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Memorable Iowa Turkey Hunts with Youngsters


I have been taking youngsters turkey hunting with me for the last 20 years. To me there is nothing more fun than watching a youngster get all excited when he or she sees one of those big gobblers coming in to my calls, strutting and drumming and about to gobble his head off. It really does not matter whether the kid shoots the turkey or not. The joy and excitement I get from watching those little fellows when they spot a gobbler is as much fun, if not more fun, for me than watching the turkey. For me, one of the greatest aspects of turkey hunting is watching a youngster take his or her first gobbler, seeing how happy and excited they are and knowing that I have infected another young person with gobbler fever.  

I remember when my daughter, Alyssa, was 7 years old. She was hunting with her cousin - they were born 3 days apart. Her cousin’s dad and I had set up two blinds, side by side, and each one of us was in a blind with our daughter. An hour after sunup, I started calling, and three gobblers came in to the blinds. They came down a fence line and went right to a jake decoy I’d set out in front of the blinds. They pushed the decoy, and they were only 4-5 feet from the windows of the blinds. They had knocked the decoy over. Alyssa shot the first gobbler as he came in to knock the decoy over. A second gobbler jumped up and ran about 10 yards. I started calling. That second gobbler came in, and Bella Rhea, Alyssa’s cousin, shot the second gobbler. The gobbler that Alyssa took was her second gobbler, but the turkey Bella shot was the first gobbler she’d ever taken, and this turkey hunt was only her second. For my daughter and her cousin to each take a turkey on the same day in the same place, and I was there for the whole show was a memory I never will forget. I know Alyssa never will forget it, and neither will Bella and her dad, Gene Rhea. Gene was not a big turkey hunter the day the two girls doubled, but ever since that day, he’s become totally hooked on turkey hunting and taking his children turkey hunting. When the trip was planned, we had planned for the girls to spend 3 days together at the farm. Then hopefully both girls could bag a gobbler on that first morning, giving them 2-1/2 days to hang out together on the farm and just be cousins. Memories don’t get much better than that.

Day 3: Iowa Has Had a Strange Turkey Season in 2017

Tomorrow: Frustrating Turkey Hunts

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