Spring turkey season is open in Oklahoma and the National Wild Turkey Federation urges hunters to practice the following safety tips when it comes to hunting attire.
1. Never wear bright colors, especially not red, white, blue or black because these are the colors of a wild turkey gobbler.
2. Wear dark undershirts and socks, and pants long enough to be tucked into boots.
3. Camouflage your gun.
4. Keep your hands and head camouflaged when calling.
5. Select a spot that is in the open timber rather than thick brush: wearing camouflage clothing and eliminating movement is more critical to success than hiding in heavy cover.
6. When using a camouflage blind or netting, maintain a clear field of view
In addition, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation also has issued the following safety tips for turkey hunters.
1. Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction.
2. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
3. Be sure of your target and what is beyond.
4. Know your hunting area and its safe zone of fire.
5. If hunting with companions, know their locations.
Most hunters, when hearing a gobbler, try to get as close as possible before calling. However, other hunters may be calling or working the same bird. Don’t compete with other hunters. If you’re unsure about another hunter’s position, stop calling and reassess the situation.
When you are ready to start hunting or calling, sit at the base of a tree which has a trunk wider than your body. This way you can see an approaching hunter and you are protected from the rear. Use this position to call so you can see in all directions for turkeys or hunters.
Safety-conscious hunters are very careful when using a decoy. If you decide to use one, place it so you will be out of the line of fire. Put a tree between you and the decoy. If you are in the open, place the decoy so it faces directly toward or away from you and can be seen by approaching hunters from all directions. Always carry decoys in a bag or backpack going to and from hunting sites.
Your turkey calls may sound like a real turkey to other hunters, so be alert. Don’t use calls that imitate a gobbler. Experienced turkey hunters believe it’s dangerous and unnecessary. Also, electronic turkey calls are illegal in Oklahoma.
When another hunter approaches you, don’t wave your hand as a signal. This movement could trigger a shot. Instead, shout to the other person since there isn’t much chance a hunter will mistake your voice.
The most critical moment of any turkey hunt is when you decide to pull the trigger. Be absolutely sure the bird you see is a legal turkey. In the ‘gobbler only’ season, this means you must see the beard as a positive means of identifying the bird. Never shoot at noise, movement or color.
Once you have bagged your turkey or have decided to quit hunting for the day, unload your firearm. If you’re an annual license/permit holder and have shot a turkey, you are required to complete the Record of Game section on the back of the license form.
All persons, including lifetime license holders, taking a turkey must immediately upon harvesting a bird, securely attach their name and hunting license number to either leg of the harvested bird. Then wrap the bird in camouflage or blaze orange before carrying it through the woods. Walking through the woods wearing a blaze orange vest using the most visible route to your vehicle will also help protect you