Next week it is turkey time. Based on the volume of birds seen along the highways, this should be an outstanding harvest. It is amazing. You can drive down the highway, and they will be right along the side of the road, pecking and scratching the ground for seeds. Out in the woods or an open field, they spot you at some really long distances and take off running. Anywhere in eastern Nebraska or western Iowa where there is standing timber, crop land and a water source, you will have turkeys.
Whenever we have guests over for game, wild turkey is the favorite dish.
It is nice to have choices. There are three farms that I can hunt upon. The first is right close to home on the Iowa side along the Missouri river. Here the timber is thick. Last spring the area was flooded but is dry now, so the birds are probably roosting in these woods in the evening. The major problem is there is so much deadfall and debris that was washed into this area. This is not a good choice due to all the debris. On the east side of the levee is crop land and more timber. This ground was not affected by the rising level of the Missouri river last spring. This farm is a plethora of deer and turkey. The disadvantage is that the landowner is very generous and allows a lot of friends to hunt the ground.
I have shot a lot of really nice Toms on this farm. This will be my second choice.
The farm north of Oakland, Iowa holds a lot of deer. Last winter when the snow was on the ground, I did not see a lot of turkey sign. With the heavy cover, water close by and the crop ground, this farm should be a producer. I did not see a lot of tracks in the snow. They could have moved up off the bottoms during the day to feed and followed the same path to the woods to roost. I could have missed it all as I hunted deer in a really tight area, and did not roam the farm.
The landowner is very generous so this ground is available anytime. I always call and let him know when I am coming, and where I will be hunting. This is good for him to know, and it is also good for me. A change in locations will prompt a phone call to let him know where I am on the farm.
This farm is my third choice. It is third simply because in the winter, I see limited sign of turkey.
My first choice is the farm in the hills north of Fort Calhoun. This ground is not a farm, it is a meat market. I hunt this ground spring and fall, and have harvested many birds. From a small stream on the west side, the ground rises steeply from crop land to timber to pasture at the top. It then descends steeply back into timber and borders ground belonging to a non-profit organization. The non-profit ground is “no hunting allowed.” This is where it can get really exciting.
There is an erosion dam on this ground. The birds come off the roost in the early AM and go right to the dam. This is where I will make my stand, and put meat on the table. It is a great plan, but first I will go to each farm and scout the ground. I'll be looking for sign of turkeys and listening for their gobbles and calls.
A friend with a lot of experience made a turkey decoy that is deadly. He took a big tom he had shot, carefully skinned it out completely. Saved the fan. Severed the head and the neck in one piece. Then he stretched the body feathers over a styrofoam model he had made. Attached the fan and the head and neck, and there it was a very life like decoy. It was un real. In the field the toms literally attacked it, and he could pick out the one he wanted.
Now you don't have to go to all that work. Click on the Bass Pro banner on this blog or website, and go direct to the turkey section. There you will see the almost exact same thing, feathers and all. It is pricey. I have seen this type of decoy work.
This should be an exciting season.
Good fishing, good hunting, and good luck Hank
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