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Staying Safe This Spring: NWTF Safety Rules

Defensive Turkey Hunting Tactics

A safe turkey hunter, like a safe driver, is defensive minded. Below are tips to help you enjoy a safe, successful hunt.

  • Select the largest stump, blow-down, tree trunk or rock that is wider than your shoulders and higher than your head to place your back against when calling; a hunter is more likely to spot another hunter when moving to the front or side than from behind.

  • Eliminate the colors white, red, black and blue from your hunting outfit; this includes handkerchiefs, socks, underwear, etc. These are the colors of a turkey gobbler.

  • Select your calling spot in open timber rather than thick brush; eliminating movement is a key to success, not concealment.

  • Be discreet when imitating the sound of a gobbling turkey.

  • A good woodsman can always detect movement in the forest by watching other game or listening for the alarm cries of Blue jays, crows, squirrels or woodpeckers. Be alert.

  • When songbirds, crows or your turkey shuts up, look out. There's a good chance another hunter is moving in on your bird.

  • Never move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your presence. Remain still and speak in a loud, clear voice to announce your presence. These tactics are safer than quick movements. Use common sense.

NWTF's Dress For Safety And Success Guidelines

  • Never wear bright colors, especially not red, white, blue or black because these are the colors of a wild turkey gobbler. This includes handkerchiefs, socks, underwear, etc.

  • Wear dark undershirts and socks, and pants long enough to be tucked into boots.

  • Camouflage your gun.

  • Keep your hands and head camouflaged when calling.

  • Select a spot that is in open timber rather than thick brush: wearing camouflage clothing and eliminating movement is more critical to success than hiding in heavy cover.

  • When using a camouflage blind or netting, maintain a clear field of view.

Decoy Safety

While decoys can increase your chances, they can also increase risk of an incident occurring. Today's decoys are very real looking and can draw fire from unknowing hunters.

When using decoys, be sure to:

  • Never transport decoys uncovered. Many of the new decoys fold up for easy storage in turkey vests.

  • Always set up against a tree that is taller than your head and wider than your shoulders.

  • Establish a clear line of vision for at least 100 yards and then set up the decoys 20 yards from your position on the line.

  • If you see another hunter, call out in a loud, clear voice to alert them to your position.

  • Always check carefully that no one is stalking your decoys before leaving your position.

Proper Firearm Handling

When handling firearms you should:

  • Treat all firearms as if loaded.

  • Always point the firearm in a safe direction.

  • Never point a firearm in the direction of anyone or anything you don't want to shoot.

  • Never put your finger on the trigger until ready to shoot.

  • Know your target and what is behind your target.

  • Know the firearm and its mechanical characteristics.

  • Never rely on the firearm's safety.

  • Use the correct gauge or caliber ammunition.

  • Never handle a firearm during or after using alcohol or drugs.

  • Be sure the barrel is not obstructed before shooting.

  • Wear eye and ear protection.

  • Store firearms unloaded and in a way to prevent unauthorized use.

NWTF's Code Of Conduct

As a responsible turkey hunter, I will:

  • Not let peer pressure or the excitement of the hunt cloud my judgment.

  • Learn and practice safe hunting techniques.

  • Hunt the wild turkey fairly.

  • Know the capabilities and limitations of my gun or bow and use it safely.

  • Obey and support all wildlife laws and report all violations;

  • Respect the land and the landowner and always obtain permission before hunting.

  • Avoid knowingly interfering with another hunter and respect the right of others to lawfully share the out-of-doors.

  • Value the hunting experience and appreciate the beauty of the wild turkey.

  • Positively identify my target as a legal bird and insist on a good shot; and share responsible turkey hunting with others and work for wild turkey conservation.




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