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Youth ages 17 and under can participate in the youth turkey hunt as long as they are accompanied by an adult 21 years or older — one adult per youth. This hunt is a good way to get kids out in the spring woods to learn about gun safety, wildlife biology and general woodsmanship. Dad or mom can prove to be real handy packing out a 20-pound tom turkey as well. JIM WARD photo
The beginning of the spring wild turkey hunting season is an exciting time for hunters who have been anticipating the opening for months.
Hunters though need to make sure their excitement does not blind them to the precautions they should take to ensure a safe and successful day in the field.
With that in mind, the National Wildlife Turkey Federations is offering the following 10 safety tips for hunters . . .
• Never wear red, white, blue or black – those are colors of a wild turkey gobbler’s head and body – even on socks or buttons. Do not wear any bright colors. Wear dark undershirts and socks and pants long enough to tuck into boots.
• Leave the area if you suspect there’s another hunter already working the same bird.
• Resist the urge to stalk turkey sounds. It is nearly impossible to sneak up on a turkey – they see and hear the slightest movements. Stalking is one of the most common causes of incidents.
• Pick your spot in open timber rather than thick brush. Eliminating movement and excess noise is more critical to success than hiding in heavy cover. Camouflage clothing also helps.
• When calling turkeys, place your back against a large stump, tree trunk, rock, etc., that is wider than your shoulders and higher than your head to avoid potential confusion from other hunters.
• Remain still and speak in a loud, clear voice to announce yourself to other hunters if necessary. Never move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your presence.
• Keep your hands and head camouflaged when calling.
• Maintain a clear field of view when using a camouflage blind or netting. Set a perimeter of no more than 40 yards.
• Make sure your decoy is not visible when you are transporting it. Stash the decoy in your vest and check that the head is not sticking out. If you harvest a wild turkey during your hunting trip, you should cover the bird’s head and body when carrying it to your vehicle.
• Put your gun safety on and approach the downed bird with your firearm pointed in a safe direction after firing. Never run with a firearm.