the head of a hollow. In flatwoods and swamps turkey roost in trees, that are standing in water in stream bottoms or beaver ponds.

Rarely will wild turkeys roost more than one-quarter mile from water. More often than not they will roost away from the principal feeding area, preferring to travel in the morning to feed. Regulary used roosts may be recognized from frequent use.

Roosting Habits;

You can get a pretty good ideal of whether or not a gobbler has hens with him by where he roosts. Gobblers with hens usually roost low on the side of a hill and low in the trees they selected. Gobblers without the company of hens roost high on ridges and high in their trees.

It makes perfect sense. The bird that already has hens does not need to be in a position from which he can attract the next morning. But the gobblers without without hens must roost in high locations from which they can be heard for a great distance in order to attract hens come dawn.

If you have a choice in the morning go for the birds that roost high. He is the one that will be loking for company in the morning and will be most vulnerable to seductive calling.

Dusting Sites;

Another good sign to look for in fields, logging roads and open sandy area is wild turkey dusting sites. Wild turkeys, like most birds, like to take baths.The dusting sites are easily located in sandy or dusty area and range from the size of a magazine to the size of a table top. These dusting sites are often littered with turkey feathers, and turkey tracks are found in the immediate area. If the turkey has troule locating a suitable dusting site, it will often use an old ant bed.

Feathers from the breast of a dusting turkey found in dusting sites can give you a good indication of the sex of the bird doing the dusting. If the small feathers found in the dust are black tipped, the bird is a male. If they are brown tripped with rough edges, it is female. Also, the black tripped feathers of the male will have smooth edges.

Listening For Gobblers;

When open day of the spring season is just a few days away you will want to return to your area to apply a scouting technique that is known simply as "listen."

"Listen" for gobblers can allow you to locate several gobblers prior to opening day.

To listen, locate the highest point of land in the center of the area where you have found the most signs. Begin going to that highest post every morning you can. Plan to arrive an hour before daylight. Sit quietly and listen for the early morning gobbling of the roosting male bird.

The best morning to listen for spring gobbles are cool, crisp, sunny morning.

The final step to scouting for the wild turkeey comes right before opening day of the turkey season. The day before the season opens, relocate one of your previously scouted gobblers to make sure he is still in the arae.If you can locate a gobbler on the roost the evening before opening before opening day, you could not ask for a better situation. A turkey that is "put to bed" the night before increases the hunters chance 100 percent for the next morning and saves much time in the morning because you don't have to locate a bird. Never approach too close to the evening gobbler. Just locate him and slip off to wait till morning. If all goes well the next morning your scouting will have paid off.

The veteran turkey hunter will have his scouting skills down to a science. He fits together each track, feather, scratching, dropping, sighting and sound of the wild turkey to solve a mystery. The mystery; Where will the gobblers be on opening morning? By learning and practicinig these scouting techniques, you can open the season talking to a gobbler.

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