Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
For the second time in a week, we woke up to find the North Iowa landscape totally covered by a layer of heavy wet snow. The snow goose decoys are also buried, of course, white on white — a real bummer since new snow geese were moving into the area [and coming to the decoys] yesterday afternoon.
In spite of the snow, there was no need to waste the morning, however. While waiting for the white stuff to melt, I decided to see what the local gobblers would be up too. In spite of a dreary, heavily overcast sunrise the toms were going absolutely nuts at first light. The hens began to fly down early and the woods was soon rocking with their overlapping raucous yelping. The early morning ground show was soon joined by jakes and toms. Before long, I was surrounded by around 20 [maybe more] hens and at least 10 jakes and gobblers. The fact that the males were a soggy, bedraggled mess didn’t seem to dampen their enthusiasm in the least. In addition to nonstop strutting, the birds eagerly sounded off at the least provocation — everything from my calling to hammering woodpeckers and passing crows. The morning was capped off when a bearded hen walked within a few yards.
Hopefully the goose field will be clear of snow by afternoon. Regardless, the daybreak Gobble Fest provided a great kickoff to an otherwise dreary morning!