Pat S. asks:
How much stock do you put into putting birds to bed? Very calm out right now, clear skies, but no responses to an owl call. What does it mean? Should I hunt a different spot in the morning?
It's a question that turkey hunters are faced with every season. First off, how important is it to roost birds in general, and then what if nothing responds? For the most part, I tend to hunt with more confidence when I know where my target is sleeping, but the age old adage "Roosted Ain't Roasted" really rings true. In looking back at my journal over the years, I'm seeing about 15-20% success immediately off the roost for all the birds I've played a part in killing over the past 20 years. That's a pretty small number in the grand scheme of things. I know later in the season after I'm worn down from week after week of turkeys, sleep can be more important, but it is nice to have a good idea where they're at first thing.
As far as a response or not, and then switching properties, that's when you need to fall back on your scouting, and maybe more importantly the characteristics of the area you tried to roost them. Is it a perennially favorite location with numerous toms seen through your scouting, or is it an isolated hail-mary to begin with? I always let that make my decision if no birds play ball the night before. Last night for example, I blew an owl call right around sundown and heard nothing. Just as I was leaving however 15 minutes later, I heard 3 different toms sound off, one time only for each bird. Had I not stayed that last little bit, I probably would've thought there was nothing going. They don't always gobble well on the limb, and sometimes they get to bed late, so use your best judgement regarding habitat, history, and recent scouting to make the right call.
UPDATE - Pat went with Plan B and found a great longbeard for his son Noah. Congrats to the both of them!