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Turkey Hunting Safety Tips

These 20 Turkey Hunting Safety Tips were taken from the National Wild Turkey Federation's "Defensive Hunting" pamphlet and the National Rifle Association's "Turkey Hunting Safety" brochure.

  1. Never stalk a turkey. The chances of getting close enough for a shot are slim, but the chances of becoming involved in an accident are increased.

  2. Eliminate the colors red, white, and blue from your turkey hunting outfit. Red is the color most hunters count on to differentiate a gobbler's head from the hen's blue-colored head.

  3. Never move, wave, or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter to your presence. A quick movement may draw fire. Yell in a loud voice and remain hidden.

  4. Never attempt to approach closer than 100 yards to a roosting turkey. The wild turkey's eyesight and hearing are much too sharp to let you get any closer.

  5. Be particularly careful when using a gobbler call. The sound and motion may attract other hunters.

  6. When selecting your calling position, don't try to hide so well that you cannot see what is happening around you. Remember, eliminating movement is your key to success, not total concealment.

  7. Select a calling position that provides a background as wide as your shoulders, and one that will completely protect you from the top of your head down. Small trees will not hide slight movements of your hands or shoulders which might look like a turkey to another hunter who could be unwisely stalking your calls. Position yourself so you can see 180 degrees in front of you.

  8. Camouflage conceals you. It does not make you invisible. When turkey hunting, think and act defensively. Avoid all unnecessary movement. Remember, you are visible to both turkeys and hunters when you move even slightly. Sitting perfectly still will help you take more turkeys than all the camo you can wear.

  9. Never shoot at a sound or movement. Be 100 percent certain of your target before you pull the trigger. Don't ever shoot at a "piece" of a turkey. You must see the whole bird to determine whether it is safe or legal to shoot. A good rule of thumb is to not shoot until you can clearly see the gobbler's eye. That way, the bird will be in range and you will be sure it is a turkey.

  10. When turkey hunting, assume that every sound you hear is made by another hunter. Once you pull the trigger, you can never take that shot back.

  11. Hunting should not be treated as a competitive sport. Peer pressure to bag a bird leads to poor judgment.

  12. Discuss hunting safety techniques with your hunting companions. Many accidents are caused by people in the same hunting party. When hunting with companions, be sure of everyone's location.

  13. Never assume that you are alone in the woods - even if you are the only one on the land with permission to hunt.

  14. Never assume that other hunters are acting responsibly.

  15. Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.

  16. Use a flashlight when walking in the dark.

  17. Make sure your headnet does not obscure your vision.

  18. Be aware of what is beyond your target before you shoot.

  19. Keep your gun unloaded until you are set up in the field. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

  20. Respect property rights and secure permission before hunting.


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Turkey & Turkey Hunting Magazine focuses on turkey hunting techniques, turkey behavior and biology, the latest wild turkey research for hunters, equipment, destinations, and hunting ethics.


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