Basic rules for safe turkey hunting:
- Identify a turkey’s head and beard before aiming.
- Never shoot at sound or movement. Assume it is another hunter until you can clearly see a turkey’s head or beard.
- Wear hunter orange when walking through the woods.
- Use hunter orange to identify your hunting location.
- Wrap a bagged turkey or decoy in hunter orange when transporting it.
- Dress defensively. Never wear red, white, blue or black while hunting turkey.
- Know the effective range of your gun.
- Be sure of your target and what lies beyond.
If you are involved in a firearms-related hunting accident, the law requires that you identify yourself and render assistance. Failure to do so is a Class A misdemeanor.
There were four nonfatal firearms-related hunting incidents during the 2012 spring turkey season. As you will see, simple carelessness and failure to positively identify game can result in injury or death. Don’t make the same mistakes these hunters made.
- April 16—Two brothers were stalking what they believed to be turkeys, but in reality they were stalking another hunter’s decoys. When the other hunter stood to identify himself, one of the brothers shot, injuring both the hunter and his son
who was sitting nearby. The victims had hung a blaze-orange cap in the tree they were sitting against, but the shooter
didn’t see it because the sun was in his eyes.
- April 20—A hunter was sitting near a blackberry thicket when he saw something move. Although he didn’t hear gobbling or see a turkey, the hunter shot at the movement, hitting another hunter who was crossing through the blackberries.
- April 29—A hunter was calling to a turkey, trying to coax the gobbler into shooting range. Unknown to him, another hunter was creeping toward the sound of the gobbling. When the turkey finally moved into position, the first hunter shot, hitting the other hunter in the neck and left eye.
- April 29—29—A hunter saw a jake run across the road in front of him. Then he saw something black moving in the woods and assumed it was an adult gobbler following the jake. When the hunter saw what he thought was a gobbler’s beard, he shot, shooting another hunter in the face. The victim was the hunter’s friend, coming to meet him.