It’s that time again when clucking is the favorite sound, camo is the proper attire, and good men are wearing green and brown makeup! For weeks now, Georgia hunters have been scouting their favorite hunting spots, practicing turkey calls, and assembling their hunting gear in preparation for turkey hunting season that opens on Saturday, March 26. Even the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) has predicted a good harvest for this 2005 turkey hunting season, which runs from March 26 to May 15.
Wild turkey hunting can be a rewarding challenge for hunters of all ages, but safety should be high on every hunter’s agenda. When the turkey hunting season opens statewide on Saturday, March 26, sportsmen and women should think both offensively and defensively for a safe and successful turkey hunting season.
Safety can not be stressed enough when hunting turkeys. Hunters must always carefully identify their target and be certain of what lies beyond that target before shooting.
Turkey hunters can reduce their chances of becoming an accident statistic by using common sense tactics while hunting. It is not uncommon for a hunter to mistake another hunter for a turkey because they are wearing a red or blue, not wearing hunter orange when moving to or from their hunting spot, or carrying a turkey out of the wood that is not properly covered.
The following are safety tips for a successful turkey hunting season:
1 – Know the range of the gun and load. Turkey hunters should spend time before hunting season testing various loads at different distances.
2 – Scout the terrain to be hunted. Becoming familiar with the area allows the hunter to spot various hazards that may cause an accident when walking in dim light.
3 – Always be 100 percent certain of the target before pulling the trigger. Never shoot at a sound or movement.
4 – Never wear red, white, blue, or black clothing when turkey hunting. Red is the color most hunters look for to distinguish a gobbler’s head from a hen’s blue-colored head. Gobbler’s feathers and the top of a gobbler’s head are black and white. Camouflage should be used to cover everything, even the hunter’s face, hands, and firearms.
5 -Select a calling position, such as the base of a tree, that provides a background at least shoulder-width. Make sure at least a 180 degree range can be seen.
6 – Remember, eliminating movement is the key to success, not total concealment. Do not stalk a gobbling turkey. Wild turkeys have excellent eyesight and hearing, and the chances of getting close are slim.
7 – Be particularly careful when using a gobbler call. The sound and motion may attract other hunters. Do not move, wave, or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter to your presence. Yell in a loud voice so that the other hunter knows you are in the area.
8 – When a turkey is harvested, be careful when carrying it from the woods. Do not allow the wings to hang loosely or the head to be displayed in such a way that another hunter may think it is a live bird. If possible, conceal the turkey in a blaze orange garment or other material.
9 – Hunters should always wear blaze orange when moving to and from their vehicle and hunting site. Also, anytime a hunter is moving between hunting sites they should have blaze orange on their upper bodies to lessen their chances of being mistaken for game.
For more information on turkey hunting, contact the nearest WRD game management office or call (770) 918-6416.