Wyoming Urges Turkey Hunters to Hunt Safely This Season
Wyoming turkey hunters had a perfect safety record last year and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department urges turkey hunters to continue the safe hunting practices that made 2010 accident free
Over the years, Wyoming has had a near perfect safety record during the turkey season, with an accident in 2009 being the only blemish.
Game and Fish Department's Hunter Education Coordinator Jim Dawson said that even though turkey hunters have been near perfect safety-wise over the years, continual care needs to be taken to maintain Wyoming's exceptional safety record.
"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 nearly perfect safe turkey hunting 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. In South Dakota several years ago, a hunter's white socks were a target of an irresponsible turkey hunter.
- Consider wearing blaze orange to and from your calling spot. Have some orange flagging on your bird when carrying it back to the truck.
- Never make a turkey sound to alert another hunter of your presence. Likewise don't rattle the brush or wave. Movement may draw fire. Yell loudly 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 from another hunter.
Since spring turkey hunting often involves camouflaged hunters using turkey calls, hunters need to take extra care to identify their target and what is beyond it. Spring wild turkey seasons only allow the taking of male wild turkeys or any wild turkey with a visible beard. This means that it is the hunter's responsibility to positively identify his target before firing. The accident in 2009 involved two young men hunting in the Black Hills. One fired at a turkey but didn't realize his companion was behind the targeted bird and was struck with two shotgun pellets. Exercising extra care to look beyond the target could have prevented this accident.
The Game and Fish also alerts hunters not to be alarmed if the turkey has a white or yellow gelatinous mass around its crop. Biologists report the mass is a natural phenomenon to help the bird puff out for strutting, and the bird is perfectly healthy. Grab the tissue with a paper towel or newspaper to help remove it from the bird.
>Hunters are advised not to hang their bird in a tree, but to put it in an ice chest as soon as they can and place a frozen plastic soda bottle or similar-type cooling source in the body cavity.