Spring turkey hunting success and safety comes down to the same thing – proper planning.
“Be aware of what’s around you," said Jeff Barnes, recreation safety officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "Even if you’re on private property, there could be other hunters out there who are coming to your call. Remember, turkey hunters are skilled in the art of concealment. Don’t shoot at movement; don’t shoot at sound; no turkey’s worth it. I encourage hunters to only shoot after they see the turkey’s beard. Being safe is important because the people we hunt with are our family and close friends.”
Hunters who do shoot a turkey are encouraged to not carry it over their shoulder to avoid someone mistaking it for a live bird and take a shot. Barnes suggested hunters use a blaze orange turkey transport harvest bag.
Practicing safe hunting becomes more crucial as the annual spring leaf out progresses.
“The later it gets in May, the harder it is to see. Hunters need to stay vigilant to identify the bird and the beard,” he said.
- Plan to wear blaze orange when moving from one spot to another because you never know if someone else is out there, even on private land.
- Avoid wearing patriotic colors – red, white, blue. These same colors are found in a turkey’s head.
- Be aware that mushroom hunters will be moving through the timber in late April and May. Mushroom hunters are encouraged to wear blaze orange and avoid red, white and blue.
- Plan to add bug spray and drinking water to the field bag
- A blind is good for concealment and when taking kids turkey hunting, but not for moving around. If you plan to be mobile, don’t bring the blind.
- If hunting private land, be sure you have permission and know the property boundaries.
- Even if hunting private property, the potential exists that someone else may be out there. Trespassing calls increase during turkey season.
- Be extremely careful if planning to use a turkey fan to hunt. Another hunter may mistake you for a turkey.