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Q:
What are your thoughts on shooting turkeys out of trees? Ethical or not? (Where and when legal, obviously). The reason I ask is because while out fall turkey hunting the other day, I had a young gobbler fly up into the tree right above me about 10 minutes before the end of legal shooting time. I was trying to decide whether to shoot him or not when he caught me moving and flew off, so I never had to actually make the decision.

from huntfishtrap on 11.26.13

Answers (17)

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from MWK_MN wrote 31 weeks 6 days ago

A tough decision that would be Charlie Elk. For me it would depend on the individual. Whether it is some young person who appears to be remorseful and able to lead a further trespass free/vandalize life (maybe someone you could mentor or teach that didn't have a good upbringing) or if it's someone older who who has had previous run-ins with the law and appears to only be remorseful because they were caught. I usually give young people a pass on minor things but I suppose I don't know the extent of your troubles and damages.

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from huntfishtrap wrote 32 weeks 6 hours ago

@charlie elk; I agree that the conditions affect how easy it is to sneak up on a roosted turkey, and I've walked right past them in the dark many times. I guess I was referring to my situation specifically (still plenty of light, with no leaves on the trees), and getting close in that scenario is pretty tough.
About your case; I personally might press the state charges, because he didn't "just" trespass, but also damaged your property.
But it might be better for you to create a separate Answers post about it, so more people would see it.

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from charlie elk wrote 32 weeks 13 hours ago

Easy to sneak up on a roosted turkey? That is a depends. If it is done early morning in the dark it is easy and when it gets to shooting light shooting that turkey is very easy. If there is thick leaf cover it is easy. If the ground is snow covered and the trees are bare it hard, very hard.
You get my point.
The vandalizing trespasser was caught and arrested. I now face a hard decision regarding the charges. Should I push state criminal charges or have the sheriff issue a county citation. The citation has a $286 fine. Criminal conviction gives him a record, $2500 fine and possible jail. Perhaps I should write this up as a separate question?
later,
charlie

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from MWK_MN wrote 32 weeks 18 hours ago

I had always thought it was unethical but huntfish trap is right it's not easy to sneak up on them as some might think. I will probably continue avoiding taking them on the roost though. I too am curious if you had any success catching them Charlie Elk? I love a good jerks next door got busted story. Hopefully Charlie Elk has one to share.

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from MWK_MN wrote 32 weeks 18 hours ago

I had always thought it was unethical but huntfish trap is right it's not easy to sneak up on them as some might think. I will probably continue avoiding taking them on the roost though. I too am curious if you had any success catching them Charlie Elk? I love a good jerks next door got busted story. Hopefully Charlie Elk has one to share.

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from huntfishtrap wrote 32 weeks 1 day ago

Hey charlie elk, it's good to see you on the site again. I was starting to wonder if you had tried to sneak up on the wrong turkey or something ;).
Did you ever catch that trespasser who was damaging your trees?

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from charlie elk wrote 32 weeks 1 day ago

Apparently the no roost shooting got so ingrained in me that I have found I can't bring myself to shoot a turkey in a tree even when I've called them over to said tree.
If someone wants to shoot a treed turkey that is totally up to them. Our forefathers routinely shot roosted or otherwise treed turkeys. Wouldn't that mean it's a traditional method?
later,
charlie

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from huntfishtrap wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

@cjohnsrud, I agree that a lot of the appeal of turkey hunting is the thrill of calling in a wily old gobbler, but I disagree with your characterization of stalking one on the roost and shooting it as "easy".
This was the first time I've ever purposefully tried to do it while hunting, but I've tried to walk past roosted turkeys many times while deer hunting, and they nearly always fly away before you get anywhere near gun range. It's danged hard to sneak up on a turkey, roosted or otherwise.
But to each their own, and I certainly understand and respect your side of the argument.

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from cjohnsrud wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

Legal, maybe in most areas. Ethical, not in my book. Just saying. I always have my son with me and would never want to plant the seed of taking the easy way out. I love hunting turkeys and one of the main reasons is calling in a weary old tom. Anybody can walk in under a roost and pull a trigger.

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from huntfishtrap wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

Good comments all.
I kind of answered my own question this afternoon, when I was able to stalk within 30 yards of a nice gobbler that had flown up well before dark because it was foggy and very dim for the hour. Since I wasn't sure if I would be able to hunt again before the end of the season, I decided to take the shot, and dropped it cleanly 10 minutes before the end of legal shooting time.
In my mind, there's no significant difference between stalking a bird on the roost, and stalking one that has its feet on the ground - both are quite the challenge.
I know one thing - he'll taste just as good as the gobbler I shot this spring using "traditional" turkey hunting methods!

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from Tioughnioga wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

If a wild turkey has allowed you to get close enough to that tree for an ethical, in-range, legal-hours shot, then it's probably one that ought to be removed from the gene pool anyway. But even without making this point, I'd say sure, why not? There are so many screwed-up standards in hunting: Bird-hunting with a dog is considered by many to be the only sporting way, even though hunting grouse, etc. without a dog is much, much more difficult; a lot of turkey hunters think a crafty, thought-out ambush is somehow wrong but they have no problem with deliberately scaring a flock to the four winds just to call one back in ... I could go on and on. In my opinion, if it is safe, legal, and you've put some real effort into your hunting and have respected nature while you're out there, then meat is meat.

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from DSMbirddog wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

I wouldn't shoot one off the roost. Flying off the roost I would shoot one. I've shot a bunch of turkeys in the fall by jumping them up. I don't see anything wrong with that.

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from JM wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

I see nothing wrong with it. The reason I probably wouldn't is simply that I enjoy the challenge of trying to call one in.
-If it was the last day of the season and I had a tag in my pocket? Probably.

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from pineywoods wrote 32 weeks 6 days ago

It's a situational thing for me. I PROBABLY wouldn't shoot one when he went up to roost, or if I were lucky enough to slip up on one before dawn. However, my trigger finger is still itching over the one I called in from the roost on the hill across from me---he flew all the way across and lit in the tree I was sitting under---no way I could twist around and shoot up at him. He finally flew down back where I couldn't see him, and since he couldn't find the hen he'd come to, he wandered away and is probably teaching classes in hunter avoidance.

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from Yoda wrote 32 weeks 6 days ago

I personally see nothing wrong with it, have shot plenty of grouse out of trees, and ground swatted my fair share as well as on the wing. If it's legal to do it go for it, it's still hunting in my opinion.

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from huntfishtrap wrote 33 weeks 2 days ago

@JHP, why not? (Just to clarify, I'm curious how others feel on this subject, and also WHY they feel the way they do).
In your opinion, why is shooting a roosted turkey any less sporting than shooting a deer while it's bedded, which I don't believe very many, if any, people think isn't sporting? I can't see a big difference, personally, but to each their own.

Or how about jump-shooting a turkey, which I know many people will not do, even though it really is no different than jump-shooting a pheasant or quail? (As long as you only take short-range shots, because a turkey is a much bigger, tougher bird.)

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from JHP wrote 33 weeks 2 days ago

I would not.

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from Tioughnioga wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

If a wild turkey has allowed you to get close enough to that tree for an ethical, in-range, legal-hours shot, then it's probably one that ought to be removed from the gene pool anyway. But even without making this point, I'd say sure, why not? There are so many screwed-up standards in hunting: Bird-hunting with a dog is considered by many to be the only sporting way, even though hunting grouse, etc. without a dog is much, much more difficult; a lot of turkey hunters think a crafty, thought-out ambush is somehow wrong but they have no problem with deliberately scaring a flock to the four winds just to call one back in ... I could go on and on. In my opinion, if it is safe, legal, and you've put some real effort into your hunting and have respected nature while you're out there, then meat is meat.

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from Yoda wrote 32 weeks 6 days ago

I personally see nothing wrong with it, have shot plenty of grouse out of trees, and ground swatted my fair share as well as on the wing. If it's legal to do it go for it, it's still hunting in my opinion.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from pineywoods wrote 32 weeks 6 days ago

It's a situational thing for me. I PROBABLY wouldn't shoot one when he went up to roost, or if I were lucky enough to slip up on one before dawn. However, my trigger finger is still itching over the one I called in from the roost on the hill across from me---he flew all the way across and lit in the tree I was sitting under---no way I could twist around and shoot up at him. He finally flew down back where I couldn't see him, and since he couldn't find the hen he'd come to, he wandered away and is probably teaching classes in hunter avoidance.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from MWK_MN wrote 32 weeks 18 hours ago

I had always thought it was unethical but huntfish trap is right it's not easy to sneak up on them as some might think. I will probably continue avoiding taking them on the roost though. I too am curious if you had any success catching them Charlie Elk? I love a good jerks next door got busted story. Hopefully Charlie Elk has one to share.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 32 weeks 13 hours ago

Easy to sneak up on a roosted turkey? That is a depends. If it is done early morning in the dark it is easy and when it gets to shooting light shooting that turkey is very easy. If there is thick leaf cover it is easy. If the ground is snow covered and the trees are bare it hard, very hard.
You get my point.
The vandalizing trespasser was caught and arrested. I now face a hard decision regarding the charges. Should I push state criminal charges or have the sheriff issue a county citation. The citation has a $286 fine. Criminal conviction gives him a record, $2500 fine and possible jail. Perhaps I should write this up as a separate question?
later,
charlie

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from MWK_MN wrote 31 weeks 6 days ago

A tough decision that would be Charlie Elk. For me it would depend on the individual. Whether it is some young person who appears to be remorseful and able to lead a further trespass free/vandalize life (maybe someone you could mentor or teach that didn't have a good upbringing) or if it's someone older who who has had previous run-ins with the law and appears to only be remorseful because they were caught. I usually give young people a pass on minor things but I suppose I don't know the extent of your troubles and damages.

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from JHP wrote 33 weeks 2 days ago

I would not.

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from JM wrote 32 weeks 5 days ago

I see nothing wrong with it. The reason I probably wouldn't is simply that I enjoy the challenge of trying to call one in.
-If it was the last day of the season and I had a tag in my pocket? Probably.

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from DSMbirddog wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

I wouldn't shoot one off the roost. Flying off the roost I would shoot one. I've shot a bunch of turkeys in the fall by jumping them up. I don't see anything wrong with that.

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from charlie elk wrote 32 weeks 1 day ago

Apparently the no roost shooting got so ingrained in me that I have found I can't bring myself to shoot a turkey in a tree even when I've called them over to said tree.
If someone wants to shoot a treed turkey that is totally up to them. Our forefathers routinely shot roosted or otherwise treed turkeys. Wouldn't that mean it's a traditional method?
later,
charlie

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from huntfishtrap wrote 32 weeks 6 hours ago

@charlie elk; I agree that the conditions affect how easy it is to sneak up on a roosted turkey, and I've walked right past them in the dark many times. I guess I was referring to my situation specifically (still plenty of light, with no leaves on the trees), and getting close in that scenario is pretty tough.
About your case; I personally might press the state charges, because he didn't "just" trespass, but also damaged your property.
But it might be better for you to create a separate Answers post about it, so more people would see it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 33 weeks 2 days ago

@JHP, why not? (Just to clarify, I'm curious how others feel on this subject, and also WHY they feel the way they do).
In your opinion, why is shooting a roosted turkey any less sporting than shooting a deer while it's bedded, which I don't believe very many, if any, people think isn't sporting? I can't see a big difference, personally, but to each their own.

Or how about jump-shooting a turkey, which I know many people will not do, even though it really is no different than jump-shooting a pheasant or quail? (As long as you only take short-range shots, because a turkey is a much bigger, tougher bird.)

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from huntfishtrap wrote 32 weeks 3 days ago

Good comments all.
I kind of answered my own question this afternoon, when I was able to stalk within 30 yards of a nice gobbler that had flown up well before dark because it was foggy and very dim for the hour. Since I wasn't sure if I would be able to hunt again before the end of the season, I decided to take the shot, and dropped it cleanly 10 minutes before the end of legal shooting time.
In my mind, there's no significant difference between stalking a bird on the roost, and stalking one that has its feet on the ground - both are quite the challenge.
I know one thing - he'll taste just as good as the gobbler I shot this spring using "traditional" turkey hunting methods!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

@cjohnsrud, I agree that a lot of the appeal of turkey hunting is the thrill of calling in a wily old gobbler, but I disagree with your characterization of stalking one on the roost and shooting it as "easy".
This was the first time I've ever purposefully tried to do it while hunting, but I've tried to walk past roosted turkeys many times while deer hunting, and they nearly always fly away before you get anywhere near gun range. It's danged hard to sneak up on a turkey, roosted or otherwise.
But to each their own, and I certainly understand and respect your side of the argument.

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from huntfishtrap wrote 32 weeks 1 day ago

Hey charlie elk, it's good to see you on the site again. I was starting to wonder if you had tried to sneak up on the wrong turkey or something ;).
Did you ever catch that trespasser who was damaging your trees?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MWK_MN wrote 32 weeks 18 hours ago

I had always thought it was unethical but huntfish trap is right it's not easy to sneak up on them as some might think. I will probably continue avoiding taking them on the roost though. I too am curious if you had any success catching them Charlie Elk? I love a good jerks next door got busted story. Hopefully Charlie Elk has one to share.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from cjohnsrud wrote 32 weeks 2 days ago

Legal, maybe in most areas. Ethical, not in my book. Just saying. I always have my son with me and would never want to plant the seed of taking the easy way out. I love hunting turkeys and one of the main reasons is calling in a weary old tom. Anybody can walk in under a roost and pull a trigger.

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