Iowa’s Spring Turkey Hunt is Just Around the Corner - Iowa Wildlife Federation

Iowa’s Spring Turkey Hunt is Just Around the Corner

Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.

The first segment of Iowa’s five-part, spring turkey season kicks off April 5 with the opening of the annual special Youth Season, followed by the first segment of the regular hunting seasons on April 8.  The season’s fourth and final segment runs until May 12.  For outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of season choices and the potential for a lot of turkey hunting.  This year’s unseasonably warm temperatures are making the wait until opening day seem even longer and hunters are already pacing the floor in anticipation of the upcoming season.  The fact that mature gobblers are already making the timbers echo with their staccato gobbling isn’t helping to ease the pain.

A pair of spring gobblers square off.  Few outdoor dramas are more spectacular than when a couple of long bearded heavyweights vie for dominance.

The good news is that there is no need to wait until hunting season to hit the woodlands.  With wintering flocks beginning to split up and move to new habitats, now is the perfect time for some good old fashioned, boots on the ground spring scouting.    

There are several incentivesfor hunters to get into the timber well in advance of legal hunting seasons.  Generally speaking, spring mornings are crisp and invigorating.  As the hours of daylight continue to lengthen, the predawn gobbling increases in volume and intensity.  When roosted birds finally hit the ground, they rarely fail to provide dramatic displays that include in-your-face gobbling, nonstop strutting, and if you’re extremely fortunate, a good old-fashioned Gobbler Smack Down.  Those who’ve enjoyed a ring side seat know that few wildlife dramas are more breath taking than when a couple of long bearded, needle-spurred heavyweights vie for dominance.

When roosted birds finally hit the ground, they rarely fail to provide dramatic displays of in-your-face gobbling.

In addition to their entertainment value, preseason forays also have a practical side.  They offer a chance to explore new territories or to become reacquainted with familiar haunts.  They also provide spring turkey enthusiasts with unparalleled opportunities to look, listen and learn as wild turkeys communicate and interact within a completely natural setting.  If you really want to know what turkey calling is supposed to sound like, nothing tops the boisterous instruction of live hens.  It’s an education that can’t be matched – anywhere or by anyone.  Arming yourself with firsthand knowledge obtained directly from the wild bird itself can only serve to increase your probability of future success.

  Better hurry though.  Opening day is just around the corner.

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