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John's Journal... Entry 194, Day 1


How to Reach the Roost

EDITOR'S NOTE: Chris Parrish of Centralia, Missouri, a wild turkey hunter for 24 years and the winner of five Grand National Turkey Calling Championships, two Mid-American Turkey Calling Championships, the U.S. Open and numerous regional and state titles, won the 2002 Mossy Oak/World Turkey Calling Championship.

When I attend competitions and seminars, hunters ask me numerous questions about how to deal with certain turkey-hunting situations. I've learned one thing for certain -- turkey hunting holds no absolutes. The following tactics generally produce the most success for me when I deal with tough toms.

QUESTION: The turkey's on the roost -- now what?
ANSWER: To reach the turkey's roost location, you need to have scouted the area before the season and/or have a TOPO map so you quickly and easily can determine the lay of the land. Without knowing the land around where you hear the turkey gobbling, you'll have a difficult time getting into the right position to call that turkey. Once I know the terrain, I try to get as close to the gobbling turkey as I can without his seeing me to prevent any other hen from getting to that gobbler before he reaches me. I don't want that turkey to have to come looking for me. When he pitches off of the limb, I want him to sail right to me. When his feet hit the ground, and he sticks his neck up to look for the hen, I want to take him.

I try to get within 75 to 150 yards of the roost tree before I call. If the terrain will let me get within 50 yards of the roost tree, I'll move in that close. Once I set up, put my gun on my knee and prepare to call, I look for the turkey. If I can see the tom standing on the limb, I wait until he looks away from my direction to give a call. I'll give two or three short clucks and a couple of soft yelps. When you get that close to a turkey, unless he has hens roosting with him, he'll almost always fly down within gun range. Before I give those calls, I put my gun on my knee and prepare to take the shot. Nine times out of 10 when I set up that close to a turkey, and the gobbler hits the ground, I can squeeze the trigger and take him.

Many turkey hunters have difficulty taking gobblers when they first fly-down off of the roost. You'll have a difficult time taking a gobbler off the roost if you don't get close enough to him so that he lands right in front of you. I've had really good luck taking turkeys as soon as they fly-down off the roost by getting really close to them.




Check back each day this week for more about HOW TO CALL TURKEYS LIKE A CHAMPION WITH CHRIS PARRISH ...

Day 1 - How to Reach the Roost
Day 2 - He's Off The Roost, Now What?
Day 3 - You're Missing The Boat
Day 4 - My One and Only
Day 5 - The Exception to the Rule

John's Journal