(UNDATED) - Indiana Conservation Officers are preparing for the 2012 spring turkey hunting season. The season opens on April 25th and runs through May 13th
There is also a special youth turkey hunting season on April 21st and 22nd. Youth age 17 years or younger can hunt wild turkeys during the youth season. The youth hunter may use any legal shotgun, bow and arrow, or crossbow. The adult accompanying the youth hunter must be at least 18 years of age, must not possess a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow while in the field, and must possess a turkey hunting license and game bird habitat stamp if participating in the hunt (i.e. calling turkeys) unless otherwise exempt from license requirements by state law.
Turkey hunters may start hunting one half hour before sunrise and must stop hunting at legal sunset. Spring turkey hunters must purchase a spring turkey license and a game bird habitat stamp privilege unless they possess a life¬time comprehensive hunting, a lifetime comprehensive hunting and fishing, a youth hunt/trap license or they meet the landowner/tenant farmer exemption.
If you are successful in harvesting a turkey, you must have it checked at an official turkey check station within 48 hours of harvest or before leaving the state. While at the official turkey check station, you must attach a permanent transportation tag or seal provided at the check station. The tag or seal must remain on the turkey until processing begins.
There are several public hunting areas in south-central Indiana to hunt turkeys. Yellowwood State Forest, Morgan /Monroe State Forest and the Hoosier National Forest contain thousands of acres of public hunting and have a healthy turkey population.
Indiana Conservation Officers would like to offer the following safety tips when turkey hunting. Never wear an article of clothing that is red, blue or white in color. These are the colors of a turkey's head in the spring and you could be mistaken for a turkey. Always positively identify your target and what may be beyond your target. Only male turkeys or bearded hens are legal for taking. If you are hunting on private or public property always consider the possibility that another hunter may be nearby and use due caution.
Although most turkey hunters respect the laws, Indiana Conservation Officers do check a few hunters every spring who are violating the laws to gain an unfair advantage. The most common violations include hunting in a baited area and hunting without the consent of the landowner.
A person may not place any type of bait while hunting to attract the turkeys. An area that contains bait may not be hunted for 10 days after the bait has been completely removed. A planted food plot is not considered a baited area.
Anyone that finds an area that they think is baited or knows of other violations of the law should report it to our Turn In A Poacher hotline (1-800-TIP-IDNR). Violations can also be reported via the internet at www.1800tipidnr.org.
For a more complete look at the turkey laws and regulations you can visit the following web site to review the Turkey Hunting Guide.
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