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TJ Nagel has been involved in the outdoors his entire life. Hunting and fishing at every opportunity!

An Iowa Turkey Day


I was happy to get the call from my good friend and fellow Mossy Oak pro-staffer, and oh yeah founder of Victory Outdoors Curt Goettsch, However, The offer to do a fall turkey hunt in the middle of November in Iowa is more than just a little hard to comprehend. As a matter of fact if we would have scheduled this hunt on the calendar before the season started, I would have questioned his sanity! No one schedules a turkey hunt in Iowa during the middle of the rut! So if this call is coming in from one deer hunting fanatic to another, you guessed it, we are tagged out on our deer.

So our adventure begins with me traveling three hours to meet Curt at his house, Plans are made and stories are told with a wake up time of 4:30 decided upon for the mornings hunt. We would be hunting some of the most game rich and beautiful ground in all of the United States! I would like to thank Curt for giving me the opportunity to hunt on such a place! Although if you we to give me a winning lottery ticket I couldn’t tell you where they are. Not because I’m not good with directions, or I’m such a good friend that I wouldn’t ever tell anyone, but it’s hard to navigate when your blindfolded and thrown in a trunk before you leave the house and only get out when you arrive, so sorry don’t ask.

Upon arrival to the Holy Grail of hunting woods, I was un-bound and blind fold removed to see a stretch of woods that was a perfect hardwood that hold turkey and deer. As we walk into the area in complete darkness Curt knew exactly where we would sit. A flat that turkeys are known to fly down to at first light before working off to the adjacent crop fields to fill their craw full of corn and beans. After only moments of leaning up against the large oak, a familiar sound of leaves rustling in the timber edge behind us caught our attention. As we looked through the pre-dawn darkness struggling to see the maker of the noise; “it’s Shorty!” A 4 or 5 year old 170” 10pt that was on Curt’s shoot on site bow hunting list! As we watched the monarch walk less than 15 yards from us, make a scrape and leave to find a few does, I was in complete awe!! Only to have a second hit list 9pt buck walk the same trail some 15 min later! But no turkeys-what a crappy guide…

TJ Nagel

So it’s back to getting blind folded, tied up and thrown in the back, off to the next location. I don’t know if it’s possible to be at a better spot than the first one, but this was it!!! Before we could even leave the farm easement turkeys were sighted up the hill. A quick re-adjustment and a climb straight up hill we were on the turkeys! We set up just at the cusp of a hillside, hoping we would have the flock come to inspect the foreign calls that we would throw their way. Well, it didn’t happen exactly that way. The turkeys never came in (I’m blaming it on Curt’s inadequate calling abilities, good thing I threw some calls in my vest to help out)

After a short break and re-evaluation to make a new plan (well it was really for me to give Curt a few quick calling lessons, so we wouldn’t run into the same situation again) we set up along the edge of a large picked corn field. With turkeys responding and coming to our calls, we were amazed when we saw a trespasser walking aimlessly down the edge of the corn field! With the turkeys now busted over the hill, it was time to re-locate up the hill another 100-200 yards in the direction the turkeys had fled.

Curtis Goettsch

As we slowly worked our way up the hill I saw movement-a doe poking her head up to see what all the commotion was. We quickly saw movement behind her in the thick underbrush. A huge buck stood up some 40 yards from us! And when I say huge, let me restate that, I meant HUUUGE!! This was maybe the largest deer I have ever seen in person in the woods! A true behemoth! Watching the giant slowly walk away after his prized doe, we stood there in complete amazement, discussing the size and guessing what he might score. We were interrupted by movement up the hill in the exact direction the monster and doe had just gone. However this was a small yearling buck that found us interesting and couldn’t leave us alone for some half hour before Curt had enough and moved to scare the buck off, but it took just a little more than a little movement to get him to go.

“Well-now what”? I asked Curt, “Let’s check the field edge, maybe they headed back up there to grab a bite before they go to roost” As we made our way slowly to the field edge, Curt peeked over the edge of the thick brush only to have the sudden motionless stop and retreat that any hunter knows means something was just seen. “There are probably 40 or 50 turkeys right there in the corner”, “How close” I asked, “within shooting range of the corner”. Immediately dropping down on all fours we started the crawl up to the corner. Curt Stopped some three or four yards short of the edge to peek and reposition. Slowly coming straight back down to a full crouch position, he told me we were just busted. But to our surprise, the young birds didn’t descend over the hill, but ran straight toward us.
At about ten yards, I told Curt to call the shot and I would follow. When the lead birds hit about Three yards I saw Curt come up to his knees..I followed suit waiting to hear the blast of the Winchester Super X2 sound off, but the only thing I heard was an “Click”, wasting no time I settled my front bead of my Tru-Glo sights from my Winchester Super X3 on the largest bird in the field and pulled the trigger. I instantly saw wings flapping in the picked corn, but to my surprise, I saw a second bird that had taken some of my #6 Winchester turkey loads. I saw Curt re-shoulder his gun and unleashed on one of the hens in the field. Just like that we are done! Three tags-three turkeys, one great day!

TJ Nagel

A few high fives before we tagged our birds, some pictures and we started the long walk back to the truck. What a great day! In all seriousness, I would like to thank Curt for the opportunity to hunt with him on some of the best land I have ever had the chance to hunt on, EVER!. And Thank you for your expertise in calling, It’s not every day you get a chance to have a champion turkey caller behind you in the turkey hunting woods. This is a hunt that will be etched in my mind forever! Thanks Curt- what a great year!


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