Iowa’s final spring turkey-hunting season of 2004 is underway. The Department of Natural Resources’s Mick Klemesrud says they’re a wily prey and not everyone who got a turkey hunting license this spring will bag a bird. Klemesrud says the state has about 55-thousand turkey hunters, and they’re expected to harvest somewhere between 20 to 22-thousand turkeys. And though the wild turkey’s an elusive bird, there are also limits on the types you can take. You’re only allowed to take male turkeys or bearded females, and he adds the preferable catch is a jake of 18 pounds or so, or 3-year-old tom up to 25 or even 30 pounds. A jake’s a young male turkey, rather a teenager of the species, and while rules say a hunter can only shoot a male, the clearest visual sign of that is the hanging fleshy “beard,” but some females have that too, and if a hunter shoots what he thinks is a male and it turns out to be a bearded female, he won’t be punished for that. Your luck may vary, as Klemesrud’s heard a lot of hunting stories.One of his co-workers took her son out to see if there were any turkeys in the timber, having not bought a license or taken hunting gear, and says “they had ’em dancing in front of them” not fifteen yards away, and wished they had a video camera. Another co-worker walked into the woods as it grew dark and got a turkey within fifteen minutes, though he says others may go out and not get a clear shot all day, though with four seasons they can wait for their next chance. Advice for hunters? Klemesrud recommends not using a “gobble call” to try and attract turkeys, and taking every precaution to be seen so other hunters don’t think they’re aiming at a bird and bag a hunter instead.
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