Wild Turkey Hunting Safety
The wild turkey has the designation of being the largest upland game bird. Adult males are known as Toms or Gobblers and usually weigh between 15 and 25 pounds. Females are known as Hens and weigh between 7 and 11 pounds. Unlike the female, the male sports a beard that hangs down from the breast and can be 10 to 12 inches long.
Most turkey hunting accidents occur when a shooter does not properly identify their target; fires at movements or sounds, or fires when stalking another hunter who is calling turkeys. These incidents would be greatly reduced if hunters would properly identify their target first.
All hunters should follow these simple rules for safe turkey hunting:
- Do not wear red, white, blue or black.
- Never stalk a turkey. Call them to you. The sounds you hear might be another hunter.
- Do not shoot at sound.
- When another hunter approaches do not move. Shout out loudly to identify yourself
- Do not place decoys where you may be in the line of fire of another hunter.
- Always wear blaze orange when heading to and from your hunting site.
- Always identify your target and beyond.
- Sit with your back against a tree at least as wide as your shoulders.
- Clearly mark all sides of your blind or hunting spot with blaze orange.
- Carry your turkey out of the woods in a bag or wrapped in blaze orange cloth.
- Practice shot placement before heading out into the field. The target area on a wild turkey is very small!
- If using a shotgun (including muzzleloading shotgun), target the head and neck.
- If using archery equipment, target the vital organs (heart and lung area).
- Check local regulations on the use of equipment and seasons for hunting wild turkey.