Turkey hunters recognize that understanding wild turkey behavior, good calling, and an effective shotgun pattern are all keys to success. Did you know that practicing safe turkey hunting strategies also can put you in the best position to take a gobbler? The following tips will ensure turkey hunting remains a safe activity while setting you up for success.
Tips for safe and successful turkey hunting
- Gobblers have sharp eyes so staying concealed is critical. When turkey hunting, wear camouflage or drab green and brown clothing, including gloves and a face mask. Never wear red, white, blue or black, which are colors associated with a gobbler. So replace those white socks and T-shirts with camo or earth tone base layers.
- Hunters often like to cover some ground in search of a bird. When calling, always set up against a tree taller than your head and wider than your shoulders before you start calling. Doing this will provide you with protection and make you more prepared for a gobbler that shows up more quickly than you expected. Also avoid setting up in thick cover. Instead select more open areas and eliminate movement and rely on your camouflage for concealment.
- When you hear birds, you want to position yourself for success, however, don’t try to sneak up on a gobbler. You might think you’re stalking a turkey, but you could actually be slipping up on another hunter. Always adopt a skeptical attitude when you hear turkey calling because good callers can sound as convincing as actual turkeys. In addition to safety concerns, the odds are against you when it comes to sneaking up on a gobbler. Turkeys have sharp eyesight and hear well, too. You’d be better off setting up and calling a bird to you.
- Even when hunting private land, don’t assume you’re the only hunter in the area. If another hunter approaches your set up, remain still and speak in a loud, clear voice to announce your presence. Never move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your presence.
- Before you pull the trigger, demand multiple points of identification to be absolutely certain it’s a legal turkey. If you see movement, do you also see the turkey’s beard? Feet and wings? Never shoot at sounds, color or movement.
- Always practice the basic rules of firearms safety. Review the rules at MyFWC.com/ThinkSafe.
You can learn more about how to stay safe while hunting by taking a hunter safety course. Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, and is 16 years or older, must pass a hunter safety course before purchasing a hunting license to hunt unsupervised. Through its free hunter safety courses, the FWC trains people how to become safe, responsible, lawful and conservation-minded hunters. The course also teaches firearms safety, outdoor skills, knowledge about wildlife and habitats, and encourages students’ future involvement as conservationists. For more information, see https://MyFWC.com/HunterSafety.
New hunter information
If you’re interested in learning more about hunting, visit MyFWC.com/NewHunter.