CHEYENNE - The spring wild turkey hunt is just around the corner in Wyoming and with each passing year it appears to be gaining in popularity.
That popularity means there are more hunters in the hills. In 2012 more than 2,000 hunters participated in the spring turkey season. Game and Fish hunter safety coordinator Jim Dawson said that while Wyoming hunters have a good safety record during turkey season, hunters still need to practice common sense 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 list of reminders for turkey hunters:
• Never shoot at 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 use to differentiate a gobbler’s head from a hen’s blue-colored head.
• Be particularly careful when using a gobbler call. The sound may attract other hunters. If someone approaches, yell to alert the hunter 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, asking permission before crossing private land, and being aware of what is beyond your target before you shoot. Although turkey hunters often dress in full camouflage, they may consider wearing a blaze orange garment when walking to or from their calling spot. Some hunters also attach some orange flagging to the bird when carrying it back to their vehicle.
Wyoming’s spring turkey season opens April 1 in many hunt areas. The remaining hunt areas open April 13. 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 11 hunt areas, seven are general-license. General licenses can be purchased over-the-counter. In Wyoming, all turkey hunters need a license, conservation stamp, and hunter safety certification (if born after 1965).
(Contact: Al Langston (307) 777-4540)