Wyoming has Perfect Turkey Hunting Safety Record

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There has never been a reported turkey hunting accident in Wyoming, and hopefully that record will still be intact when this highly touted season ends in all but one area May 15.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Hunter Education Coordinator, Jim Dawson, urges spring turkey hunters to be very concerned about safety. "Most hunters wouldn't sneak up on a duck call, so don't sneak up on a turkey call, either," he advises.

To help keep Wyoming's perfect turkey hunting record intact, Dawson suggests these precautions:

  • Don't wear red, white or blue. A tom turkey's head has similar colors. Not only will these colors put you in danger, but turkeys can easily detect them. Several years ago in South Dakota, a hunter's white socks were a target of an irresponsible hunter.
  • Consider wearing blaze orange to and from your calling spot. Attach some orange flagging on your bird when carrying it back to camp.
  • Never make a turkey sound to alert another hunter of your presence. Likewise don't rattle the brush or wave. Movement may draw fire. Loudly yell to reveal your location and remain hidden.
  • Don't hide so well that you don’t have a clear field of vision.
  • Sit with your back to a large tree.
  • If you use decoys, place them so you won't be in the line of fire of another hunter.

Some Wyoming turkey areas opened April 1 with the remainder opening April 14 or 16.

The Game and Fish also alerts hunters not to be alarmed because the turkey has a white or yellow gelatinous mass around its crop. Biologists report the mass is a natural phenomena to help the bird puff out for strutting and is perfectly healthy. Grab the tissue with a paper towel or newspaper to help remove it from the bird.

To optimize table quality, hunters are advised not to hang their bird in a tree but to put it in an ice chest and insert a frozen two liter plastic soda bottle in the body cavity.

Turkey licenses cost $13 for residents and $61 for nonresidents. A conservation stamp, which covers all 2007 licenses is also required, costs $10.50 for the year or $150 for your lifetime. General licenses allowing hunting in northeast Wyoming and the Laramie Range south of Douglas and west of Wheatland are available at license agents and Game and Fish offices.