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While we’re not about to give away anybody’s prized hunting spot, there are areas better than others when it comes to turkey hunting. Use these tips to scout out your own site this year, And don’t forget to brush up on your basic turkey hunting safety tips:
You can stay close to home. Wild turkeys are found in all 99 Iowa counties and can be found in deep forest to riparian areas along streams (tip: turkeys do need trees to roost in at night). If you want to hunt private land, be sure to ask the landowner’s permission first. If you’re looking for a spot on public land, try the Iowa Hunter’s Atlas to find a spot not too far from home.
Or you can venture out. A trip to western Iowa’s Loess Hills, or northeast Iowa’s Yellow River State Forest can provide a unique hunting experience. Southeast Iowa is always a perennial favorite too, as about two-thirds of Iowa’s timber is located in the eastern third of the state.
Avoid open areas. The more open the country, the easier it is for a turkey to see an approaching hunter (and remember, they can see better than humans can). Blend in to the background if you want to see more birds. You don’t need a big property for a successful hunt, as many turkeys can be found on small 40-acre parcels.
Look for turkey paradise. The ultimate land mix to find turkey includes about a quarter timber, a quarter agricultural crop, a quarter of grasslands and the last quarter in mixed shrubs. This mix gives turkeys everything they need in a relatively small area.
It’s all in the timing. Rather than try to get out in the woods for the first gobble, go out a little later, like around 9 a.m., and you may have the area all to yourself. Also plan ahead for what the property will look like when you’re hunting – the timber will change a lot from early April to mid-May, reducing the distance hunters can see. Continually check your distance for your zone of fire.
Call me maybe. A common mistake is calling too much. You only want to tease the bird. Once you call, just stay put, because that turkey knows where you are.
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