Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
It’s likely that every Iowa turkey hunter has had dreams of finding themselves surrounded by cooperative spring gobblers. Although the dream usually remains unfulfilled, that’s the exact scenario that unfolded for Lake Mills Police Chief and traditional archery enthusiast Dave Thomas this weekend. After placing his blind and a single decoy in the midst of an oak timber, Thomas settled in and began calling. The calls were soon answered by a mature gobbler. Although Thomas could not see the bird through thick cover, the tom’s continued vocalizations left no doubt that the bird was on its way. As Dave continued to urge the bird on, his calling was suddenly interrupted by a raucous gobble coming from the opposite direction. Looking behind, he soon detected a pair of mature toms rapidly moving along the ridgetop spine. When the birds had approached to around 40 yards or so, the pair suddenly spotted Thomas’ decoy. Leaping off the ridge crest, the birds literally charged Thomas position; gobbling and double gobbling as they careened down the slope. Arriving at the decoy, the nearest turkey took time to physically strike the plastic counterfeit before fanning out in full display. Deciding not to wait for the third bird to make its appearance, Thomas opted to go for the shot. With the turkey still drumming and spitting in full strut, he pulled his Lonesome Wind longbow to full draw. Picking a single feather from the dozens being displayed, he released the arrow. Hand crafted by Nebraska’s Vince Smith, the rattlesnake hide covered bow shoots as good as it looks. And although the arrow found its mark, the tom never spooked at the shot. Instead, it merely walked two or three steps before falling over — stone dead. The surviving Long Beard remained to dominate the scene until Thomas eventually left the blind. The third gobbler — the one that set the whole scene in motion to begin with — never did come into view.