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ProStaffer Perry Peterson's Turkey Tales


ProStaffer Perry Peterson Takes an Iowa State Record Turkey

Editor’s Note: Perry Peterson of Manchester, Iowa, is Mossy Oak’s turkey manager for nine states in the Midwest. He has been hunting turkeys since 1994, and wearing Mossy Oak for the last 12 years. 

Four or five years ago, I harvested the state-record turkey in Iowa. We have a 240-acre hunting farm in Clayton County in northeast Iowa where one of the neighbors also lets us hunt on his 600 acres, and we have another big parcel of 1,000 acres we can hunt. The fall before this hunt we had seen a really-big turkey standing on a gravel road. We were almost positive that the longbeard had 2-inch spurs. We could see him strutting from the road every day and noticed he was staying in the same area where we had seen him in the fall. He went out strutting in the afternoon to encourage the last few hens available to come to him. We stayed away from this gobbler the entire season, since we didn’t want to bump him and cause him to leave the area. We decided to wait and hunt him when we had the best chance to try and take this bird. 

Peterson1_llOn the last day of the season, we made our play on this big ole gobbler. That morning we spotted the gobbler in a planted corn field strutting by himself. Later in the morning, he was gone. The only place to set-up there was in a patch of green grass out in the middle of the corn field. I wore Mossy Oak Obsession from head to toe, because it had a green color to it. I thought this pattern would help me to become invisible in the grass. I didn’t use a decoy, since I wasn’t sure where this gobbler had left the field. My buddy stayed back near the car with his binoculars to see if the gobbler came out in a part of the field that I couldn’t see. By the time I got set-up, my watch reported 10:00 am. I made my first series of calls with a Primos ( diaphragm turkey call to try and get the turkey to gobble. But instead of gobbling, he stepped out of the woods into the field 35-yards from me. I waited until he came 10-yards closer and took the shot. 

The gobbler tipped over and lay still on the ground. I walked up to the bird and turned him over, and I could see his spurs were enormous. When I first had seen the turkey, I knew his beard was exceptionally long. When we measured him, the beard was 13-1/2-inches long, and each spur measured 2-1/8-inches. When we put the bird on the scales, he weighed 26 pounds. I knew for certain this was the big gobbler we’d been searching for, because he was so much bigger than all the other turkeys we’d seen that season. I registered him with the National Wild Turkey Federation, the only official scoring organization right now. Not only was this gobbler the Iowa state record, he also was the number-two bird ever taken in the Eastern Typical category. Iowa has an exceptional number of big corn-fed turkeys. The biggest gobbler I ever have harvested there weighed 29 pounds, 15 ounces. That bird had 1-3/4-inch spurs and a 12-1/2-inch beard. If I had registered that bird, he would have been the number-three gobbler ever taken in Iowa. 

Tomorrow: Perry Peterson Takes a Three-Bearded Turkey

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