Josh's Snowy Day Iowa Longbeard

Show Notes

In this episode of the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast, Josh and Pierce discuss the ups, downs, and eventual success of Josh's recent Iowa turkey hunt. 

Josh had a Period A tag for Wisconsin this year, and as luck would have it, some season 2 tags in Iowa were available that just so happened to be good for April 14-18. So Josh scooped up an Iowa tag anticipating a pretty vanilla hunt in the land of the giants. But the hunt was totally not what Josh expected. 

Josh faced intense hunting pressure, wild weather, and stubborn property line birds, but was eventually able to accomplish his long standing goal of killing a turkey in the snow. Tune in to hear the full story and how Josh rolled with the punches to make it happen! 

Show Transcript

Josh Raley: [00:00:00] All right on the line with me for this week's episode of the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast is a, once again my buddy Pearson Ellis Pierce. What's up?

Pierce Nelles: Not a lot man. Just waiting on my tur season to roll around and. And

Josh Raley: being yours a little bit. Dude it feels weird to be sitting in this [00:01:00] position right now where I waited and waited for so long and then it was go time and you hop in the car, you fill your tags, you blast home, and then it's oh I'm done for the year.

That's kind of it. Like I've got a little bit more hunting than I'll do around here, but. Because of what I just did. I'm probably not going to work up the gumption to be like, Hey, Tiffany, you should let me go hunting again. If I hadn't filled a tag or something, then maybe there would be some like, Hey, don't you feel bad for me?

I didn't get a Turkey at this point. I got nothing. Like I, I literally have no recall at this point. You've got,

Pierce Nelles: at this point, you've got the argument though of saying look at how efficient I was the first time I went up this year. I thought I could make a long weekend out of another season and

Josh Raley: be right back and we'll be feeling or filling the freezer.

That's right. You know what that's probably the best angle, actually. So now I've got kids that want to get out. So both kids, both my older two are [00:02:00] upset that I didn't bring them to Wisconsin. And I took my son on Sunday morning before church and we hunted together. I get home that day. My, my daughter, my oldest daughter walks up to me and punches me in the stomach playfully granted, but she's mad that I didn't take her Turkey hunting because Sundays are supposed to be her days.

Saturdays are my son's Sutton's days. So it, it's just a mess. I've gotta get out and do some more hunting. I will probably not be the one with a gun in my hand though. For the rest of the hunting. That's a good problem to have. It is. Yeah, dude. It's hard to explain, but I get so much more taking them hunting than I do going by myself.

It's such a richer experience in so many ways. Now, we're less likely to get on birds. We're less likely to kill something. We're definitely less likely to chase down. Like the gobble we heard the other morning. I'm like, yeah, that, that dude can have a good morning because me and this six year old are not gonna make it to him in [00:03:00] time before he flies down.

Or even make it over there quietly enough to get close. But anyway, Pierce, man I thought what we would do, I wanted to recap my hunt in. Wisconsin and in Iowa and maybe even a little bit here in Georgia since I got back, cuz I had a really good hunt Saturday morning and a pretty good hunt Sunday morning.

So I thought I'd recap all of that. But here's the thing I'm really bad at recounting my own story. Like when I come back from a trip and I'm like, all right, I'm gonna put this story out there. I have to spend a ton of time writing down notes and like almost writing out word for word what I want to say, or I'll just skip over major details.

And the next thing you know, I'm shooting a bird on, some on a property that some prominent outdoor industry person used to lease. And you're like, wait, a how did you get, how did you end up there? Like, how did, wait, how did that happen? But I would just breeze right past it. For those listening, what I've asked Pierce to do today is to play host a little bit to be the one kind of performing the interview [00:04:00] while I answer the questions.

And Pierce helps me to tell the story. Because I'm not a good enough storyteller on my own. And it's more fun to talk about the hunt because you and I haven't really gotten to sit down and talk about the whole thing. We've done pit bits and pieces. I know after I filled the tag, I think I sent you a picture and you sent me a, or you called me and you were like, what the heck is going on over there?

Because last you heard Yep. I wasn't having any luck. Like things weren't going good. There was a hailstorm and then you're then, a picture of a spent long beard XR casing goes out. But anyway, so Pierce, are you game for that today? Kind of playing host a little bit? Absolutely.

Pierce Nelles: I would be happy to.

And it was, I had so many questions too throughout the whole thing, so I was traveling all. The last weekend and everything, I was out in California on Catalina Island visiting my sister, where the reception just sucked. And so I was just getting bits and pieces of your text and I was getting, a message here, and then I'd get three messages here all at once.

And I was like, wait a minute, what's the timeline of all [00:05:00] this stuff? Yeah how did all this happen? So it wasn't until I got back to the mainland and got some Got some better reception though that I was able to finally call you and be like, dude, you've gotta fill me in on what the heck just happened in

Josh Raley: Iowa here.

And then I had another

Pierce Nelles: series of unfortunate events and car trouble that kept me from drowning you in Wisconsin. But same kind of thing. It was just all of a sudden my phone's blowing up and I'm like, what on earth? Why is there an empty shotgun? Shell, you just told me you guys didn't hear anything or somebody beat you to a spot.


Josh Raley: that stuff. So yeah, just a blur, man. The whole thing was a blur. So probably the best way to start off this episode, though, I do need to say thanks to our partners. They help us make this show possible. First up we're gonna talk about tactic cam. Now I got to film two hunts with my tactic cams.

I'm gonna do two short videos later this week where number one, I show you how I like to set up my tactic cams in relation to my Turkey hunting setups, where I found this is a very good way for me to capture all of [00:06:00] the action. The second video I'm gonna do, I'm gonna talk about what not to do when you're filming your hunt on a attack to cam camera because both of those hunts I got the footage on the 6.0, the turkey's coming in.

Boom, get the shot. And then I, because I shoot a, a pump action shotgun, I pump it to eject the, shell flip the safety on. It's like my normal thing. I don't put another shell in or anything like that right away, cuz usually the turkey's just flopping. And I stand the gun up next to me, like I get it safe.

It's not pointing in any direction or anything like that. I can go out there to my bird without worrying about walking in front of the muzzle, blah, blah, blah. What I end up doing is missing part of the footage. So boom, shot happens, turkey's down, and then boom sky is all that the camera sees.

And in my excitement, I forget to keep the camera down and point it at all the action and just wait there for a minute, to get a little bit more of that footage. I'm gonna be doing some of those, but I had the chance to hunt with the six point ohs and they're just phenomenal.

The casing on [00:07:00] these new, or the housing on these new cameras compared to the five point ohs or the 5.0 wides or the solo extremes which are all really nice. The housing though, is not circular like the old housings used to be. And that means a couple of things. Number one, it's always straight in your mountain, like used to.

Your mount on the end of your barrel could be straight, but your camera could be twisted just a little bit if you didn't get it just right. But on the six point ohs, there's no question it's in, it's right, it's in the right spot cuz the top of it's flat. And they just take great footage, great sound quality as I've found.

You can hear turkeys, turkey's gobbling on it. So that's pretty sweet. Yeah. Now I got a couple touchscreen too, right? Oh yeah. The touchscreen, which is awesome. You can glance down at the screen and see exactly what it's pointed at rather than having to pull up the app on your phone and figure out, okay, where's this thing pointed?

So I sent an email over to my contact at attack to Cam, said, Hey, got to film some, some hunts. This was great. Love these cameras. And the guy was like, awesome. Can't wait to see the footage. I'm like, oh it's [00:08:00] awesome until the shot happens. Like the footage is great, and then boom, and then it's not so good.

But Hey, you had a handful of other cameras rolling though. Oh, yeah, correct. Oh yeah. We had several at a time. Ex my Wisconsin bird, we only had the six oh and the bigger camera back behind me that my camera guy had. So we didn't even really get the full picture of that, but that's a crazy story.

We had 10 seconds to set up. That, that happened to happen quick. But next up, hunt worth, man, I have, this is my first Turkey season wearing hunt worth clothes, and it's been phenomenal. It obviously worked really well in Iowa, obviously worked really well in Wisconsin.

It's worked really well and snow nonetheless. Yeah, in the snow, in, in temperatures that I didn't expect. In wind that I was not expecting, 30 mile an hour winds with a 30 degree temperature in the morning and snow on the ground. That not what I expected. So apparently my life is just one big commercial for hunt worth and how crappy the conditions can be that you can [00:09:00] still hunt in.

Because just like with my rut Cain, back in November, I hunted in the worst of the worst Turkey weather. So my first day in Iowa, it was 80, 80 degrees or 80 something degrees or whatever it was. I'm just cooking, man. Just, it's hot outside, but I get down to just the base layers and of the, on my top.

And then the Durham lightweight pants was fine, was great. The only thing that made me miserable after that was I was wearing knee high rubber boots, and those are just the worst when it's 80 degrees outside. The next day, literally the temperature drops from 80 degrees. That's a high to The mid thirties the next day as the next morning as the low.

So it dropped 50 degrees overnight. That's a shock to the system. I don't care who you are, but the hunt worth gear kept me warm. I had a couple of pieces of warm gear, but not a ton. But man the pattern kept up. The clothing kept me comfortable, so that was awesome. Big shout out to Hunt Worth.

You can go check 'em out. Hunt worth [00:10:00] And then obviously OnX, we went from no plans to hunt in Iowa to got a tag in my pocket and know all the public places that I'm gonna hit in a week's time. Those public places didn't pan out. I go to, okay, who are some private landowners? I get permission on a private property.

I smoke a bird. And all that I think is because of OnX, because I was able to actually track down a landowner with some speed on a parcel that was, gonna be a good parcel. And one of my big things when I'm trying to find permission in these Like out of, on these out of state hunts, you might pull up a property, let's say.

And it may be, DCF w investments or such and such a farmland assets or whatever might be the landowner. Those you can be pretty sure it's, you're not gonna get in touch with them in time to, to make it happen. If you've got three or four days to hunt you're probably not gonna reach out to an investment company and get an answer on whether or not you can hunt there in a speedy [00:11:00] amount of time.

But if you find an individual, which I ended up finding an individual with like 900 acres and was a, was able to get permission to hunt there and was able to tag my Turkey there and was able to do that really quickly with with OnX. And so I went into that property blind, had never sat there before, went where the landowner told me because he was able to point it out.

And I'm using my OnX map to find my way into where I'm supposed to go. Exactly. Cuz he's serious about not tromping around on his farm. And shoot a bird there that morning sitting exactly where he told me to. So you can go check them out, OnX or you can find 'em on the app store of your choice.

And get a seven day free trial if you're not already using it. And if you are already using it, you should really consider upgrading to the elite membership. You get all kinds of perks and discounts and all kinds of cool stuff with that as well. Not to mention, you get all 50 states, which if you wanna begin to travel to hunt, and that perks list just keeps growing.

Oh, dude. All the time. And they've got these classes that are going on there now, like these Turkey hunting masterclass. Those are amazing. And then, with the, with wanting to go out of [00:12:00] state, more and more guys are trying that out. I highly recommend it. I love traveling outta state to hunt.

And if you wanna do that, the first step is having some kind of software to figure out, okay, where in the heck can I hunt and access? Because honestly, these state websites, they're not always up to date. Like a lot of times you just don't see the pr, find the properties. It's really difficult or.

If you're like, where I was in Iowa, you've gotta go. If you wanna find it from a state level, you've gotta go to individual county websites and figure out from the county exactly what places are open to hunting, or you can pull up on X and it'll tell you. So whatever you wanna do, I'd rather just get on X and have that figured out.

So big thanks to OnX. Big thanks to tax cam and hunt worth. That's outta the way. Pierce. I'm gonna let you take it from here, man. And yeah, where do you wanna go? Where do we start?

Pierce Nelles: I think we ought to start, just at the beginning of your season, you and I have been talking this entire spring.

Really pretty much since your season ended. In the fall we've [00:13:00] been making that mental shift to turkeys here. We've been chatting about where we're gonna hunt, when we're gonna hunt all that stuff. So why don't we kick it off at the start of not even your season, but you got to take your kids out as you mentioned earlier.

In the episode here why don't we start there? Grab some on a lease down in Georgia. And there happened to be some big names down there. One of them may or may not have swatted a bird from you that you had on camera, but I'll let you tell that story. Yeah, let's hear

Josh Raley: about that first.

Yeah, man, that's a good one. Ended up joining a lease because the public lands here are all quota. And so if you don't get drawn for the quota, you don't get to hunt until May 1st. And then you've got May 1st to May 15th, which if you know the south it could be 95 degrees on May 1st. I have no interest in hunting in 95 degree weather.

Not only because it doesn't feel good, but you got ticks, you've got snakes, you've got birds that aren't acting normal. You've got high humidity and lots of greenery out. So you, really to hear a bird, you've gotta be real close. And we'll get back to that maybe at the end here. But remember the other day when I text you, I said, I just heard [00:14:00] what might not have been a gobble, but I feel like I need to set up anyway.

I sat down called again, and boom, they thundered in my direction. They were 150 yards from me, so I went from right. I can't even tell if that was a gobble or a distant dog bark to, oh my gosh, those turkeys are 150 yards away. So anyway, so I wanted to join this lease and get in on this property hunting a little bit early.

And the big motivator for me was to get my kids out. I knew I would have opportunities in Iowa, Wisconsin, later season here in Georgia. I've got opportunities over in Alabama. So I knew I would get my hunting in, but I want my kids to not have to go out there and compete with everybody and their brother on public land.

I just I want them to have a better experience than that. So we joined the lease. I went out there with my son. We got on a Turkey first day, chased it around, got real close. A guy drove through on a four-wheeler. That Turkey shut up. We ended up hiking six miles that day. My son was an absolute trooper.

And I was gonna say, you guys had a heck of a day. Yeah, dude. And he's [00:15:00] just a monster. Like he scares me when it comes to Turkey hunting cuz he just wants to keep going. And I'm like, dude, phy, like physically, I don't know, he can't walk through the woods as quickly as I can, but on the roads he can keep up with me every like step for step.

And sure. I'm worried that one day we're gonna, we've got that fire in him from having those Yeah. Yeah. From his first experience that fire in him from having those

Pierce Nelles: turkeys gobble his gobble in his face last year.

Josh Raley: Yeah. Dude. That's got him fired up. So like my big concern with him though is getting way back in there, if we go trumping too far And then him tiring out cuz he is only six and needing to be carried out or something. Ah, I'm not gonna carry a 50 pound kid for six miles or whatever, however far it is. So plus a 30 pound bird, yeah. You kill a giant bird back in there. You, we've got problems. But then I took my daughter out the next day.

Got on that same bird. I think it was the same bird. Cause I was getting pictures of these two, two Toms strutting this field, like every day. We made a big loop around them. We [00:16:00] almost got 'em. She got ready to leave and she, we've got a bird that gobbles every time we make a noise. And she's I'm ready to leave.

And I'm like, oh no. First lesson of tur gunning is that's not when you leave. But she was ready. I get it. And she needed to go to the bathroom, but she wouldn't go in the woods. She was like, I'm a lady and I don't do that. I was like, oh, all I'm gonna respect that, but I'm not leaving yet.

Cause we got a golin Turkey, so it came down to either spook the bird or kill the bird kind of thing for us. Yep. And he wasn't moving anyway. He wasn't even, he wasn't even working our direction. He was just in one spot. And so I think we ended up pushing a little too close on him.

And ended up bumping him out of there. So I missed April 1st. I was out consulting on a property on a whitetail property with a guy on April 1st, which was our general opener for adults. And I get a message that was like, Dave Owens killed your Turkey. And I was like, I'm sorry do what?

And the guy was like, yeah, [00:17:00] man, Dave Owens went in there where you were with your kids last week and killed one of those two Toms. And I was like, no freaking way. So then this past week, I go out there to the lease. I hadn't been back out to the lease. And I look and sure enough, Dave Owen's name right there on the sign-in sheet and right there on the kill sheet as the only person who's killed a Turkey out there so far this year.

But very quickly realized like I may have I may have joined the wrong lease. The competition. Yeah. Like my calling is never gonna do if Dave Owens is the other guy, one of the other guys out here calling at these birds. They're either all dead or they're not falling from my calling.

But anyway, so I sent Dave a message and he confirmed, so apparently I'm on a lease at least. I don't know if Dave's got a buddy on the lease or if he is on the lease personally or what the case is. But anyway, Dave Owens shot my Turkey. Kinda bummer. [00:18:00] I wonder how many guys better than Joe Schmo though?

Oh yeah, dude. Like better. Yeah. Yeah. If I'm gonna be one up by somebody it better be Mr. Penn Hodi project congrat or one of the THP guys or something like that. Like it can't be somebody lame. Anyway, so fast forward to, as soon as youth seasons end. I just start waiting and prepping for for Iowa and Wisconsin.

Real quick, it happened where you were like, Hey, they're leftover tags. Are you getting one? And I was like, one sec. And then I think I was basically like, yeah, I got one already. I dropped the money to get one. I've always wanted to hunt Iowa. I've always wanted to scout Iowa for deer.

And so it was a no-brainer for me to hurry up and get that. But got packed up, got ready to go, and in a very short period of time, picked a bunch of public land spots not too far from where you're at. And in a circle around that. And drove the radius feature was huge.

Dude. The, yeah, the OnX Radius feature. So I just dropped a pin on where I was camping and put the [00:19:00] 10 mile radius and just clicked all the public land spots within that 10 mile radius. And then just a little bit outside of it, which gave me to a 1213 mile radius. Which that's as a crow fly, so it may be a little bit longer of a drive, but dude, how cool was that?

Very quickly I sent you a folder of pens and I'm like, check out all these places. Did you know all these places were there? I knew a handful of 'em there, but

Pierce Nelles: that was most like really mostly just from driving around this area. I've peeked it a couple of 'em on OnX and stuff, but I always think of using the radius feature for okay, if I'm gonna put a tree stand here, where am I in proximity to, water, this bedding, that kind of stuff.

Yeah. I hadn't made the connection of oh, you can change the the meter from yards to miles and run it that way. And yeah, dude, I mean it was within a couple of hours you sent me at least 20 some pins. And what do you think of these? These are pretty good. I just, it's all within like 12, [00:20:00] 13 miles of where you're at.

And I was like, how did you do that? Okay. I see it

Josh Raley: now. Yeah, it the Raiders. Yeah. Very underrated feature. But you made quick work. Yeah. And that was honestly, that's how I decided on where I was gonna be camping too. Which another crazy thing that like helped this project come together, this campground I was staying at.

They're all closed up there pretty much right now. Beginning to open up. Yep. And he was like, no, we're not open that time of year. And I was like, dude, I don't need water. I don't need your attention. I don't need amenities. Like I need a place to put my camper in electricity, that's all. And he was like, ah, okay, I'll do it.

And so he ended up letting me come stay, even though the campground wasn't open. So I was the only person in the campground. It was beautiful. Yeah, absolutely beautiful. But so we get up there I drive all day long on a Friday. First day of my tag actually was a Friday. So I drive all day long, get up there, get in there in the dark, and I'm like, I better go find some of these public land spots.[00:21:00]

Rather than wait till tomorrow morning, so at like midnight, I go driving around to different public land spots in Iowa, just trying to find parking lots. Is this a parking lot? And if so, is there a good trailhead here? You pull up some parking lots and the trailhead goes 15 yards to a creek and then that's it.

I didn't wanna run into something like that. And so I went and checked him out and thank goodness I did because all or a lot of those little places said non-toxic shot only in my 12 gauge. I only shoot lead outta my 12 gauge. So I had to make the a, a good call and bring my kids four 10 the next morning, shooting some TSS out of that.

And luckily day one in Iowa comes, sun starts coming up. I find the spot. I'm sitting there, I'm like, all right, this is gonna be okay. And then the army starts rolling in headlights, start flying down the road. I'm like, ah, crap. And then more headlights. And then more headlights. And then more headlights.

Before the first Turkey gobble, I had spoken [00:22:00] with four people about where they were gonna go on this public land spot. My god. Yeah. And so we're talking 400 acres, 500 acres probably of the, on this one. Yep. Five people including me on 500 acres. Luckily they've all been watching a lot of thp and they're all headed to the very back of the property.

I'm like, sweet y'all have at it, go all the way back in there. One thing I don't like when I pull up to a new spot is to just jump all the way back to the very far back of it. If I'm deer hunting or Turkey hunting, like you never know what you're burning through, especially when you're Turkey hunting, right?

Like early in the season, you never know where those birds are, roosted. Why would you go crashing all the way back to the back if you don't have the intel? Now maybe these guys had the intel. I don't know. I, as an out of stater did not have that intel, so I'm like, I'm just gonna walk a hundred yards off the parking lot.

They've already told me what they're doing. And so I, I'm just gonna hang back [00:23:00] here and I'm gonna set up on this high spot, over this little bottom where I can hear what's all out in front of me and I'll just wait and see if I hear turkey's gobbling. I'm a hundred yards north of the parking lot and daylight breaks and it gets it's past legal shooting time and I'm not hearing anything.

I'm like, oh, I don't know man. We'll see what happens. And then about 75 yards west of the parking lot, a Turkey gobbles. And I'm like, no stinking way. This can't happen. And so I sit there for a minute and he gobbles again and I'm like, This can't be happening right now. So he's 75 yards west of the parking lot and I'm a hundred yards north of the parking lot.

So I just work my way towards him hoping he can't see me cuz I'm in some open stuff and there's nothing I can do about it. Like right besides drop off this like 50 foot cliff and try to come up the other side of the bottom and I'm not doing that at, six o'clock in the morning or whatever.

So I work my way down this little edge, get set up, I call bird hammers immediately and I'm [00:24:00] like, oh dear. Like it's opening morning. And for first morning for me in Iowa, I'm at this point 75 yards from the parking lot too. And I can see the parking lot, like literally I'm sitting here and I've got film, I've got footage of it and you can see the cars in the parking lot.

And this Turkey goblin is stupid head off. And I'm like, this is gonna be the dumbest thing ever, for this to happen like this. Then I hear a little, some hen Yelps. So the Turkey is to my south, and then I hear Hns yelping back to my north and I'm like, I am between him and these hens now.

Like what a good, like how could this get any better? This is gonna happen. This dude is hot to trot. It's opening morning. Everybody else that's coming in, it's all the way to the back. It's already broke daylight. So surely like nobody else is coming in, right? Nope.

So I sit there for another minute and a truck comes pulling up and it's old Mr. Green jeans or I don't know what color they wear. I [00:25:00] think it was green. They're in Iowa. It was game warden. He pulls up and he gets out of his car and he looks over and he sees me and he just looks at me puzzled and he gets back in his car and he sits there and I'm like, uhoh, is there a regulation that I missed?

Maybe I'm not supposed to be this close to a parking lot, all of a sudden I'm panicking now. Bird goes silent. Bird doesn't make a noise. I hear the Turkey fly down the opposite direction. I keep calling the hens, work their way past me, going to him where he flew down to. I'm guessing their plan was probably to work to that ag field where they were headed anyway, but I think he probably would've come to check me out first.

Had that guy not pulled up. But, so I grab all my stuff and I get up there to him and not sure what to expect. And when I get to his window, he's already got his window rolled down and he goes, dude, I am so sorry. And I was like, what? What do you mean? He was like I said, did you hear the bird fly or did you see the bird fly down?

He said, I didn't see him, but I heard him fly down. He was like, I was sitting here [00:26:00] wondering why in the world somebody set up so close to the parking lot, and then I heard wings and I realized why you're so close to the parking lot. So he held his fingers up. He was like, man, I feel about this tall, it was like an inch.

And yeah, anyway, nice guy turned out to be super nice. He told me several public spots that I should check out, all of which we had marked already, but he helped me prioritize those on my list. So moved on from there and of course, as we walk away and was like, all right good talk.

Thanks so much. Okay, cool. See you later. Oh wait, by the way, can I see your license? Get the last minute license check. Which was good. I thanked him. I was like, Hey, thanks for doing that. I appreciate, you following through on your job even though we got chummy here. So anyway, I spend the rest of that day visiting every single one of the public land places that I had marked on that map.

I walked all the way to the back of one of them called and called, nothing. Ended up running into, [00:27:00] I think it was three more hunters on that spot. Or maybe four. Yeah, might have been four more hunters on that spot. Two of which snuck up behind me where the, I'm sitting next to this field and start calling to my Jake Decoy.

And I think all of a sudden I'm like, I'm gonna get, I'm gonna get shot. This is not good. So I stand up, wave my arms Hey don't, shoot. That's a decoy. Would you politely go the other direction? More people. I get up, try to hunt my way out, but it's so hot and crunchy.

It was like 80 something degrees. I'm like there's no purpose in me walking through this little creek bottom right now. It's too loud. I'm never gonna get within any, within earshot of anything. I'm better off just spending the day scouting. So I went for a drive, covered all those public land spots, and man, there were people at every single one of them that I did not expect.

I had this idea that Iowa was going to have very low population, [00:28:00] which it did. I just didn't understand that everyone of that population also Turkey hunts at least it felt like it, right? Like they, it was just full of people. Day two or day one.

Pierce Nelles: And Iowa is such a, sorry.

I think we've got a little bit of lag here is my bad. I was just gonna say, and Iowa too is such a, it's such a private land, proud state, it's a state that cares a ton about conservation and the land owners do too, and so I was really surprised by the fact that you were saying like, dude, every parking lot here is packed.

I figured there's gotta be a bunch of people who have relatives who farm or know folks who farm just based off of. That's totally based off of my own sort of family tree and family history around these parts. But, it seems like everybody knows somebody who's got acreage or some farm or knows somebody at least who can get them onto private and off public.

So I, I really couldn't believe that there was that much public pressure

Josh Raley: where you are at. Just wanna take [00:29:00] a quick minute to let you know that the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast is brought to you by Tcam makers of the best point of view cameras on the market. For hunters and anglers, they're on the cutting edge, making user-friendly cameras to help the everyday outdoorsman share your hunt with friends and loved ones.

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And to make sure I don't miss any of the action. To learn more and check out their full line of products, head over to their website, and share your hunt with [00:30:00] tcam. There. There definitely was, man, and I w I was shocked by it. And so my goal was just to keep moving. I tried to roo birds evening of evening number one.

Didn't happen. There were no birds gobbling again, bad weather. Front was finally blowing through. So the next morning I go out to the same spot where I was the day before, the same piece of public, because that was the most promising of the ones that I had been on. And I thought if those guys didn't get back in there and tag out, then maybe those, there are still some birds back in there.

So I get about halfway into it Again. I don't wanna be all the way at the back whenever daylight comes because I don't wanna, I don't wanna bump birds. I wanna be about midway through that property where I can hear as much as possible. I start hearing birds on private boom. All of a sudden I'm hearing birds in public and I'm like, okay.

So I just start like jogging basically to try to get there on time. I didn't make it. They were all the way at the very back of the property. I don't think it would've mattered. If I made it anyway, because they ended up flying down into a private ag field and about, [00:31:00] I don't know, 30 minutes after they flew down, I heard all there were four G four birds.

I heard 'em all gobble again. And then one of 'em got shot like immediately. Immediately upon gobbling correct, they caught a face full of lead. I'm pretty sure that was probably their daily routine. There was somebody down there who had picked up on, hey, they fly down into this ag field off that public every day, and they got one.

So I pack it up, it's starting to rain. Thunderstorm, all that good stuff. And I decide I'm just gonna keep keep scouting. I actually ended up going back, taking a little nap at the camper. And I was, at this point I'm scouting not for the public land pieces because I've been to all of those and I've seen the pressure on those and I'm formulating a game plan in my head as I drive around.

I like to think while I drive. It's just a really good way for me to kinda mentally prepare. But I'm also looking for looking for p for private land parcels at this point. So I find a private land parcel with six times out in the field. Six [00:32:00] six. And I'm like, this is it.

This is definitely it. I work up the courage. I go up there. Hello, ma'am. Can I please hunt your property? Oh, I don't think that'd be a problem at all. Let me go get my husband you don't need to go get your husband. You can just say, not a problem, and we can move on. But I didn't say that right?

That's what I wanted to say. But Right. Who needs him? We're fine. Yeah. Ah, Fred's good, or whatever his name was. But anyway, so he ends up coming to the door and he was like, you know what? I would let you hunt, except for the fact that some other guy that lives in Georgia stopped by here yesterday and he asked if he could hunt here.

And so I told him, Dave Owen,

dude, if it had been Dave, I'd have had to give Dave a phone call. Be like, look man this has gotta stop. Like you're you got me following you everywhere. And it's not working out for me. So I don't know who the guy was, but the guy who was from Georgia was gonna be out there hunting for the next couple days.

He was like, otherwise, I'd let you do it [00:33:00] and he's gonna be here all weekend. I was like how about Monday? I'll still be here Monday and Tuesday morning. Could I hunt it? Then he said, oh my, my grandson's gonna be out here Monday and Tuesday morning. They're on some kind of break or something from school.

And I was like, okay, forget it. Thank them very much and appreciated him, told him, Hey, thanks for taking your time to talk to me. Like you could have just ignored me standing on your doorstep out here. So then on, on the road, I am again and I'm just pulling out my hair. I'm looking at all these places and one thing I didn't expect too in Iowa was really just a lack of cover.

Yeah. In a lot of these spots, like a lot of these farms just do not have what I would consider decent cover for hunting turkeys. And what I mean by that, not, oh, does a Turkey roost there at night? Yeah, that's, that could happen, but I wanna be able to get up and make moves on 'em. I don't wanna sit in one spot all day long while I'm Turkey hunting.

Yeah, I do that sometimes, especially in Wisconsin and some places where I hunt. But if I can be mobile and get up and put moves on the birds, especially cuz I'm on limited time, that's what I want to do, what I [00:34:00] want to do. I don't want to try to wait him out. But eventually I find this farm and it just so happens the owner is pulling out and so I go and I flag him down and I say hey, Mr.

Owner. Is there any way that you could point me in the direction of some turkeys? I'm not even, I'm not even asking if he, if I can hunt there right now. Like I'm just, can you point me in the direction of turkeys? And he is have you tried this spot? That's that spot, this spot. And because I'd been to all the other public land places, I was able to say, yeah, and I ran into three guys here and two guys here, and this parking lot was full of people and blah, blah, blah.

And so he goes, I usually don't let people hunt here. And I was like, you know what? That's totally fine. I totally get it. I really just need some, I'm just looking for local advice right now. What do you know of the area? Do you see a lot of turkeys? Is there anywhere in here that you see a bunch of turkeys when you're driving around?

Or maybe I can go talk to that landowner. Not asking, not pushing to try to get on your property. And he was like I think I might be able to help you out. And he says, you ever heard of [00:35:00] and and I was like, yes, I have. To, ah, some bigger names in the outdoor industry.

Let's put it that way. Bigger names in the outdoor industry. Yeah. Who hunt in Iowa yearly. Like a lot. And I said, yeah, I've heard of them. He says, they used to hunt this place for deer. And I said, oh, okay, cool. And he said, they're why I don't let people hunt this place anymore. And I was like, oh, really?

Why? So he says they lie about everything. I was like, oh, okay. They lie about everything. All right. I'm really sorry you had that experience. He was like, and he elaborated like, I'm not pulling any of this. He elaborated right? They bait for deer, which isn't legal here in Iowa.

And they say that this is how the hunt happened, and that's not at all how it happened. Or they'll say, I've been hunting this deer all season and they haven't been hunting it all season. They pulled in last night and they shot it this morning, and he was like, they just, and then they staged things for the pictures and for the videos, and it's just, And he was like, everything they do is a lie.

And I was like look, I'm sorry you had that [00:36:00] experience. I'm not like a larger personality in the hunting industry, but I am like, this is how I'm making my living right now, just so cards are on the table and I totally understand if that changes things for you. I just wanna be up front.

I will have a video camera in my hand. And he says, no I think I got somewhere you can hunt. So he takes me over to this field and he says, do you see that log down there? Pushed over that stump? I said, yeah. He said, you can go sit by that stump. I don't want you walking all around my farm. I don't want you traipsing all through the bottom.

He said, but you can go sit by that stump right there. The turkeys like to roo behind you. And if you don't have a Turkey by Tuesday morning when you're supposed to be done hunting, I'd be surprised. So I said, oh, okay. That sounds good to me. And it's early. Afternoon at that point, like two in the afternoon, two 30, something like that.

And at this point I feverishly start texting people like, oh my goodness, I got property that used to hunt and can't believe I'm gonna get to hunt this place because I've just got a good feeling. It just got a good [00:37:00] feeling. And the way this spot laid out was there was a creek bottom where two creeks came together.

It was like a little peace sign almost of three, three, I guess technically two creeks. But it ca it all came together at a triangle kind of little area, so yep. Little confluence. Yeah. Whatever you call that thing, Mr. Fishing guide you, the right choice for it. But all back behind the ag field is timbered ridges that are a little bit steeper.

The ag field is steep too. Yeah. And this stump where I'm supposed to sit by is down in the bottom, like down in the bottom, way down. Which is gonna be great cuz it's supposed to be snowy. It's supposed to be, 30 mile an hour winds gusting up to 40 the next day. And I figure, number one, if I hear birds gobble, it'll be a miracle.

And number two, if the birds wanna be anywhere, it'll be out of the wind and out of the weather. So I get in there the next morning, more snow on the ground than I expected windier than I expected. I got outta the car at the top of the [00:38:00] hill and was just it was like that kind of wind where it just picks up the snow and just slices your face like glass.

Yeah. It just hurts. That's what was going on. And I was like, screw, this is not Turkey season. This is not Turkey hunting. This is like late season deer hunting. Maybe this is not Turkey hunting, so but I get down in there to the bottom daylight starts to roll around. And birds start gobbling right behind me, right where the guy says they should be.

He said they like to rouse down here in that bottom. And I'm like, okay, here we go. So I'll play the game. So I let out a couple calls, boom, they fired back immediately and it's cold and it's windy and it's gross. And I'm like, there's no way this is happening. Sure enough, these turkeys like start losing their minds.

I'll Yelp, they're not interested. But if I cluck and per they freak out and if I cut at them, they freak out. So I'm like, okay, this is sure this is it. And we go back and forth and then I just go quiet on 'em until I can tell they're on the ground. And I'm like, okay, here [00:39:00] we go. They're right up the ridge behind me and woods are wide open still.

There's no undergrowth going on in Iowa at this point. And I can't see them back behind me, but I can hear 'em just gobbling like crazy up on the top of this ridge looking for this hen that they thought should be there. So I give 'em just a series of Yelps. I don't want to do any cutting. I don't wanna be too extreme.

They're on the ground, they're looking already. But I wanted to make sure they hear it. So I don't wanna do like a pur or something like that, and them not hear it with the wind and on, because they're on the ground now. They're not up in the air. It's gonna be harder for them to hear me. So I just give 'em a couple of Yelps and they quit gobbling altogether.

And I'm like I either spooked them because they hadn't been liking the Yelps all morning, or they're coming and looking and next thing I look back over my shoulder and here they come down the ridge in a fast walk towards the food plot. They get to the edge or the ag field, the food plot, they get to the edge of it, they see the decoys and they freeze and they look at 'em for a second.

I'm like, oh no, this is it. They don't like the decoys. And then man, [00:40:00] they just sprinted straight in. Never stopped a strut or anything like that, but just a. Beautiful site against the snow covered ag field behind them. And I let it eat, man. And I filled my Iowa tag. Yep. Awesome man.

Yeah, it was good. That's

Pierce Nelles: so sick.

Josh Raley: Yeah.

Pierce Nelles: I forgot you'd mentioned they didn't they didn't strut one bit. They just came in hot and you said they kinda one of 'em was definitely the more dominant one. Correct. And yeah, they were, yeah. He was kinda eyeing up and puffing out his chest a little bit.

At your J Decoy and the other one sort of held back, cause we were discussing your your shot size and stuff on that long Beard xr and you were nervous that it wasn't gonna have the backbone to get the job done at longer ranges, but

Josh Raley: Yeah, man, nevertheless, the. The, this year I'm using Long Beard xrs, which is, it's a great load, but I'm using them in number sixes and I've never used number sixes before for turkeys.

I've always used number fours. And so I [00:41:00] was a little bit nervous would it have the knockdown power, to get it done. I needed to put the decoys a little bit further from me because I had a feeling the turkeys would be coming from behind me, cuz that's where the cover was basically.

And I thought, man, if they're behind me and those decoys are too close, like the odds of them seeing me are just too great. And so I ended up putting them, 25 ish yards, which I usually like my decoys to be at like 13 yards, I want a really close shot. But I had him out there like 25, 26 yards and, yeah. Rolled him. No problem. But yeah, the one was definitely the dominant bird of the two. He the less dominant one ran out into the field first and then just held back and circled the decoy. The more dominant one just passed him right up and was like, no, this is not happening on my watch.

Came right in. I need to get better about letting him like flog the decoy for a little bit, man. Cuz as soon as I got a good clean shot and he separated from the other one, I let him have it. No man. You're hunting not filming man. I, the more I do it, the more I'm like, [00:42:00] ah, I am filming too.

But I'm still at that stage though, where it's if it's the choice of getting it on film or getting it, getting the bird on the ground I'm getting that bird on the ground every single time. Especially with the tactic cams, cuz you know, you're getting whatever that's pointed at, so your your big camera may not have a ton of footage and you may not have a ton of footage from the tact cam if the bird, runs out and then you see it point, shoot. You may not have a ton of footage, but it's better than nothing. And you've got the memory on hand. But luckily I had four cameras rolling that morning there's no excuse for not having the footage on that one.

But anyway, yeah, man. And you were

Pierce Nelles: you know that on that note too, I recall talking to the guy, he used to be on the whitetail adrenaline team who said dude, the number of deer that you get one shot in your lifetime at the number of deer that I've had to pass up, cause the lighting wasn't good and we weren't gonna get the footage of it and stuff.

I had to quit. It wasn't worth it. [00:43:00] Dang, you gotta hunt the animal first. You're there to hunt. You got the cameras rolling, the film can come, but if it's. It's a little subpar. I think that's all right if you got a

Josh Raley: filled tag. Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I will say this, man I went, I pulled up my hard drive today to try to find the footage and I can't find the footage from my main camera from my Iowa bird oh, no, I haven't pulled the SD card out.

I think I wiped the SD card after I pulled that footage off of it, though. So I don't know what happened. There's a chance that I lost everything except for my point of view cameras. Oh, no, but that's all right. I had three point of view cameras going. I had the 5.0 pointed out there at the decoys. I had the 6.0 on the end of my gun.

If I'd had time, I would've had another 6.0 pointed over too. I just didn't have it on me. And yeah. So I've got it. I've got the footage, I've got everything I need. I've got me walking in, I've got the setup, I've got a shot looking back at me while I'm in there, and you see me pick up the call and give that last Yelp and then pick up the gun and they run out.

And you got [00:44:00] it all. It would just be really nice to have that main camera footage. But there's a chance I lost it and I guess it could have happened when, maybe it didn't finish converting or transferring the files before I unplugged the sure hardware or the hard drive or I don't know what could have happened, man.

But there's a chance I lost it. Anyway, and the Iowa type of field, Iowa's got some friendly folks. Yeah, man. Iowa's got some friendly folks, I think permission would not have been all that hard to find, if I, cause I, I asked two people, I didn't even ask the second one, he ended up offering it.

I just told him I was looking for a place to Turkey hunt and he immediately was like, I don't let people hunt my place. And then he was like, ah, maybe I can help you out. If you count that as an ask, then you know I'm, I'm batting 500 in Iowa, which right is not bad when it comes to finding at all a place to Turkey hunt.

You come down here to the south, I bet you nine out 10 are gonna say no. If not more than nine out of 10 are gonna say no. Yeah.[00:45:00] Another lesson, if you are going to Iowa, do not get the second season for Turkey. And here's why. The first season for Turkey does not have a weekend in it. The second season for turkeys is the first, we is the first Iowa season for residents and non-residents that has a weekend attached to it.

So that's why it was all the pressure. This was basically everyone's opening day, unless you're one of those guys, right? That was like, Hey, I'm just getting out in the mornings before work, or I'm taking these days off of work, or something like that. Yeah, that was pretty much gonna be it. Like I asked the game award and I was like, dude, why are there people everywhere?

Because he had said the same thing. He's yeah, there's people all over. He's you should have been at x, y, and z public spot down the road. Which I'll tell you, which though, on that one is as soon as we get off he was like, you should have been over there. There were birds gobbling all over the place and only one car in the parking lot.

I'm like that's great to know now. Why didn't you just stay over there in that parking lot instead of driving over [00:46:00] here? Cause I'd have a dead bird right in it. No, I'm just kidding. I'm right. I wasn't feeling that attitudinal about it, but I honestly don't think that bird would've done anything different.

I think that bird planned to fly down and go get into that ag field, and I think he was confident his hens would've come. I think I had a decent shot of him coming to check me out if that guy hadn't pulled up. But I know for a fact that when that guy pulled up, he stopped gobbling. And so I know it.

Bumped him. Now, whether that, whether he would've come my direction, I don't know. I was within 75 yards though. I was maybe 55, 60 yards from where he was roosted. So got real close, especially for early season. Like I was pushing it hard, but I had to give him the terrain, given some like edge feathering that had been done.

I had to get to where I was or I wasn't gonna get a shot and get close enough. Yeah, man. And that was Iowa.

Pierce Nelles: That's hilarious. You gotta just think about how many hunters that, that gobblers just watched, walk outta that parking lot and just [00:47:00] beline

Josh Raley: it straight to the back. Like, how many people are thinking and just getting

Pierce Nelles: missed.

Just missed.

Josh Raley: Yeah. Yeah. Just people just drive right past him, he was literally, so there's a parking, there's the first parking lot where I parked, and then there's one maybe 150 yards down. And the road that runs between them. He was roosted directly over the road, like literally on, on the road, if I'd sat in the road, I would've seen him on the limb probably.

So how many people does he watch? Just drive back and forth, really, oh, yeah, absolutely. So he could see two parking lots from where his roo tree was.


Pierce Nelles: Just a, that's a, another lesson I guess for Iowa then is just look up even if you

Josh Raley: can't Yeah. Yeah, man. If you can't hear 'em, you never know where they're gonna be. That's exactly right. That is exactly right. And especially on a less than ideal weather day, and that was one of my goals for going into this trip was, Hey, I really wanna shoot a bird on a bad weather day.[00:48:00]

And I, that was certainly a bad weather day. Another thing I learned, at least in Iowa, It doesn't matter if it's cold, it doesn't matter if it's windy, it doesn't matter if it's rainy. Those birds are gobbling somewhere. Like I always right. People always, ah, I'm not gonna go out today.

It's gonna be windy. And so the turkeys aren't gonna be gobbling. And that may be true for some places, down here in the south where it's more leafed out already. When that wind blows, you can't hear a thing because everything in the woods, right? Rocket and rolling. It's already hard to hear the turkeys because of the humidity.

Hard to hear 'em because of leaf out. And so it may be true down here in the south of ah, if it's windy and rainy, probably not gonna be a great day for goblin. That's not, that doesn't mean they're not gobbling. It means you can't hear them. But dude, this Turkey or these turkeys that I ran into the first, let's see, that first morning was good weather.

The next morning was bad weather. It was nasty, it was rainy and they were still fired up in goblin, some on private, some on public. And then that next morning, [00:49:00] wind blowing, snowing, the temperature had dropped even more. The wind chill was in like the low twenties and they were fired up and ready to go. I think it that just goes to, to show like there are no absolutes when it, when it comes to Turkey hunting there, there is no oh it's a windy day so I'm not gonna go. It's just if it's the time you have set aside to go, then you have to go, and that was the constant throughout my trip was like, if I had decided it's not good weather today. It's not ideal Turkey hunting weather, therefore I'm not going Turkey hunting today. I would've pretty much just missed my entire trip to Iowa and Wisconsin, cuz the weather sucked for a week and a half.

It basically from after that first day, I did not have another, what I would consider like ideal weather day, except for maybe that morning that I scouted. In Wisconsin where I set up on a field and I had stutters all around me. And I had to basically belly crawl me outta there.

But I, I think I'm gonna have to save that one for another episode, cuz we're coming up on 53 minutes now, but, yeah man. Sure. That's highway in a nutshell. Any thoughts or questions that like, [00:50:00] are left Unrobed? Actually, I I think my biggest question

Pierce Nelles: here

Josh Raley: Oh, go ahead. Sorry. Go ahead.

No, you're good.

You're good. Go ahead. I was just

Pierce Nelles: gonna say, my, my biggest question there is, we were talking about we were talking about OnX and you're using that Radius feature and doing all that Eess scouting, going into a spot that, a state flat out that you had no idea, you never set foot in, you really knew nothing about it.

Aside from, what we've heard people say, what we've heard, people, talk about what we've seen on YouTube, all that kinda stuff. And yet you go in there and you find birds granted. Highly pressured birds, but you're finding birds. You're on gobbling turkeys. You run into the game warden in the parking lot and he says, yeah, no you're pretty much on it with these pins that you were that you've dropped here.

Yep. I'll help you prioritize them a little bit here. Just off of my local knowledge. What were, if you had to pick three things, maybe not, I'm not even gonna put a number on it. [00:51:00] What were the key things that that you think really paid off with your ES scouting? What were you looking for on a OnX?

That really helped you get on bird quick? Yeah. So in a totally foreign state

Josh Raley: to you. So I was looking for that good mix of ag and cover. That was a pretty big key for me. A lot of people hate field birds and they're not my favorite either, but, I'm, I like to be able to see turkeys and I like to know that they're around.

And if you've got a a picked cornfield in early Turkey season before the bugs come out and everything, you can be pretty sure. And that's by some cover with some good oaks. You can be pretty sure there's gonna be a lot of turkeys in there, maybe not so much later in the year when the bugs are out and other food sources start to pop off a little bit.

But that early season you have a hard time getting away from a picked cornfield from me. I have a hard time with that, so Sure. Good mix of ag and cover. I also wanted to find an area with a high concentration of public land spots in the area. We talked about where you were. [00:52:00] I'd also looked at another town, like an hour north of there.

Couple spots that I was trying to figure out, and honestly, where you were, had a really good concentration of public land spots. So I want, I wanted that personally so that I could hop around from place to place to place. So that I had lots and lots of options and man, I ended up burning through the options, so that worked out really well for me as well.

Let's see not close to any large population center. That was, there's, there's a couple towns in there, but I think all of 'em have about 14 people in 'em, I told you it's rural out here. Yeah. Yeah, dude, it is rural and they just all happen to be Turkey hunters.

That's, the only problem is they're all Turkey hunters. Yeah, those are my three big, eess scouting takeaways from the Turkey season. Man Pierce, thanks for thanks for doing this. We'll have to do a part two. You bet, man. For Absolutely. Yeah. Wisconsin. Cause I did not have my Wisconsin tag for as long as I had my Iowa tag, and I didn't have my Iowa tag for that long either, no, you did [00:53:00] not. Yeah. Ended up going pretty well and that's another pretty darn good story. That's right. I look forward to sharing it some more man, because for as much bad stuff as there is going on around the country with Turkey numbers and that kind of thing, and as much concern as there is, I tell you what, where I hunt for turkeys in Wisconsin doesn't look like a down year there.

I mean it is, it's the most turkeys that I've seen right in four years of Turkey hunting there. It's the highest population of turkeys that I've seen. Awesome man.

Pierce Nelles: Can't wait to burn my, one of my

Josh Raley: tags out there anyways. Man, I gotta run. Thanks for coming on the show. You bet, man. Thanks for having me.

That's all for this week's episode. As always, thank you so much for tuning in. If you dig this show, be sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever it is that you get your podcast. While you're at it, if you could lead me a five star review, I would very much appreciate that. You can also follow along with my outdoor adventures on Instagram at the Wisconsin Sportsman or at How to Hunt.

Dear. That's also the best way to get ahold of me. Suggest topics, guests, or [00:54:00] questions that you'd like me to explore on the show. Big thanks to our partners, TCAM Hunt Worth and OnX. Please go support the brands that support this show. And if you're looking for more great outdoor content, check out the sportsmans where you'll find my other podcast, the How to Hunt Deer Podcast, as well as a ton of other awesome outdoor podcasts.

And until next time, make sure you make the time to get outside and enjoy the incredible natural resources that are ours as Wisconsin Sportsman.