Turkey Hunting Safety Tips

TurkeysSpring turkey hunting season in Oregon ends May 31, which means many sportsmen are headed to woods to try and bag a last-minute bird. With so many hunters around, it’s especially important to take as many safety precautions as possible, such as:

Don’t stalk a turkey. You’re more likely to get shot yourself than to bag the bird.

Watch what you wear. They may be patriotic, but wearing the colors red, white or blue is a great way to get yourself shot. Many hunters use the red/blue dynamic to tell the difference between a male and female turkey head.

Be careful with calls. If you’re too good and too well hidden, you may attract other hunters. Position yourself so that you can be seen by a human eye but not a turkey eye.

Never shoot blindly. Always make sure you can see the target. Shooting at sound or movement is a great way to hurt or kill another hunter.

Keep a sharp hunting knife. Make sure your hunting knife and skinning knife are both properly sharpened and sheathed. A rifle may be the most dangerous thing you have on you, but a dull knife can be a close runner-up.

Don’t view hunting as a competition. People who try to “out-bag” each other are more likely to either get in an accident or walk away empty handed.

Don’t just focus on your target. Make sure you can see what is to the right, left and behind it, as well. If you miss the bird, you don’t want your bullet to lodge itself in another hunter.

Bring an LED flashlight. In addition to a well-sharpened hunting knife, carry an LED flashlight with you on the hunt as well. It is especially helpful for early morning hunts or if you get stuck in the woods after dark.

Be a team player. Coordinate your hunting efforts with other members of your party. Many accidents occur because friends don’t properly communicate with their party and end up in areas the other party members don’t expect them to be in.

Follow the rules. Finally, follow all local hunting rules and regulations, and respect private landowners’ property rights. If needed, secure permission before hunting.

[Photo by: Don DeBold]

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