Well, after getting dinged last year for posting a picture and no story, I'll do it right the first time this year. :)
This is my second straight season getting a turkey. Last season was my third or fourth go at it. This season starting in the fall (we had a very very mild winter) we were seeing turkeys where we deer hunt (private land). This is strange as we've never seen them in great numbers and really only in passing. They were gobbling like spring during November. I called in five toms on November 20th yelping with my mouth while I was bow hunting. They were about 40 yards away from my treestand strutting to beat the band once I made some hen noises to them.
So mid-March my dad and I headed out early one morning to do some turkey scouting and coyote hunting. We were greeted with gobbles. Turkey season was still a full month away so dad headed out a few times between and had similar results. We made plans to hunt second season together (four seasons in Iowa) which started April 20.
So I headed back home (I live 80 miles west of my parents) to hunt with dad on Saturday/Sunday. I claimed the spot I had liked when we first scouted. We got to the "hooting zone", I hooted, and we were answered by two or three gobblers right where we expected. The property couldn't possibly be setup any better... two big hills with a roadway running between them (the profile roughly of a capital M). They are roosted right along the roadway. Perfect. So we slip around the backside of the hill hooting about half way to make sure we don't spook anything where we don't expect them. Dad slipped into his spot under a cedar tree and I continued around the hill to a deadfall. I placed my hen decoy about 7-8 yards behind me and off to the side and I sat with a perfect view down the roadway.
Gobbles continue as the morning moves towards daybreak and legal shooting time of 5:45ish. I softly call a few times just to let the gobblers know where I'm at. It gets to "that time of the morning" and a jake that's roosted in a big tree close to my dad flys down right over my dad who can feel the air move as he drop down towards the roadway... the trees were leafed out so early this year (it was 80 degrees leading up to turkey seasons) we figure that he has just as difficult a time seeing us on the ground as we do seeing him in the tree. A short time later I watch a turkey drop down onto the roadway. I give a few soft yelps and they are answered by a tom and jake (both gobbling from the roadway). Both turkeys head straight up the road towards me, the tom strutting on and off the whole way. Both of them gobbling their brains out the entire way up the road. I call sparingly and only when I fear the tom may lose interest. Once he gets to about 50 yards or so he must notice my decoy because he breaks strut and trots straight towards me, stopping only to gobble when he's about 20 yards out. My gun has been in position all morning, all I have to do is wait for him to close a little bit on the decoy and he's mine.
He closes the distance he needed to, I drop my head down on the stock of my gun and drop him at roughly 10 yards... maybe 15. He didn't even flap or twitch. I was shaking... it was awesome! So I sit for about five minutes hoping something shows itself for my dad to make an attempt to fill his tag. Suddenly the tom I had just dropped in his tracks stands up, head alert, and starts running like he's going to take off flying. So I take off after him. Thankfully he wasn't really going to go anywhere and I caught up to him and knocked him down.
25 pounds, 10.5" beard, and 1" spurs. We weighed it on my dad's bow scale, he claims it is accurate. All I know is it was bigger than the turkey I killed last year which was about 21.5 pounds (which was probably a year younger). This one had some beard rot.
All-in-all it was an absolute blast! My dad couldn't have been happier... we aren't "hardcore" turkey hunters and this is the first year dad has really scouted and figured them out so he was excited. I always put time in prior to the season but I hunt public land around here and it's always a crapshoot as to if someone will go in and ruin your gameplan.
My phone will not send the picture right now, so I will be back later to post the picture... sorry! :( Actually, I guess I won't be doing it right the first time...