Hunting fall turkeys starts at the roost
Similar to a spring hunt, hunting fall turkeys gets easier when you can locate the roost. A consistent roost is your only given in some areas, as the birds may have multiple options on where to feed and water. This constant variable means if you can find the roost, you will be in birds every day.
In the open flat country of the Dakotas, Kansas or Nebraska the task is relatively easy, as sometimes the only trees are located in river bottoms or around cattle tanks. Find a good vantage point to spy on a section of land the birds are frequenting and you can find the roost. For the rest of us finding that fall flock of gobblers takes a little more work.
Hunting fall turkeys at the roost: key on water and elevation
After you locate a good group of toms in an area, there are certain terrain features to check out as possible roost sites. The first spots to check are around water. Creeks rivers and ponds will draw turkeys in the fall, and investigation includes looking for large clusters of droppings letting you know the birds sleep above. Scratched areas should not be ignored as they do signal feeding activity, but roost confirmation is not complete until you find the actual clusters of dropping under favorite trees. The second spots to key on are large red and white pine trees located approximately 1/3 of the way down a ridge top. The birds like to roost in these large limbed pins, and the key is to search groups of trees that are near the top of a steep ridge. They may roost anywhere but these 2 terrain features will gather the bulk of the fall flocks.
If you can’t find the roost, your odds of success are going to drop when hunting bachelor groups of mature toms in the fall. The ability to get a strange jake in their face when they are close to ‘their’ roost ups your odds significantly. Un pressured birds will attack a strange jake over 60% of time, and if you are that jake in the roost, you are in the chips.
Hunting fall turkeys at the roost is a morning or evening affair
You can enjoy success hunting fall turkeys at the roost morning or evening. A favorite tactic is to employ a cocky jake turkey decoy like our best turkey decoy where the birds can see it. Give a few jake yelps so they come looking, and if they will not close, a single fighting purr is often enough to get them to seal the deal. It’s every bit as exciting as chasing spring toms, but will only work with a highly realistic male turkey decoy as the draw. You don’t need a turkey decoy for this fall hunt, but the drama level is through the roof when using a strange jake hunting fall turkeys.