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Field & Stream|Volume 125, Issue 1 - 2020
WHEN A TRACT OF LAND GIVES YOU TURKEYS AS PRESENTS, CAN IT BE ANYTHING BUT A FRIEND?
PHIL BOURJAILY

DRIVING THE LENGTH OF THE Hawkeye Wildlife Area’s south side, I can point to landmarks all along the way and recall successes and failures over the years. They track my growth as a turkey hunter like the pencil marks on the wall record the height of my children.

Hawkeye’s roughly 13,000 nondescript acres of sand, willows, and soft maples straddle a dozen miles of the Iowa River, in Johnson County, Iowa. I’m not afraid of hotspotting myself by giving its location because my spot, frankly, is not that hot. Neighboring what passes for a metro area out here, Hawkeye is no secret—not from other hunters nor birders nor a cast of more nefarious characters ranging from mere vagrants to meth dealers. But what it lacks in pristine beauty, it makes up for in location. Just 20 minutes from my house, it’s the place where I’ve hunted turkeys more than all other places combined.

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