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4th Season Gobbler


Land of the Whitetail
I took it down to the wire this year. I was fortunate enough to fill my tag this past Saturday 5/11, second to last day of the season. I usually get an archery tag and then a 4 season tag every year so I can hunt every weekend of the seasons. I didnt end up going the weekend of 3rd season though due to poor weather conditions.

The weekend of 2nd season I probably should of had it done with my bow. I set up my blind on the top of big ridge that morning, that was a workout hiking in with the blind, bow, decoys, and a blanket etc in the dark. Its a big ridge. About 9 AM I heard a gobble working my way. I called and heard it again closer, then again and I quick grabbed my bow. Sure enough here comes not just one, but 5 toms all coming right to me! It wasnt just one gobble I was hearing, they would all gobble in unison at the same it, that was super cool! I felt really confident they were going to come right up to my decoys at like 5 yards. Instead they hung about about 20 yards out for a minute. I still felt like they would move in and try to beat up the jake decoy so I held out set up ready to draw waiting for them come in, but...they turned and left back the way the came....crap! I'm shooting the magnus d-cap heads and Ive never target shot one of those heads beyond maybe 15 yards, so between them holding up at 20 and feeling like they would surely come in to the decoy I never even drew back. What a bummer. Hindsight I should have shot when they were standing around at 20 yards, Im sure that head would have been fine at 20. Oh well, it was quite a show to see them come stomping in with their bright red heads and all gobbling in unison so close.

Quick photo I took of them at about 20 yards, you can see 4 of the 5:

Fast forward to the second weekend of 4th season. I set up on a ridge that has a steep drop to a creek on one side thinking this may help funnel them past me. Every morning of hunting so far I would hear gobbles across the property line to the east and southeast so I decided to set up near there in hopes of calling one over. Called in a couple hens, but the excitment that morning was calling in a coyote. I saw him through the timber 100 yards or so out. Once he closed the distance and paused for a bit i got my gun up and ready. He sprinted all out the last 30 yards and just before got to the decoy I squeezed the trigger, only for nothing to happen and for him to tackle the decoy and take off. I forgot to take the safety off! That was nuts, never experienced anything like that and having a coyote come in like that right in front of me and just under 10 yards was intense. It actually came in again about an hour later, but from my right side and I had the gun up, but could not get swung to make a shot. Again, all the way to like 10 yards. It ended up trotting off.

Photo of the tackled decoy from where I sat:


Going into the last weekend of the season I wasnt expecting to fill a tag by this point. Other than the archery encounter I had not even seen a tom or heard a gobble on the property. They were always on the neighboring properties to the east & southeast. I'd called in a couple hens by that point, but not look on a tom. Saturday the 11th the weather was going to be awesome. I about didnt go, i let the excuses of it being this late in the season, not hearing them on the property, to much foliage, Im tired, and the check engine light on my truck coming on all about stop me from going. But with how nice it was going to be i decided to get up and go and probably end up taking a nice nap in the timber. Once again they were roosted and gobbling in the same areas, the bordering properties. This time I got way into the southeast corner and set up on ridge that over looks a small creek that flows through. I was getting them to gobble back to my calls, but didnt seem to be coming closer. Then out of the blue I got one to gobble for sure on the property, where it sounded like the same ridge that I had the encounter with the coyote. I called again and he gobbled back closer. I knew where he was and would likely be going due to that steep bluff above the creek and where he would funnel through. I quickly got up and moved a few yards to a different tree and set up facing where I expected him to come. Eventually i caught movement and he was coming my way. Probably 40 yards through the timber, but he peeled off and took a different route and I lost track of him. I dont know, 40 yards through the timber just seems sort of far for a shot with open sights, I'm sure many people would have taken the shot. After a few minutes I set back up where I had just moved from. Such a beautiful spot and vantage point over this little creek bottom. I had 11 deer filter by and a coyote again. I called every 15 minutes or so, but no responses. Maybe 10 minutes after my last call i was spacing off, looked up and and boom, theres a tom in the creek bottom maybe 20 yards directly in front of me coming at my decoy. I slowly reach for my gun and It must have seen me. Keep in mind Im up above the bottom by maybe 15 feet or so, its sort of like being in a treestand over the bottom. It putts a couple times and starts moving to my right a little quicker. I shoulder the gun and see an opening that he is going to hit at probably 25 yards. I get the gun set on the opening and once he its it I shoot and the bird drops. It happened super fast.

What an absolutely beautiful morning. You could not draw up a more perfect morning. The weather was perfect, could not ask for better conditions. Calm, warm, sunny, the creek bubbly below me, lots of wildlife and birds chirping. God is good, what an amazing creation. I was back home by 1000 and bird processed by 1130 in time to enjoy the rest of the day. I dont mind staying out hunting until midday, but it sure is nice to have a fairly quick morning hunt, be successful, and be home and all cleaned up before even lunch time.

I think I've had my IowaWhitetail sweatshirt on for nearly every turkey I've shot.


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