Talking Turkey: Tips for Pursuing a Gobbler | News

SOCIAL CIRCLE – Are you one of the thousands heading into the woods in search of Ole’ Tom Turkey this spring? Before setting out, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division encourages all hunters to take the time to review important turkey hunting safety tips.

“Practicing safe gun handling is the best way to protect yourself and others while hunting,” said Jennifer Pittman, statewide hunter education administrator with the Wildlife Resources Division, in a news release. “Once you’ve made sure that gun safety practices are in place, you also want to review and practice specific turkey hunting precautions.”

Turkey Hunting Safety Tips:

— Never wear red, white, blue or black clothing while turkey hunting. Red is the color most hunters look for to distinguish a gobbler’s head from a hen’s blue head, but it can sometimes appear white or blue. The feathers of the male turkey covering most of the body are black in appearance. Camouflage should be used to cover everything, including the hunter’s face, hands, and firearm.

— Select a take-off position that provides at least a shoulder-width background, such as the base of a tree. Make sure at least a 180 degree range is visible.

— Don’t stalk a gobbling turkey. Due to their keen eyesight and hearing, the chances of getting close are slim to none.

— When using a turkey call, the sound and movement may attract the interest of other hunters. Do not move, wave or make turkey-like noises to alert another hunter to your presence. Instead, identify yourself in a loud voice.

— Be careful when transporting a harvested turkey in the woods. Don’t let the wings hang loose or the head fanned out so another hunter might think it’s a live bird. If possible, cover the turkey with a bright orange garment or other fabric.

— Although not mandatory, it is suggested that hunters wear bright orange when moving between a vehicle and a hunting site. When moving between hunting sites, hunters should wear bright orange on their upper body for easy identification by other hunters.

Sharon P. Juarez