Opening day of the 2022 turkey season in Iowa, I confidently purchased the initial season. This is a risk as it only lasts three days, but my confidence was high. I am the only hunter allowed on this ground other than the land owner and it is a general meat market.
There is my man “Funky.” He is doing his thing standing like a statue waiting for some big tom to come and beat him up. He has a defender, however sitting back to the one side of the tree, and if a tom gets close, he goes to the oven.
An old turkey hunter told me that most big toms are harvested between and 8 AM and 1 PM. Over the years, I have found this to be true and no longer get up before it is daylight to be on a spot before they come off the roost.
On the farm just before 8 AM, I was set up by 08:30. It is mid April in SW Iowa and there is little cover as the cold has lasted later than normal. What is really interesting is we only had one snow storm, otherwise there was no moisture. If you are farming this is not good.
Letting the woods settle down, some calls were made just to let the resident toms know there were hens in the area. There was no reply, and that is not good. However after about 10 minutes, there was a gobble off in the distance. Waiting about 15 minutes some yelps and clucks were sent out to the boys, but there was no answer. Now this bothers me as if turkeys are being heard, and the toms shooting off their mouths, it is a good sign and signals success will happen.
The farmer had run a chisel over the ground and it was slightly chewed up. At first this bothered me, but then a pair of Canada geese flew in, and started scratching and digging up seeds and shoots. Then another pair came in and landed and started feeding also. I then said to myself, “self says I,” this is a good thing turkeys will see this.
I did not expect to see this. Two Canada geese flew in and started what geese do, eat. Another pair flew in off to my left. Having the two pair there is a good thing for security.
It wasn’t long and to the north of me just entering the field was about 10 big black blobs slowly moving toward my hiding place doing their turkey thing. Scratch and peck at the ground as they turn up something to eat. I glassed them, and it was a mixture of hens and jakes and they were moving my way. Now when it comes to feeding, a jake tastes just as good as a big tom, which means I am not too particular.
Generally I see a big tom or two running with the jakes and hens, but a big boy was not there. Still, meat is meat if they come within range. A big tom would come straight towards Funky immediately when he spotted him.
Not moving but keeping a focus on the movement as the birds made their way toward me. This is where hunting with Funky is most important. I am not well hidden, and in fact I was a little exposed. However, I wear a leaf suit and every piece of flesh is covered. I sit in a folding chair with my stick across my lap.
Within a 100 yards a head came up and stared straight at Funky. Three big jakes then came straight toward Funky. I got ready as meat is meat.
All of a sudden they pulled off to my right and started to move away just as I was getting ready to harvest a turkey.
They did not run, but were definitely spooked. Then off to my left here came a nice big fat tom coming up from behind me on my left. I did not see him as I was focused on the birds right in front of me. He came to do battle with Funky, and lost.
Behind me there is a road that leads down to a pond. He cam sneaking up the road to my left and as he came around the corner, I was already to harvest a jake. My good luck and his bad luck. Not a big bird, but he will eat well.
Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck, Hank.