Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Last Minute Gobbler

As I sit and write this it is 85 degrees and so humid that you break a sweat walking to the mailbox. At the end of May I can only dream of the fall season that brings duck season with it. Since that time seems like forever away, I will share a turkey hunt with you that took place just over a week ago. I had been out several times during the spring turkey season here in Iowa but I was shooting them with a camera instead of a 12 gauge. I called my dad up on saturday and asked if he wanted to join me on the last day for a turkey hunt. Since we had not hunted together all season he jumped at the chance. We decided to try a non-traditional approach since many of the toms were not as active as they were earlier in the season. Sunday morning we climbed into our texas style deer stand that is elevated 12 foot and overlooks a 2 acre food plot that was just sprouting. We knew they loved to feed on our fresh sprouts and hoped they would come for a visit. As the sun came over the eastern horizon the toms nearly went silent, except for 1. He was gobbling to every call and we had high hopes. After an hour of hearing him gobble and not getting any closer we decided to put a sneak on him. We knew that he was about 200 yards away, through some timber and most likely on the other side in the CRP field. We walked quietly listening to him gobble and as i peaked up over the knoll, there he was full strut at 100 yards with a hen right next to him. I laid in the CRP and dad went back about 40 yards and began calling. Through the grass I could see the tom gobble and strut everytime the striker hit the slate. Unfortunately, the hen he had with him was good enough and he was not even slightly interested in us. The hen however, was and she was coming on a b-line to check it out. She walked right by me at 10 yards and towards the call. Now that she was out of the toms sight I figured my best chance at getting his attention was to spoke her in the opposite direction. So I stood up and she took of running and then flew the other way. I peaked over the knoll at the tom and he was still in the same spot. Dad and I decided to tuck back down in the timber and use the logging road to our advantage which is sunk down so much that you cant be seen from the field. When we got to where we thought the tom would work better I crawled up to the field edge again while dad stayed back to call. As I peered over the knoll the tom was no where to be found. I laid there astonished wondering how in the world that tom could have been spooked. After a few rounds of calling and no response I figured it was time to head in for some of moms home cooked breakfast. I get to my knees and still no bird. I stand up and begin to turn to my dad when a red head catches my eye. 47 yards away he jumps up out of the grass and begins running toward the timber on the other side. Being a waterfowler at heart I tell myself, "You can shoot a moving bird, Shoot!" I swing my 12 gauge remington up, put a slight led on him and pull the trigger. The toms rolls and starts flopping. The hunt was over, we had bagged a nice tom on the last day of the Iowa season. It was not a traditional hunt from the start, but during the late season you have to be willing to think outside the box. It is not all about killing however, my dad has taught me that we are lucky to just be out there. When someone asks my dad if he had any luck hunting, the answer is ALWAYS "YES, I was one of the luckiest people in the world this morning because I got to go hunting." If you understand the meaning of that then you can truly call yourself a hunter.
Justin Tangeman
Eastern Iowa Pro Staff

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