Monday, March 21, 2011

My First Turkey Hunt in Iowa

Turkey season is rapidly approaching and I don't have any plans on hitting the timber before sunrise waiting for a gobbler to walk by. I do have a story though for those of you getting all pumped up for the upcoming turkey hunting season.

My first turkey hunt was in April or May of 2006 in Davis County, Iowa, I don't really remember exactly the date because I just didn't care enough about it. Back then we owned a 170 acre chunk of timber outside of Bloomfield that was completely chuck full of turkeys and by golly we were going to get tags that spring and bring home some spurs, beards, feathers, and meat.

So I usually always turn the channel when a turkey segment comes on TV, but I caught enough of them pieced together to know how to go out and kill a gobler. Especially on a piece of property where everywhere you turn around there is turkeys flushing.

So I get out to a spot that looked good about 1.5 hrs before light on opening day and sit on the ground leaned up against a tree. After a few fishing dreams and close encounters with whitetail deer virtually walking into me, it finally just barely starts to get light. And bam, all of a sudden the turkeys started gobbling like a heavenly choir competition. My goodness I had never heard such a melodious blood pumping racket.

So the gobbling continues for about 2 hours, getting softer and less frequent during that span. All the while I am sitting in obviously a deer path and having one of the most amazing deer hunts ever, but I never actually saw a turkey. Me being the genius I am remember that everytime I walk through the woods on this property I always scare turkeys and many of them are well within shooting distance, kinda like pheasant hunting.

So about 7:30 am the noise had stopped for awhile and I decide the birds are done working for the morning so its time to go find them. Plus I can't sit much longer than that anyways. So I get out of my hiding spot and start walking and low and behold I see two turkeys running away about 150 yards out. Ah you numbskull....

Anyhow I start walking around looking for turkeys and actually flushed one out of the edge of timber, but didn't shoot it cause it was a lady. After covering the property its time to head in about lunch and wait for the next morning hunt. I had a new place scoped out for the morning.

The next morning I didn't get out quite so early, but just early enough to get situated before the birds started gobbling. Same thing only this time I was a bit closer, but not close enough. I sat longer this time and had a decoy out. This time about 8 am I couldn't believe what was actually happening. I heard a little gobble down in the crick valley and it was getting closer.

A few minutes later and Jumbo comes strutting up the hill towards my lady! I didn't have a turkey call cause I didnt know how to use one or what to say even if I did know how to use it, but this big boy was coming up the hill anyways. Let me just say that this dude was no small youngin, he was the real deal, the king. I had seen this part on TV enough times to know that this dude was coming in and was going to put on a show so I decided just to watch for awhile.

At one point he had his neck straight up and was standing about 30 yards away, but I didnt even have a thought about a taking a shot. I was a purist just like everyone on TV and wanted to enjoy this moment forever. So anyways that turkey was still about 40 yards from getting to my decoy so I figured I would just sit back and watch and then about the time he gets ready to mate with the deke, thats when I will shoot him....

Ok, so when I figured I had about 10 more minutes left of watching this beast strut his stuff, I really only had about 10 seconds. Because before I knew it, I blinked for a split second and he was already half way down the hill with his tail tucked blazing a trail towards the timber. At that moment I knew I had been duped, not by the turkey, but by TV. TV hunting just isn't real life and it definitely didn't prepare me for what I learned on my own in those two days out in the field looking like a complete moran.

I didn't end up going back out for that last day of our turkey hunt. I just didn't feel like it. I have since learned quite a bit about turkey behaviour and proper turkey hunting tactics, but for some reason I just don't get fired up or even excited even a little bit about turkey hunting. Maybe things would be different had things gone just a bit different on that first turkey hunt, but for some reason turkeys with stuffing and gravy on thanksgiving get me more excited than do spring turkeys with spurs and beards.....


  1. Nice story, I am sure it was a great experience.

  2. Ah! now I understand why you always turn down my invite to turkey hunt! For a while there I thought maybe you just didnt like me! lol