Turkey Murder in Iowa – Part 1

23 Apr

Sara with her 2nd turkey in 2 years… we have killer on our hands.

Sara with her 2nd turkey in 2 years… we have killer on our hands.


The walk to the blind Friday morning was easier than other years, the moon was extra bright so I didn’t even need to use my headlight. On the walk in I bumped two birds from the roost, but, for some reason I didn’t care. I made it to the blind I had set up the previous day, set up the decoys, and got comfortable in the blind.

The only sound in the timber was what I assumed to be some kind of frog and the occasional owl hoot in the distance. There were no phones ringing, no sounds of fingers on keyboards, and most of all… no co-workers. The only thing I was missing was my wife. She had to stay back one night and was going to meet up with me later in the afternoon for an evening hunt.

As the eastern sky began to get lighter any sleepiness was kicked out of my system when I heard my first gobble on the next ridge. There is something about the first gobble of every season that makes me feel like I have never been turkey hunting before. I needed this. I needed to be in the woods at this particular moment in my life. I felt that I have neglected Mother Nature for far too long and it felt great.

The amount of gobbling in the timber on this morning made it seem like there were 50 toms roosted, everywhere except the ridge I was on. As they always do, the gobbling started to fade away as the morning progressed until I went 45 minutes without hearing a gobble. I packed up and a decided to change the location of the blind before I headed in for lunch and a nap… a turkey camp tradition.

Sara and I were off to the woods. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Only one gobble in the distance for the four hours that we were out. Afternoon hunts are not my wife’s favorite due to an extreme case of attention deficit disorder. I don’t blame her though as a majority of the afternoon hunts in my past have resulted in me dozing off under a tree.

Saturday morning was similar to the previous morning; bright moon with just a little more wind. I placed the decoys about 20 yards in front of the blind that was set up and brushed in the night before. Although we were both tired, we were both excited. Another morning of near perfect weather conditions.

For some reason I was thinking about what the name of my first Bon Jovi album was when like a slap to the face we heard our first solo gobble. It was like that single gobble was like the alarm clock for the timber. Owls, song birds, crows… every one with their own greeting, and every time the tom responded with a gobble that echoed down the ravine. I can honestly say that this bird sounded off more times than any other bird I have ever hunted.

Imagine the face of a 5 year old when you tell them that they are going to get ice cream, my wife had the same look. I had to tell her to put the safety back on because the bird was still in the tree; she was ready. I wasn’t sure if he could see they decoys from his root so every couple minutes I let him know that we were still there.

After 30 minutes the tom decided to fly down. Still responding to the slate call the bird was working his way up the ridge away from us to the open field where we parked the truck. When I told Sara that he was probably with a hen and we may not see him I could see discourage in her eyes. My next call was extra aggressive, basically yelling “FREE SEX OVER HERE!”. The next gobble was closer. So, I did it again… the next gobble, even closer. And again, closer yet. I didn’t need to tell Sara that the bird was getting closer, she knew. I began to peek out the closed blind windows to try to get a visual on the bird. There he was, coming up from behind us, close enough to where you could hear him strutting. Boooom… boooom… booom.

Because Sara is small she needed to get out of her chair to prevent a shotgun hole in the blind. I told her to take the safety off and get ready. At this point the tom was still on the side of the blind at about 15 yards out, but when he saw the decoys he made several steps in their direction gaining several yards and putting him in sight of Sara for the first time. The gun was raised:

Dan: Can you see him?

Sara: Yes.

Dan: Do you have a shot?

Sara: No, he’s behind a tree.

Dan: What about…


She is trained well. She took the perfect shot, she didn’t need my permission, she is a killer. The turkey didn’t even flop around, he was dead in his tracks. In celebration we both gave a “yippie” or a “yay” of some sort and before I knew it Sara was out the blind running over to the bird.

She was happy, and that made me happy. These are the moments in my life that I will always remember, even when I am no longer able to hunt. After a quick photo shoot and taking time to observe the tom, we loaded up and headed back to the house for breakfast. On the drive we discussed how much fun she had and even started making plans for next year.

Sara – Thank you for being my turkey hunting partner.

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