"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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Some Safety Rules For Hunting Wild Turkeys
Provided Courtesy of Steve Backs, Wild Turkey Biologist

Spring wild turkeys hunters are reminded to make an annual review of hunting safety rules a part of each spring's preparation. Based on studies across the country of factors related to accidents occurring during the turkey hunting season, there are consistent variables.
The shooters and victims were more likely to be experienced hunters and were more likely to shoot their hunting partner than a total stranger. Most incidents took place at 11-50 yards with the shooter failing to properly identify the target and approximately 2/3rds occurred on private land. Shooters, on average were 45 years old with 30 years of hunting experience and 16 years of turkey hunting experience. Victims were 43 years old with 13 years of turkey hunting experience.

Indiana has not had a fatal turkey hunting accident in 30-plus years of turkey hunting but we still average 1-2 shooting incidents a year. The physical injuries can be serious and certainly the mental anguish extends to the victim, the shooter, the investigating officers, and all their families. It is the responsibility of each hunter to help make our state one of the safer places to hunt wild turkeys in the spring. So make a copy of the rules and hang a copy up at camp or keep a copy in your hunting vehicle.* Most of all review it frequently before and during the season. Good Luck and Safe Hunting. --Steve Backs, Wild Turkey Biologist

 [*For printer friendly version of Safety Rules, select Word Document or PDF format.]

Some Safety Rules For Hunting Wild Turkeys
  • Select a calling position where you can see for at least 50 yards in all directions and where you are protected from the backside.
  • Whistle or shout to alert approaching hunters of your position. Never wave or stand up.
  • Never sneak in on a turkey or use a gobbler call near other hunters. Never crowd another hunter working a bird.
  • Never shoot at sound or movement.
  • Use a flashlight when walking in the dark.
  • Be aware of turkey "fever" and its prevention. Disregard peer pressure to bag a bird.
  • Be extremely careful using turkey decoys.
  • Do not wear red, white, or blue outer or exposed inner clothing.
  • Make sure your head net doesn't obscure your vision.
  • Don't assume you are the only hunter in the area. Be certain of a companion's location.
  • Know and identify your target and what is beyond.
  • Discuss safety techniques with companions.
  • Never assume that other hunters are responsible.
  • Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • Always keep your gun unloaded until ready to use.
  • Never use alcohol or drugs before or while hunting.
  • Respect property rights and secure permission before hunting.

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