Locating a Roosting Flock

Is it better to locate a roosting flock in the morning or run them up a tree in the evening?--K.G.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Q: I'm a new turkey hunter. I've heard that it's best to locate a roosting flock in the morning with a locator call. I've also heard you should find a flock in the evening and run them up a tree, so you'll know where they'll be in the morning. My state doesn't allow afternoon hunting.
--K.G.

A lot of states don't allow afternoon hunting, mostly so "hunters" don't shoot roosted birds out of the tree. Roosted turkeys are most reluctant to leave their tree after sunset, since they can't see predators on the ground, so shooting them up there is sort of like shooting fish in a barrel.

But you shouldn't "run" them into their roost, since spooked turkeys are much harder to call in the morning. Instead scout likely roosting areas during midday. Roost trees usually have lots of turkey feathers and droppings scattered on the ground below. Even if you don't find a roost tree, toward sunset you'll often hear a flock fly up. Flapping turkeys makes a heck of racket on a still evening.

In the morning a great many sounds will make turkeys gobble on the roost. Some respond to slammed pickup doors (though not in areas of very high hunting pressure) and many gobble back at owl hoots. The standard hen cluck will also generally bring a response, though not from as far away as a loud owl hoot.

** Q:** What broadhead do you use, mechanical or fixed? What are the pros and cons of both?
--K.S.

I use fixed heads, mostly Zwickeys, because they penetrate deeply in big game like elk and cut right through light bone. But Zwickeys require sharpening, which some people just don't seem to be able to do. And there are always one or two in each dozen that don't fly straight, but I regard that as the necessary price for superb performance.

One big advantage of any fixed-blade head, whether it requires sharpening or uses replaceable blades, is that it can be used for final practice just before the season--and you'll know EXACTLY where your hunting arrows shoot. This isn't always possible with practice or mechanical heads.

Many hunters like mechanical heads, but my experience with any sporting equipment is that the more moving parts, the more chance for equipment failure. Keeping it simple eliminates gear headaches.