Turkey hunting is fast approaching, and, as a lot of Mississippians can tell you, the birds are already gobbling.
But until the season opens — March 8 for youth aged 15 and under and March 15 for the rest of us — we have to be content hearing birds gobble from a distance.
That can sometimes lead to a lot of pent-up excitement by the time opening day roles around. It is easy then to forget a few simple safety tips that all turkey hunters should know, understand the reason for and then practice every trip to the woods.
These are courtesy of the National Wild Turkey Federation:
• Choose a wide, solid background (tree or rock) to lean against, so you cannot be shot from behind.
• Never assume that what moves, makes turkey sounds or rustles leaves is a turkey. Positively identify your target before shooting.
• Do not wear red, white or light blue colors, which are the identifying colors of a gobbler’s head.
• Never assume you are the only hunter in the area, and know where all the members of your party are at all times.
• Obey all firearms safety rules.
• While it is unwise to have hunter orange visible while hunting because of the turkey’s keen eyesight, it is wise to have some showing while walking. Also, it is a good idea to pack harvested turkeys and decoys in hunter orange material for transportation out of the woods.
• If another hunter enters your area, do not wave or stand up or make any movement at all. Simply announce your presence in plain English before standing or removing your mask.
• If using decoys, especially a gobbler, make sure your line of sight is clear at least 75 to 100 yards on the other side of the decoy. That is the only direction another hunter can shoot at your decoy and hit you.