Hunting a bird right off the roost can be tough! Naturally, they wait for the hens to come to their roost tree. Hunters try to reverse this and entice a gobbler to come to them. If you’ve experienced this you may wonder, is the hunt over after a gobbler flies down and gets with hens? How do I remain successful when I don’t harvest a gobbler off the roost?
The hunt is not over, unless your honey-do list is long. If you can remain patient your chances of success increase. Once a gobbler has flown down and met his hens, do your best to keep him gobbling. This isn’t to call him in. It’s simply to keep tabs on his location. Turkeys can cover a lot of ground quickly. Using a crow call (watch a short video of calling here) during this time of the hunt works well. As the season progresses and hens are bred, they will begin to search for nesting locations. Hens may fly down and congregate with other turkeys but then soon leave. This means gobblers are left alone. A lonely gobbler is a good gobbler to have in your turkey woods.
Keeping the gobbler vocal allows you to make the appropriate setup once his hens have left. Toms may begin to gobble on their own once this occurs. They are lonely making this is your time to strike! Gobblers are already on their feet and searching for the hens to accompany them.
To put the odds further in your favor, your setup should be very approachable. Do not force that gobbler to walk down a hill or through a tight pinch point. If you do, he will most likely circle behind you or hang-up out of range. Instead make his approach a safe one. This may mean getting your boots moving to circle behind him. Get to where the terrain allows him to close the distance safely. Even though this bird wants to be with a hen, he wants to survive. You’ve been patient all morning; take the extra time to get setup correctly.
Hunting longbeards mid-morning can be extremely successful. Do not give up on the gobbler if you don't bag him at first light. Stay persistent and keep him gobbling. Waiting a turkey out until he is lonely is often a recipe for success.
Chasing longbeards together,