Outside Iowa: Last minute hunting for turkeys

Iowa’s final spring turkey season of 2013 is at hand and if you are looking for your second—or even first bird of the season—don’t fret.

There are plenty of proven late season tactics that will put a beak in the dirt for you.

I love hunting the late part of Iowa’s seasons, but one thing is for sure—it can be tough.

As with every other season, and turkeys in general, the time you put into your scouting efforts will pay off big-time.

You literally can’t scout too much. Spend as many mornings listening and watching as possible, and when fourth season’s opening day finally arrives—it could be a fast and furious hunt.

There are a few tactics I reserve for the late season. This year things will be especially different due to late winter that has been making us all miserable.

Typically, as the season wanes on and hens are sitting on their nests with regularity, meaning there will be an abundance of lonely toms.

Because of this fact alone, running-and-gunning on a late season turk isn’t easier than it is now.

I have found that roost gobbling is very intense during May in Iowa, but they typically shut up and won’t respond to calls once they hit the ground.

Sure a morning hunt or two might come together, but be patient as there is a second wave of morning activity starting around 9:30-10 a.m.

Following the morning love-fest, the hens head to their nests for the day—meaning lonely gobblers.

Blinds certainly work during this time of year, but don’t be afraid to leave them in the truck and go toe-to-toe with a longbeard.

If you do decide to blind hunt, I would consider reducing the amount of decoys you to use.

In fact, as the pecking has been strongly established, most birds (not all) will shy away from a strutting decoy.

They have had their butt whooped a few too many times and will avoid the confrontation. Submissive jake decoys, however, can still be dynamite.

A single hen deke might be your best bet as it adds visual confirmation and the possibility that the dominant bird let one of his lady-friends slip through the cracks that morning.

A lone hen eliminates and chance of spooking a submissive tom and attracts his attention for the purpose of love, which for a late season bird, that will be his primary objective.

The fan-on-a-stick ploy is not new, but it is getting some well-deserved attention as of late.

Most turkey fanatics would consider this the ultimate turkey-hunting rush.

By attaching a fan to an old arrow or stick, you simply crawl towards a bird using the fan as a makeshift blind. The turkeys view it as a bold intruder and simply can’t leave it alone.

They will come running and more often than not, you’re shooting them out of self-defense at a few short yards.

I have yet to kill a bird with this tactic, but rest assured I’ll be giving it a try during this year’s late season.

Please keep safety in mind, but have fun with it. This tactic is truly ground breaking and is a tremendous way to dupe a late-season bird.

Good luck and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!

Live It Up!

Thomas resides with his wife and two children in Guthrie Center.  He is the Managing Editor with North American Fisherman, official publication for North American Fishing Club. For questions or archived articles please visit www.outsideiowa.com; tha481@gmail.com

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