With Iowa hunters now settling into the traditional spring turkey season, younger hunters can chalk up another season of hunting experience. The extended youth season offered a bonus for them; extra days in the woods, learning more about the outdoors….and maybe how to persuade a love-struck tom to strut within range.
Blake Moser moved quickly to Plan B. He got his gobbler Opening Day, after four hours of sitting, listening, calling, moving and calling some more brought in a 24-pound, 10-ounce tom, with a 10¼ inch beard…1 3/8 inch spurs. The 15-year old, from North Liberty, was hunting in northeast Iowa with his grandpa Rod Moser and uncle J.J. Moser.
The big bird went down with one shot, at about 25 yards; after a long route up, over and around a wooded ravine near Wadena. It was his third youth season gobbler in three years, all within a couple hundred yards of this year’s spot.
“I was kind of excited. I couldn’t believe I got the bird after how long it took,” recalled Blake.
They had been calling for an hour and a half; and that was after relocating from their original pre-dawn spot.
“We were overlooking a ditch; a valley. I was posted up behind a tree. We moved to a better spot. He walked out of some bushes and was headed behind the trees. It was not a good chance (until Grandpa Rod called one more time), just before the trees. He stuck his head up….”
And that’s all Blake needed to drop the fanned out gobbler.
“We had called in four jakes and a gobbler (early). There was a whole group we talked off the roost. Looked like seven gobblers and a couple hens. After a couple hours, though, the ravine seemed to be too big an obstacle for any gobbler to cross,” said Rod.
The hunters moved to the other side, up into a nook of the nearby field. “One came right at us. He was fanned out and turned.”
The new set up seemed to be a good spot. The tom walked out the upper end of some briars and headed toward them.
“We called back and forth; slate calls and mouth calls,” recalls Rod.
The dueling calls, and changing from one to another, made it sound like a harem of hens yelping just a few struts away.
“I called. (The gobbler) raised his head. I didn’t have to say ‘shoot.’ The bird went down and stayed down,” recounted Rod. “I told (Blake) to put the safety on…and go get your bird!”
More than 3,400 youth hunters were licensed for the early season…expanded from three to nine days this year. In the woods, each is supervised by a license-carrying adult who is not carrying a gun or bow. Instead, that adult works with the young hunter, teaching him or her how to do it right.
Even though he was done early, Blake still enjoyed the time in the woods.
“It’s nice hearing all the turkeys (They heard about 20 gobblers in the area, Saturday morning.); I like being around all the wildlife, the animals,” he said.
Now, the regular season hunters take their turns in the woods.