Defensive Turkey Hunting Tactics

By Matt Shealy

Published: March 27, 2009

A safe turkey hunter, like a safe driver, is defensive minded. Below are tips one should consider.

  * 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.

The NWTF has a long-standing commitment to hunter education and safety. The NWTF formed the National Turkey Hunting Safety Task Force in 1991, and works cooperatively with organizations such as the International Hunters Education Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Spring turkey hunting incidents have decreased from a high of 8.1 per 100,000 in 1991 to a low of 2.95 per 100,000 last spring. Statistically, turkey hunting is four times safer than ping-pong, and you are 50 times more likely to take a trip to the emergency room if you play golf.

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