Special Safety Tips Apply to Hunters

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Turkey hunting is not only about knowing how to use a box call or how to be patient while waiting on the perfect shot opportunity – it also is about knowing that there are several safety precautions that are unique to this hunting experience. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) encourages hunters to review turkey hunting season safety tips before the season opens on Saturday, March 25, 2006.

“Turkey hunters have to utilize their firearms safety knowledge and remember ways to keep themselves and others safe while in the woods,” says WRD State Hunter Safety Coordinator Capt. James Bell. “Hunters always should make sure they identify their target before pulling the trigger and never shoot at sound or movement.”

Hunters are encouraged to review the following turkey hunting season safety precautions:

· Never wear red, white, blue or black clothing when turkey hunting. Red is the color most hunters look for to distinguish a gobbler’s head from a hen’s blue-colored head. Male turkey feathers and the top of a male’s head are black and white. Camouflage should be used to cover everything, including the hunter’s face, hands and firearm.

· Select a calling position, such as the base of a tree that provides at least a shoulder-width background. Make sure at least a 180-degree range can be seen.

· Do not stalk a gobbling turkey – he has keen eyesight and hearing and the chances of getting close are slim, however, a moving hunter following a gobbling turkey has an increased chance of being mistaken for game.

· Be careful using a turkey call. The sound and motion may attract other hunters. Do not move, wave or make turkey-like sounds to alert another hunter to your presence. Yell in a loud voice so that the other hunter knows you are in the area.

· Be careful when carrying a harvested turkey from the woods. Do not allow the wings to hang loosely or the head to be displayed in such a way that another hunter may think it is a live bird. If possible, conceal the turkey in a blaze orange garment or other material.

· Hunters always should wear blaze orange when moving to and from their vehicle and hunting site. Also, anytime a hunter is moving between hunting sites they should have blaze orange on their upper bodies to lessen the chances of being mistaken for game.

Wild turkey hunters must possess a valid hunting license and a big game license to legally hunt turkeys in Georgia. If hunting on a wildlife management area (WMA), hunters also should possess a WMA license. Sportsmen and women always should be sure to get permission from the landowner before hunting on private land. Only male turkeys may be harvested and the season bag limit is three gobblers.

For more information on turkey hunting safety, visit the WRD website at www.gohuntgeorgia.com , contact the nearest WRD Law Enforcement Office or call (770) 784-3068.