How to Kill a Turkey When He Flies Down From the Roost

by Brodie Swisher

Setting up on roosted turkeys can provide some of the most exciting hunting action of the spring season. Killing a bird shortly after it flies down from the roost is what turkey hunters dream of. But more times than not, things typically don’t go as planned when hunting roosted birds first thing in the morning. The debate as to whether the phrase, “Roosted is roasted,” is legit or not has raged around hunting camps for years. We like to think that when we roost a bird the night before that he’s as good as roasted. Sadly, that’s just not always the case. But on those days when it all goes as planned, and you get to pull the trigger on a turkey shortly after his feet hit the ground, the excitement level is hard to beat. With the anticipation of such days to come, we share a look at how to kill a turkey when he flies down from the roost. Here’s 5 keys to success that’ll help you make it happen.

how to kill a turkey bro-and-brandon-bird
This bird wasn’t on the ground 3 minutes before my buddy, Brandon, got to pull the trigger.

Know What Tree He Is In

It sounds kind of obvious, but if you want to know how to kill a turkey quick, you really need to know exactly where he’s hanging out the night before your hunt. This eliminates all the guesswork of where on the farm your hunt will begin. If you have to wait for him to gobble to locate where you need to be, you’re already behind. Moving in on him at this point can be a deal breaker in many cases. Knowing the exact tree he’s roosted in lets you know exactly where you need to set up shop and be waiting when he pitches down.

Know Where He’ll Hit the Ground

Turkeys are creatures of habit. Until disturbed, they’ll often do the same thing over and over again each day. Before you move in for the kill, watch for a pattern on how the birds fly down. Find where that bird’s feet hit the ground first. That’s the X. You want to be set up in such a way that you have the opportunity to kill him within minutes of his feet hitting the ground. This will take a little scouting and glassing from a distance, but it will be well worth your time when it comes to knowing exactly where he’s headed when he pitches off the limb.

Get in Early

I’m not talking about just before daylight, early. I’m talking about slipping in before the flock is even awake, early. This may be 45 minutes, or more, before daylight. It sounds crazy, but you can literally slip in to his bedroom, and he’ll never know you’re in the world. Be waiting at the X before the flock comes to life and you’l have the advantage on him before he ever wakes up.

Listen to Their Language

Turkeys will tell you when they are about to fly down. Their vocals intensify, and the excitement literally spills over to the flydown. When you hear those hens fire up, you better get ready. It’s about to go down. They’ll start off soft and slow with their quiet tree yelps. As they wake up a bit, you’ll hear more intensity in their yelping and clucks. And the fast and excited fly-down cackle is the obvious sound that they are on their way to the ground.

Have Your Gun Ready and Waiting When the Birds Hit the Ground

I’ve seen more hunts blown by hunters that got caught with their gun down. They got so caught up in the action and watching the show that they failed to prepare for the shot. Don’t get caught with your gun laying across your lap when that gobbler’s feet hit the ground. Take advantage of the gobbling frenzy and birds in flight at flydown to make sure your gun is up on your knee and pointed at that bird’s face when he hits the ground and looks in your direction.

How to Kill a Turkey And Still Be at Work On Time?

Want to kill a turkey and still be at the office on time? You better get him off the roost! Hunting a roosted turkey is the perfect plan when you’ve got just enough time to squeeze in a quick hunt before heading to the office. Follow the steps above and you’ll have your tag punched and be sippin’ coffee before the rest of the world even gets out of bed.

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