Turkey Hunting Safety
Turkey hunting continues to be very popular. Unfortunately, turkey hunting can be dangerous. In fact, each year a significant percentage of hunting-related shooting accidents involve turkey hunters—as much as 25-30% of all hunting-related shooting accidents—in those states with many turkeys and turkey hunters.
Without question, the number one cause of turkey-hunting incidents is hunters failing to positively identify their target before shooting. The unique nature of turkey hunting explains this problem: hunters dress in full camouflage, hide, and then make turkey sounds to attract other turkeys. Naturally, they also attract other hunters who are looking for turkeys to shoot!
ALWAYS identify your target before you shoot!
Learn and follow the turkey hunting safety tips listed below to ensure a safe and enjoyable hunting experience:
- Positively identify your target. Be absolutely certain it’s a turkey before you pull the trigger. The bird should be fully and clearly visible. The shot path to the bird and beyond should be safe.
- Never stalk a turkey or turkey sounds. Movement or sounds you think are a turkey may be another hunter. Be patient. Take up a calling location and let the bird come to you. Sneaking in on another hunter is asking for trouble.
- Assume every noise and movement is another hunter, not a turkey.
- Protect your back! Select a large tree, rock, or other substantial natural barrier while calling. Sit with your back against this object. Hunt in open woods so you can easily see approaching hunters.
- Shout “STOP!” to alert approaching hunters. Never move, wave, or make turkey sounds to alert hunters of your position.
- Eliminate red, white, blue, and black colors from your clothing. These colors are found on the head, neck, and body of mature gobblers.
- Pre-select a zone of fire. Shoot at a turkey only in that predetermined zone–and only when you’re certain it is safe to do so. Agree upon these zones with your hunting companions before the hunt.
- Choose safe and responsible hunting companions. Know where they are at all times.
- Wear hunter orange when entering or leaving your turkey hunting area.
- Practice courtesy and self-control at all times. Observe all written and unwritten rules of safe turkey hunting. Remain calm, and exercise good judgment before taking the shot. Good hunting habits prevent shooting accidents!