(UNDATED) - Hunters should review hunting safety guidelines as spring turkey season opens today for youth and on Wednesday for adults. The season runs through Sunday, May 12.
The youth turkey season is Saturday, April 20, and Sunday, April 21. The general spring turkey season opens Wednesday, April 24, and lasts through Sunday, May 12.
Indiana has not had a fatal turkey hunting accident since modern day turkey hunting began in the state in 1970, but the state averages one or two shooting accidents a year during turkey season.
Complacency often undermines the safety of even experienced turkey hunters. The most common factor in hunting accidents is the shooter failing to identify the target. Shooters and victims are more likely to be experienced hunters, and shooters are more likely to shoot a hunting partner than a stranger.
Turkey hunting safety guidelines are available at dnr.IN.gov/fishwild/2710.htm. Every hunter should make a copy of the guidelines and hang it at camp or keep it in his or her hunting vehicle. Most of all, hunters should frequently review the guidelines before and during the season.
Safety guidelines for turkey hunting are:
-- Select a calling position where you can see for at least 50 yards in all directions and where you are protected from the backside.
-- Whistle or shout to alert approaching hunters of your position. Never wave or stand up.
-- Never sneak in on a turkey or use a gobbler call near other hunters. Never crowd another hunter working a bird.
-- Always keep your gun's muzzle pointed in a safe direction, and never shoot at sound or movement.
-- Use a flashlight when walking in the dark.
-- Be aware of turkey "fever" and its prevention. Disregard peer pressure to bag a bird.
-- Be extremely careful using turkey decoys.
-- Do not wear red, white, or blue outer or exposed inner clothing.
-- Make sure your head net doesn't obscure your vision.
-- Don't assume you are the only hunter in the area. Be certain of a companion's location.
-- Know and identify your target and what is beyond before you pull the trigger or release an arrow.
-- Discuss safety techniques with companions.
-- Never assume that other hunters are responsible.
-- Be sure the barrel and action of your gun are clear of obstructions.
-- Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
-- Always keep your gun unloaded until ready to use.
-- Never climb a tree, a fence, or jump a ditch with a loaded gun or nocked arrow.
-- Never use alcohol or drugs before or while hunting.
-- Respect property rights and secure permission before hunting.
Indiana Conservation Officers encourage hunters to use the TIP (Turn In A Poacher) hotline to file a complaint or report a violation. The toll-free TIP phone number is 1-800-TIP-IDNR (1-800-847-4367). Complaints also can be filed online at tip.IN.gov.
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