TURKEY TIME !
Think SAFETY above all else!
The Primary concern of every hunter should be SAFETY. The number one cause of turkey hunting accidents is hunters being shot in mistake of game ! To keep the sport as safe as possible please try to practice the following safety tips :
Some Facts About Wild Turkeys
|Turkey hunting has the potential for being
very dangerous because you are making turkey calls and sounds like a turkey and are
wearing camo clothing, making you nearly invisible. Other hunters may be attracted to your
location or mistakenly identify you as a target.
|1. For your personal safety, wear a
camo turkey hunter's vest that features blaze orange panels you can display when moving
around. Or, for additional safety, wear a camo turkey hunter's Ballistic Vest that will
protect against shotgun blasts.
Never stalk a turkey. The chances of getting close enough for a shot are slim, but the
chances of becoming involved in an accident are increased.
Eliminate the colors red, white and blue from your turkey hunting outfit and gear. Red is
the color most hunters count on to differentiate a gobbler's head from the hen's
blue-colored head. White can look like the snowball-colored top of a gobbler's head. Leave
those white T-shirts and socks at home. Not only will these colors put you in danger, but
they can be seen by turkeys as well and will alert them to your presence.
Never move, wave or make turkey sounds (calls) to alert another hunter of your presence. A
quick movement may draw fire. Yell in a loud voice and remain hidden until you are sure
the person recognizes you as a human.
Never attempt to approach closer than 100 yards to a roosting turkey. The wild turkey's
eyesight and hearing are much too sharp to let you get any closer.
Be particularly careful when using a gobbler call. The sound and motion may attract other
hunters. Using one in a heavily hunted public area is especially dangerous.
When selecting your calling position, don't try to hide so well that you can't see what's
happening around you. Remember, eliminating movement is your SECRET
to success, not total concealment.
Select a calling position that provides a background as wide as your shoulders,and one
that will completely protect you from the top of your head down. Small trees won't hide
slight movements of your hands or shoulders which might look like a turkey to another
hunter who might be stalking your sweet calls. Position yourself so that you can see at
least 180 degrees in front of you.
|9. Camouflage conceals you. It does not make you invisible. When turkey hunting, think and act defensively. Avoid all unnecessary movement. Remember, you are visible to both turkeys and other hunters when you move even slightly. Sitting perfectly still will help you bag more turkeys than all the camo you can wear, even if you wear the newest patterns available.|
|10. Never shoot at sound or movement. When turkey hunting, assume that every sound you hear is made by another hunter. Be 100% certain of your target before you pull the trigger. You can never take the shot back if you make a mistake.|
|The number of hunters being shot has grown, but so have
the numbers of hunters in the field. If all hunters would use basic
common sense before deciding to pull the trigger, no accidents would happen.
Despite this simple solution, accidents still happen. Wearing blaze orange is often cited
as the solution to this problem. Studies have shown, however, that while hunters wearing
orange apparel can call in and bag gobblers, their success rates are reduced by as much as
one-third. This seems unacceptable in a sport that is inherently as difficult as turkey
hunting, even for hunters in full camouflage.
|Blaze orange certainly has a place for those concerned
about safety. It can be used effectively to advertise your presence when walking to and
from your hunting spot, and for wrapping a dead turkey that you have to carry out of the
woods on your back. Some turkey hunting vests have flaps and panels of blaze orange
that can be displayed when needed, and hidden while sitting and calling.
|Even while wearing orange, there is
still plenty of danger. I'm talking about hunters who are
color-blind. They may see blaze orange as a red color,
exactly the color of a gobbler's head. Because of the possibility that you may be
mistaken for a gobbler as you move around the woods, and for personal safety, Ballistic
Vests, made with Kevlar and other high-tech materials, have been developed for turkey
hunters. These vests will repel shotgun blasts, are comfortable to wear and come in many
camo patterns. Some will even stop rifle/pistol bullets and broadheads.
|Turkeys are shot by necessity at close range, mostly in situations where there is ample time to identify the target. Continued hunter education, coupled with specialized safety gear, and plenty of common sense will keep turkey hunting a safe sport.|
The wild turkey is one of our most spectacular game birds, especially the impressive adult male gobbler. They are certainly one of the most difficult to hunt based on the fact that probably no more than 30% of hunters nationwide bag a bird each year. Myths and legends have developed over generations of turkey hunters to explain why we're consistently outwitted by a bird. Many turkey hunters are so in awe of wild turkeys that they've created the image of a SUPERBIRD!
A bird that is smarter than any normal human, especially smarter than us hunters!? I've heard and read so-called experts say that a turkey:
None of those previous comments about turkeys are true....they are all Myths. If you believe these type of old wives' tales, your development as a turkey hunter will not advance far. Yes, turkeys have keen senses for survival that have been honed over centuries. But, they are not intelligent in human terms. They can't think well independently. They do learn to a degree from past experiences. For example, they know the frightening shape of a human and that it means danger. But, I've bagged gobblers that had shot in them from prior experiences with man. They didn't learn much. I think humans have mistakenly identified the wild turkey's tremendous capabilities for survival as intelligence. If it wasn't for the strong mating instincts of gobblers in the spring, almost nobody would tag one, because at other times of the year, it's hard to even lay an eye on a tom because they are so quiet and secretive.
After a turkey gobbles, deciding where to sit and call from can be the most critical decision you make.
Inexperienced hunters, and some seasoned ones too, regularly sit in places turkeys just won't come to. Or, they put themselves in places where they won't be able to see or shoot from if a turkey does approach.
Always try to get as close as possible to a gobbler without spooking him, no matter what time of day.
This will help you from having a hen or another hunter cut in between you and the tom. 150 yards or less is best...and sometimes you can get within 60 yards, especially if you know right where he is and you can move within being heard and seen.
You're plenty close when his gobble sounds low and guttural, like he's gobbling in a barrel.
Stay out of and away from brush piles.
You may be able to stay well hidden in them, but you can't see or shoot very well when you're concealed in one. Also, you may not be able to maneuver your gun into shooting position easily if the tom appears in a place you didn't expect.
Areas with heavy underbrush are not good either. Gobblers prefer to travel through open areas when coming to a call. I've watched plenty of them hang-up on the other side of thick brush.
For best success, the SECRET is to pick an open area.
A place where you and the turkey can see for at least 50 yards. In this type of location, a bird can not sneak up on you without being seen.
An area that is too open, such as a small clump of trees in the middle of a field, can be too open, causing a tom to hang up because he can see everything. He may not see what he's looking for....namely hens.
Try to get on the same contour and ridge with the bird.
A gobbler that must cross an obstacle, like a creek, fence, thick brush, or ravine to get to you, often hangs up on the opposite side and refuses to come through.
If you encounter one of these situations, and decide you can't get across the obstacle, set-up as close to the obstacle as possible in the hopes of having the bird approach the obstacle within range.
Don't sit too close to a deep ravine. Sit at least 40 yards away from the edge of the drop-off.
If you're too close, a bird may be coming to your calls, and you won't know it or see him until he's right in your face. Usually you will have had no idea he was coming and he'll spot you and retreat before you can shoot.
Sit against a tree at least as wide as your shoulders for protection, camouflage and comfort.
Face the direction you expect the bird to approach from, with your left shoulder pointed in that direction (if you are a right-handed shooter). In this way you have a wider swing with your gun in case he doesn't appear where you expect him to.
Before you settle in, cut any brush, branches, and roots that will interfere with your comfort and handling of the gun.
Sit with your knees drawn up and your gun ready in both hands.
Rest the gun on one of your knees. Don't lay down---it's uncomfortable, fouls up your sight picture when a shot presents itself, is noisy when shifting position, and restricts your vision.
When your gobbler finally appears, don't shoot at him when he's strutting...it's a poor shot because his head and neck are screwed into an "S" shape, restricting the size of the target.
Make a sharp cluck or "alarm putt" with your mouth call, or clear your throat, and he'll come out of strut and jerk his head up....take him in the head and neck now! But, don't make him come out of strut like this unless you have the gun aimed at him and are ready to shoot....otherwise he's gone and you lose
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