News Releases

April 10, 2015

Hunt Safely This Turkey Season

Hunting safely during turkey season is easy if you follow tips issued by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

In Vermont, May first is the beginning of spring turkey season, a day almost as important as the opening of deer season. While Vermont's spring turkey seasons are safe (Vermont has not had any incidents in the last five years) precautions are needed to ensure they stay that way. Camouflage or drab colored clothing is almost mandatory to outwit a keen-sighted gobbler. Unfortunately, camouflage often makes it just as hard for hunters to spot one another as it does for turkeys.

"Almost all of the incidents during turkey season have been caused by hunters who didn't positively identify the target before they pulled the trigger," said Chris Saunders, hunter education manager. "And the person they mistake for a turkey is often a friend trying to stalk a turkey call."

With the opening of spring turkey hunting season near, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department urges hunters to consider these safety tips:

* Never shoot unless you're absolutely sure of your target. Look for a beard as only turkeys with beards are legal during the spring season. If you're not sure, skip the shot. Lack of positive identification could result in shooting an illegal bird, or worse, another hunter.

* Never stalk a gobbling turkey. Your chances of getting close are poor, and you may be sneaking up on another hunter.

* Avoid red, white, blue and black in clothing and equipment. A tom turkey's head has similar colors.

* Stick with hen calls. A gobbler call might draw in other hunters.

* Avoid unnecessary movement. This alerts turkeys and attracts hunters.

* Don't hide so well that you impair your field of vision.

* Wrap your turkey in blaze orange for the hike back to the car.

* Always sit with your back against a tree trunk, big log or a boulder that is wider than your body. This protects you from being accidentally struck by pellets fired from behind you.

* Place decoys on the far side of a tree trunk or a rock. This prevents you from being directly in the line of fire should another hunter mistakenly shoot at your decoy.

* Wear hunter orange while moving from set-up to set-up. Take it off when you are in position.

This year the department's hunter education program is helping the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation pair up new hunters of all ages with experienced NWTF hunters for turkey season. The NWTF is also offering new hunters a chance to meet experienced hunters interesting in taking on mentors for turkey season at their JAKES Day event at the Waterbury-Stowe Fish and Game Club on April 19. For more information, call Ron LaFreniere at 802-434-4274.

"Turkey hunting in Vermont is rapidly becoming a beloved tradition and it not only helps us better manage wild populations but also brings fresh local food to our tables." Saunders notes. "This spring we encourage all hunters to give it a try and to hunt safely."

Hunt smart. Hunt safe. Wear orange.

Media Contact: Chris Saunders (802) 343-5487

Source: Department of Fish and Wildlife
Last Updated at: April 10, 2015 08:34:17