CHEYENNE - The spring turkey hunt is now in full swing in Wyoming and with each passing year appears to be gaining in popularity.
That popularity means there are more hunters in the hills. In recent years more than 5,200 hunters have participated in the spring season. Game and Fish Hunter Safety Coordinator Jim Dawson says that while Wyoming hunters have a very good safety record during turkey season, hunters still need to take care to take the normal common sense procedures while turkey hunting.
"The spring hunt is different than most other hunts, in that hunters are wearing full camouflage, Dawson said.“This means that hunters need to be extra careful of their target and background.”
The National Wild Turkey Federation has a listing of reminders for turkey hunters:
• Never shoot at a sound or movement.
• Never shoot at a piece of a turkey. Make sure you can see the whole bird to determine if it is legal to shoot.
• Eliminate the colors red, white, and blue from your turkey hunting clothing. Red is the color hunters count on to differentiate a gobbler’s head from the hen’s blue colored head.
• Be particularly careful when using a gobbler call. The sound may attract other hunters. If a hunter approaches, yell to alert him to your presence.
• Select a calling position that enables you to see 50 yards around you. If possible your calling position should have a background at least as wide as your shoulders.
• Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.
Other reminders include unloading guns before getting in vehicles, respecting property rights and asking permission before crossing private land, and being aware of what is beyond your target before you shoot. Although turkey hunters commonly dress in full camouflage, hunters may consider wearing a blaze orange garment when walking to or from their calling spot. Some hunters also attach some orange flagging on the bird when carrying it back to their vehicle.
Wyoming’s spring turkey season opened April 1 in many hunt areas and most other hunt areas opened April 14. Regulations specify that only male wild turkeys or turkeys with visible beards may be taken during the spring hunt. The season runs through May 20. Of Wyoming’s 14 hunt areas, eight are general license areas, which means licenses can be purchased over-the-counter. In Wyoming, all turkey hunters need a license, conservation stamp, and if born after 1965, hunter safety certification.
(Contact: Al Langston (307) 777-4540)