Thunderous calls from competing Toms trying to out-do one another for the affection from nearby hens will be rattling through Iowa’s timber later this month marking the beginning of the wild turkey breeding season. 
   This spring ritual is witnessed annually by about 50,000 Iowa hunters who attempt to mimic the call of a lonely hen, and then wait for a frustrated Tom to come searching her out.
   That’s no easy task.
   Iowa’s spring turkey hunting begins April 7 with a youth only season, followed by five individual seasons beginning April 16.
   “Do your scouting before the season and be prepared for all types of weather. It doesn’t guarantee success, but you will be in much better position to bag a gobbler,” said Jim Coffey, forest wildlife research biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
   Coffey said reports are coming in of groups with 3-5 gobblers, which means it should be another good year for hunters.
   Roughly 25 percent of Iowa turkey hunters harvest a bird, which totaled around 12,000 turkeys last year.

Watch for other hunters
   Turkey hunters spend a lot of time and money on gear to blend in to the background. When going out, never assume that you are the only hunter in the timber, even if hunting on private land.
   “Ask the landowner if anyone else has permission to be on their ground and if they do, try to find out where they will be hunting so to avoid disturbing each other,” Coffey said.
   Hunters are encouraged to brush up on safety tips, including avoiding wearing clothes with patriotic colors (red white or blue) as those colors are also found in the head of a Tom. Be sure to see the turkey’s beard and look beyond the bird before taking the shot.

Report your harvest
   The turkey is down, tagged and on its way to the truck. But the harvest is not complete until the turkey is registered; either online, over the phone or at a license vendor.
   Online, it takes just a couple minutes. Go to  From there, scroll down and follow instructions. Be ready to enter your tag’s nine-digit harvest report number. By phone? Call 800-771-4692.
   The turkey should be reported by the hunter whose name is on the tag and it must come before midnight, the day after it is tagged.