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Review safe hunting practices ahead of spring turkey season

  • 3/26/2024 11:38:00 AM
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Roughly 35,000 camo-covered hunters in stealth mode will be heading to the timber in the next few weeks for Iowa’s spring turkey season. And, just as important as contacting the landowner, checking the shell supply and finding the decoys, part of every hunt prep is to review safe hunting practices.

“When I think about spring turkey hunting safety, I come back to the basic safety tips – avoid wearing patriotic colors – red, white, blue – those are the same colors found in a gobblers head - and don’t shoot at movement – wait to take the shot until you’ve identified the beard on the turkey,” said Jamie Cook, hunter education coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “We also tell hunters to be sure of what’s in front of and behind the bird before taking the shot in case you miss because once you pull that trigger, you can’t call the shot back.”

Cook said the mild winter will likely lead to an early leaf out and green up and as the forest changes to spring, hunters will need to dial in their zone and range of fire.

“Pattern your gun so you know its effective distance,” he said. “Know the lay of the land and as the timber greens up, you need to reduce your zone of fire.”

If mentoring a new hunter, he said, be sure to model ethical hunter behavior.

“How you hunt will leave an impression and influence how they hunt in the future,” he said. “Teach them the right way to hunt and you will be giving them the tools to be successful.”