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Obsessed with bowhunting whitetails and running trail cams! Love fishing, 3D Archery, camping, and teaching hunter education. Been a member of the Mossy Oak ProStaff since 2008 and is excited to become a part of the team here at Victory Outdoors.

Dan’s Spring Recap


I had a rough time during the fourth Iowa spring turkey season this year. I was only able to hunt on the weekends, and I only ended up making it out for five or six hunts. The first weekend of the season was a no go due to my wife being out of town Saturday and Mother’s day on Sunday. The second weekend I set up over the same CRP field where I killed my second season bird, but along a different side. There were several deer that passed through, but the turkeys weren’t in the area that day.


Before I headed home, I pulled cards from my trail cams to get a better idea where the birds were hanging out. I had to move several of them because I set them low and the vegetation had overtaken them. After seeing a lot of activity in the river bottom on the cameras, the next morning I thought I had it figured out. I set up in an area that was pretty frequently traveled and there were also several dusting spots due to the sandy soil. By 7:30am I had six hens in front of me and two that had made their way past, as well as at least three birds gobbling their heads off out of sight but no more than 100 yards away. Then I heard a dreaded “putt” from one of the hens.


The two birds that had gone past came running back and they all disappeared into the timber. After a few minutes of wondering what just happened I heard talking. After twenty or so minutes of talking and no more gobbling, I decided to investigate. Setting up in the dark I didn’t see the kayaks and tents on the sandbar across the river about 75 yards downstream. With all the campers waking up, I knew the birds weren’t going to want to be in the area, so I headed home.

The final weekend I couldn’t hunt Saturday morning, so I headed into the timber around 1pm. I went to an area on a ridge that is always a good travel corridor, but the vegetation was so tall I’m not sure how much it is currently being used. There was no activity on that ridge that day. The next morning was going to be my last hunt of the season.  I went back to the same general place in the river bottom as the previous week, but I set up closer to where the gobbling had come from. I got in early and set up quietly, but I think I got between a couple toms that had been hanging out together. Around 5:30 a gobbler flew down in the timber across the opening from me roughly 80 yards away. A couple minutes later I had three deer in my decoys. They were acting spooky so I yelped a few times to try to move them off without too much commotion. Two went back the way they came and one stood about 8 yards from me for close to ten minutes.

19199A bird flew off the roost about 25 yards behind me and it glided out of sight. I was pretty bummed I had set up so close and probably messed up the whole hunt. A couple more deer made their way through my setup, so I yelped a couple times at them. I knew that first bird had flown down but there was so much tall grass between us I couldn’t see him. When I yelped at the deer, I noticed a fan arcing over the grass. He was still there, and now he started gobbling. I yelped softly a few times and he answered. All I could see was the top of his tail feathers. He strutted around over there for over an hour. He moved down the river around 75 yards, then made his way back toward me.20336 I was hopeful he would come into the open since he was still hanging around. It was nearly 7:00 when another bird flew down from behind me but this one pitched right into the opening about 40 yards away. There was a lot of thick brush between us so I didn’t get a good look, but I think it was a jake. A small hen was walking along the edge toward my decoys and that bird landed just behind her. During the time I was calling to that tom I had let my gun down and needed to reposition it, because at this point, I was going to shoot that jake if I had the opportunity. He was behind all that brush so when I had a moment where I thought she wouldn’t see me I slowly made my move. I guess it wasn’t slowly enough, because he must have seen me. He gave a couple putts, then she did. She ran to the decoys, then she took off and flew into the timber.

NOW he is a looker!!

NOW he is a looker!!

He disappeared into the tall weeds. The tom across the field let one more gobble and I didn’t hear another peep. I waited another hour or so, but I knew they weren’t coming back. I had blown it, and my season was over. I had a lot of fun this year and was able to tag a nice bird. I learned some things that work and some that don’t. Now it’s time to have a fun summer of camping, fishing, shooting 3D, and preparing for deer season. It’s only four months away after all.

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