Gobbler hunt provides chilling experience
by Lowell Washburn
It was something I’ve been putting off for way too long. Last weekend, I finally crossed the bridge. Finally made the decision to go cold turkey -- literally.
What I mean to say is that I literally ventured into the snow clad woodlands and attempted to bag an end of the season wild turkey -- with bow and arrow. Traditional bow hunting has become one of my favorite outdoor pastimes and wild turkeys
rank high on my list of preferred game. Although I was currently holding a valid pair of fall archery tags, I had put off hunting the elusive birds -- at least until now. But the clock was ticking and time was definitely running out. This was it -- the grand finale – now or never -- the very last weekend of this year’s archery turkey season was at hand. In spite of current inclement weather, it was time to do or die.
It probably should be noted that most Iowa turkey hunts take place in fragrant spring woodlands and are accompanied by singing birds, sunny skies, and warming temperatures. Last weekend wasn’t it. By contrast, the weather was delivering a bone numbing mix of double digit below zero temperatures, howling winds, drifting snow, and what professional weathercasters were billing as “life threatening wind chills”. Winter storm Ion was sweeping in from the north and the upper Midwest was shutting down in a big way; 70 percent of the nation would soon be under severe winter storm warnings. Not exactly the kind of weather a turkey hunter dreams of.
I decided to at least make an attempt. After weighing my options, I decided to try for a group of birds I’d encountered while bow hunting for deer. Although I didn’t know for sure where the turkeys were going each day, I did know where the birds frequently roosted and that would be a good start.
Arriving at the timber before daybreak, I set out a trio of hen decoys, popped up a ground blind, and settled in. As I quietly waited for sunrise, I began to contemplate the weather, silently hoping I could cope with the extremes and stay put long enough to see some birds. So how cold was it? Well, that depended on who you listened to; the reports varied. What I do know is this. The normal inside temperature of my chest freezer is zero degrees. The current outside temperature was already colder than that and getting lower by the second. I know what happens to stuff that spends time sitting inside my freezer. Because I had been listening to radio reports regarding the rescue of those 74 passengers stranded aboard the Russian ice breaker, Akademik Shokalskiy, I also knew that current North Iowa temperatures were colder than Antarctica. That’s right; Iowa was colder than Antarctica! It’s summer down there and at the location of the ice bound ship, temperatures had actually risen to above zero. - Read More Via e-Edition