Roost Shooting Turkeys

In many states, it's illegal. Not all though. Check your regulations right now. If the state(s) you turkey hunt don't indicate the practice of roost shooting is illegal, chances are it's legal by default. But is it right?

In turkey hunting the idea of "fair chase" generally involves scouting and finding roosted turkeys. We then set up close enough not to spook them, but far enough away so they can hear our calls. Game time begins when they fly down and we try to pull one into range with our vocalizations. Or we simply wait for patterned turkeys to show up.

Sheridan's Roost, owing to perhaps the most famous story of roost shooting by necessity, involved both General Sheridan and Custer. According to Henry Inman's "Tales of the Trail" it was there in December 1868 they and their men "bagged an almost incredible number of wild turkeys while camping on the now historic spot." They shot them off the Great Plains roost of course. As Inman puts it, they had discovered the roost site, described as "an abundance of food for half-starved troopers . . ." Survival dictated it.

That was then. This is now.

I wonder, Strut Zone brothers: Should all states make roost shooting turkeys illegal by declaring it in the hunting regulations? Where legal (since it isn't stated as illegal) should we simply leave it up to sportsmen to decide for themselves rather than legislate it?

--Steve Hickoff