Think 'Safety First' when turkey hunting this
April 4, 2017
By Mike Demick
IDFG Conservation Information Supervisor
With Idaho’s youth turkey hunt beginning April 8
followed by the general spring turkey season
opening April 15, the Idaho Department of Fish
and Game is encouraging hunters to think "Safety
"Turkey hunting is a safe sport, but hunters
often make split-second shooting decisions, so
it’s imperative that they positively identify
their target before shooting," said Pete
Gardner, Fish and Game volunteer/hunter
education coordinator based in Coeur d’ Alene.
"Every hunter has an obligation to know exactly
what he or she is shooting at, and ensure their
zone of fire is clear."
The primary cause of turkey hunting accidents is
hunters not properly identifying their targets.
These incidents occur when hunters hear sounds,
see movement or perceive a flash of color they
believe to be made by a turkey. Before
positively identifying the target as being a
legal bird, they shoot.
Improvements have been made in recent years
through education, but there is still room for
improvement. Hunters can make hunting even safer
by following these safety tips:
* Never shoot at a sound or movement.
* Never presume that what you hear or what answers you is a turkey.
Assume that all sounds and movements are made by
* Never shoot at a portion of a turkey. Make sure you can see the whole
bird to determine if it is legal to shoot.
* Eliminate the colors red, white and blue from your hunting clothing.
Red is the color hunters count on to
differentiate a gobbler's head from a hen's blue
colored head. White can look like the top of
gobbler's head. Turkeys can see these colors as
* Be particularly careful when using a gobbler call. The sound may
attract other hunters. If a hunter does approach
you, yell to alert him to your presence.
* Select a calling position that enables you to see 50 yards around you.
Remember that eliminating movement is your key
to success, not total concealment.
* Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.
Other important reminders include unloading guns
before getting into vehicles, always asking
permission before entering private land and
being aware of what is beyond your target before
you shoot. Some hunters wear a blaze orange
garment when walking to or from their calling
spots, and even attach orange flagging to their
harvested bird when carrying it to their
Additional safety tips are found on the Fish and
Game website at
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