Turkey Hunting Related Shooting in Vermont

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Vermont State Game Wardens are investigating an apparent hunting-related shooting in Pomfret on May 7.

Two parties of two hunters each were turkey hunting after separately viewing and stalking the same turkey in a field off South Pomfret Road in Pomfret. The shooter fired one shot from his 12-gauge shotgun, striking two other hunters approximately 60 yards away, in the hand, torso and head with number 5 shot. Both of the victims were transported to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center with non-life threatening wounds.

One of the victims, a man from Thetford Center, was released, while the other man, from Barnard, underwent surgery to remove pellets from his head and torso. He is expected to remain in hospital for a few days.

"This is the first turkey hunting-related shooting in Vermont since 2006," said Hunter Education Coordinator Chris Saunders, "and it's an unfortunate reminder that stalking turkeys is foolish. Your chances of getting close are poor, and you may be sneaking up on another hunter."

Other turkey hunting safety tips include:

  • - Stick with hen calls. A gobbler call is intended for special situations and might attract other hunters.
  • - Don't be patriotic. Avoid red, white or blue. A tom turkey's head has similar colors.
  • - Avoid unnecessary movement. This could alert turkeys and attract hunters.
  • - Don't hide so well that you impair your field of vision
  • - Wrap your turkey in some blaze orange cloth for the hike back to the car.
  • - Always sit with your back against a tree trunk, big log or a boulder that is wider than your body. This protects you from being accidentally struck by pellets fired from behind you.
  • - If you use a decoy, place it on the far side of a tree trunk or a rock so you can see the birds approaching from all directions, but cannot actually see the decoy. This prevents you from being directly in the line of fire should another hunter mistakenly shoot at your decoy.
  • - Never shoot unless you're absolutely sure of your target. Since only turkeys with beards are legal during the spring season, lack of positive identification could result in shooting an illegal bird, or worse, another hunter.
  • - Consider wearing hunter orange while moving from set-up to set-up. Take it off when you are in position.