Safety a top priority when turkey hunting

Wild Turkey

Safety a top priority when turkey hunting

Turkey hunting season is upon us and as with any hunting season safety has to be the utmost priority of hunters.

Since hunters are camouflaged and sitting along fence rows or in a woods, safety is crucial. It becomes even more so as the annual leaf out progresses. The later it gets in May, the harder it is to see, not only birds, but the hunter as well. Hunters should be vigilant in identifying the bird and a Tom’s beard.

Be aware of what’s around you. Even if you’re on private property, there could be other hunters out there who are coming to your call. Don’t shoot at movement; don’t shoot at sound; no turkey is worth it. Many experts encourage hunters to only shoot after they see the turkey’s beard.

Don’t forget non-hunters may not be aware of the turkey season. They may be out there hunting morel mushrooms or possibly birding.

Once a hunter has shot a bird, it is suggested he carry it over his shoulder or better yet, to avoid someone mistaking it for a live bird and take a shot, use a blaze orange turkey transport harvest bag.

Here are some safety tips all turkey hunters should follow:

  • Plan to wear blaze orange when moving from one spot to another because you never know if someone else is out there, even on private land.
  • Avoid wearing patriotic colors – red, white, blue. These same colors are found in a turkey’s head.
  • Be aware that mushroom hunters will be moving through the timber in late April and May. Mushroom hunters are encouraged to wear blaze orange and avoid red, white and blue.
  • Plan to add bug spray and drinking water to the field bag.
  • A blind is good for concealment and when taking kids turkey hunting, but not for moving around. If you plan to be mobile, don’t bring the blind.
  • If hunting private land, be sure you have permission and know the property boundaries.
  • Even if hunting private property, the potential exists that someone else may be out there. Trespassing calls increase during turkey season.
  • Be extremely careful if planning to use a gobble call while hunting. Another hunter may mistake you for a turkey.

Don’t forget to follow regulations. As a judge once told me years ago, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

A Limaland turkey hunter lost his hunting privileges for a year last spring, when a pair of area wildlife officers cited him for hunting spring turkeys over a baited area.

According to Ohio Division of Wildlife reports, while on routine patrol during the spring turkey season, Mercer County Wildlife Officer Austin Levering came upon a parked truck on a county road. He discovered several containers of poultry feed upon further inspection. A man dressed in camo came walking out of nearby woods carrying a shotgun shortly after Levering inspected the truck.

The wildlife officer discovered the hunter had a valid hunting license and his turkey permit when he contacted him. Levering then had the hunter show him where he had been turkey hunting. The wildlife officer found a large pile of poultry food about 30 yards from a ground blind where the hunter had been.

Auglaize County Wildlife Officer Mark Schemmel arrived and assisted Levering with the investigation and processing of evidence. Subsequently, the hunter was issued a citation for hunting spring turkeys over a baited area. The hunter’s firearm was seized as evidence and the judge in the Celina Municipal Court suspended his hunting privileges for one year from the date of violation.

Originally posted on April 1st, 2017 by Al Smith – Guest Columnist at The Lima News.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.

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