Spring Turkeys

Spring Turkeys

Jul 22, 2013

A few days ago a younger hunter asked me when, considering the “snow and late spring weather”, I thought the turkeys might start gobbling.  When I noted that I’d already heard some sporadic gobbling nearly a month ago during that late February warm up, he looked at me as if a third eye had suddenly sprouted from my forehead.
I thought of that encounter as I sat in the photo blind last Friday morning.  The temps were already pushing toward the lower 20s when, around 7:45, I heard a double gobble.  I ripped off a few notes with the antique Tom Turpin yelper and the tom roared back.  Within minutes, the gobbler came into view — struttin’ his stuff and dragging his wings through the snow.  I kept calling and, at one point, the gobbler approached close enough that I could have almost whacked him with a stick.
Two hens arrived on the scene, and the gobbler immediately lost interest in any further conversations with me.  After just walking around for a couple of minutes, one of the hens suddenly went submissive.  When the fanned out gobbler turned his back and started marching the opposite direction, the hen jumped up, cut him off, and resubmitted.  This time, the tom paid attention.  After mating with the hen, the gobbler strutted out of sight over the top of ridge.  The last I saw of the Long Beard was a retreating fan and the sound of ever distant gobbling echoing through the timber.  As the tom disappeared I couldn’t help wondering what that younger hunter would have thought of the whole deal.  Don’t think I’ll bother to pass the information along.  — Speaking of information, the regular Iowa turkey season opens a few weeks from now in mid-April.  I just finished reading a news release stating that Iowa’s spring turkey hunting is set to “coincide with pre-breeding activity and then breeding activity of the big gamebirds”.  Just sayin’.