The 2014 Iowa Spring Turkey Season is underway. As Iowans, we are lucky to have healthy Turkey populations throughout much of our State. The higher consentrations of birds a in the Southern and Northeastern parts of the State. While the people hunting these areas have it a little easier, it is not impossible to fill your tag in other regions. Here are a few tips to help you find success in the field.
1: Understand some Turkey breeding basics. Turkeys go through 3 basic breeding phases in the Spring. Seeking, breeding, and nesting. You will find your best success in pursuit of an Ol’ Tom during the seeking and nesting phases. During the seaking phase, Toms are actively looking for hens to breed, and are vulnerable to decoys and calls. During the breeding phase, Toms are generally with a hen(s) and are unlikely to be tempted by another until the hen they are with is done breeding and starts nesting. Finally, the nesting phase. Once a bred hen builds its nest, Toms will go out in search of more hens to breed.
2: Scout. In parts of the State, scouting is less important than others. If you want to increase your odds of success, regardless of where you hunt, you will become familiar with Turkey habits. Know where they roost, know where they travel, know where the feed, and know where they strut. A strutting Turkey wants to be seen, but its tougher to set up on a bird that is already out and strutting than it is to catch him off the roost or while he is traveling.
3: Be mobile. If you are a bow hunter, this advise is a bit tougher for you. Sometimes Turkey don’t do exactly what you expect them to do. If a Tom you are hunting heads out a different direction, don’t be afraid to circle around him and hunt a fresh set. Just be stealthy when you do it.
4: Be patient. When you engage a gobble, sometimes they come right to you. Other times, for whatever reason, they hang up. If you are confident that the last gobble you heard was closer than the first one, then that bird has closed the distance. Be still and give him time to make a mistake.
Turkey hunting combines all of the elements that most passionate outdoorsmen and women find appealing. From start to finish, Turkey hunting is one of the great hunting experiences in the great Iowa Outdoors.