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Q: I have been watching a group of about 12 turkeys...3 gobblers and 9 hens. I really want to take one down during this small month of archery season. Problem is, I can't figure out how they move.....do they usually follow the same path daily? Do they return to roost in the same spot every night? I just want to know what would be the best road to take to set up for a shot on my first potential Gobbler! Can you help me!!???

A: Michael, while turkey hunting is always a challenge, fall hunting turkeys is toughest at achieving success. While some birds can and do use the same trails daily, most of the time they simply frequent an area on a regular basis. However, roost trees, especially with mature gobblers, are almost always the same tree night after night. This of course can change if the birds are interrupted in their normal pattern due to hunting pressure, predation, or weather.

In order to have the best chance at scoring one of these birds, take a few days to watch them from a distance. Get out in the mornings to the area where you think the birds are roosted and listen for them flying down. Gobblers are not very vocal this time of year, but hens most always are and will perform their customary tree yelps and flydown cackles daily.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to turkey hunting, being patient and getting aggressive. I'm more of an aggressive hunter, but that doesn't work for everyone. Just because I'm aggressive does not mean I'm reckless. For example, in your case, if I can hear them in the trees, I'd try to get within 50 yards of them and watch them hit the ground. Then I might make a few soft hen purrs or a gobbler yelp and see if I can get them close enough to check me out. If not, I will let them work away from me and then try and double around on them. Whatever you do, do not over call or get too loud as you will surely run them off.

In order for aggressive tactics to work, you really need to know every inch of your terrain. Knowledge of every tree, trail, leaf and rock is key to maneuvering without spooking your game. If I can maneuver into position on the group and lay in ambush for them, so much the better.

If you are uncertain or unsuccessful in locating their roosting area, but you have seen them in the same place every day at around the same time, you may try and set up a blind in that location so that you can be there before the birds arrive. Mid-mornings are excellent for ambushing turkeys in the fall as the groups will often head to a dusting location at about the same time every day after the morning feed. Look for dusting bowls and various breast and under wing feathers on the ground and get a blind set up within bow range.

If your encounters with these birds is during a feeding time, watch their movements and see if they travel towards any particular natural funnel where you can set up on them for a close shot. Some birds may be using a field and exiting in the same location every day, or simply walking a trail that puts them in a pinch point. Whatever the case, most always there is a at least one good ambush spot for the group of birds you're pursuing.

The last bit of advise I can give you is to be flexible and learn to adapt to any situation. During the fall, turkeys can be one of the most frustrating and confusing game animals to pursue. Scout as much as you can, learn your terrain and always have a counter move to their unpredictability. Think of it as a chess match. You really have to be 3 moves ahead of the birds if you're going to consistently take turkeys in the archery season. If you can keep from throwing in the towel, you're bound to walk out of the woods this season with a turkey. Just do your homework and stick with it.

Best of luck and safe hunting,

Chuck Echenique