By Frank Rizzo
SULLIVAN COUNTY April 25, 2000 -- New York State has both spring and
fall hunting seasons. The most successful turkey hunters
use a variety of calls (e.g., box calls, slate calls,
mouth calls) to bring a bird within gun range (usually 30
yards or less).
Head-to-toe camouflage helps hunters to stay undetected
prior to the shot. Movement must only occur when the bird
is behind a tree or other obstacle. Few hunting
experiences can rival the excitement as a turkey
approaches a hunter.
Hunters need to be extremely careful, however, before
taking a shot. The excitement of a turkey hunt should
sharpen the hunters awareness of key safety rules:
Always identify the target before shooting, and be sure
that no other person is in harms way.
Some people are tempted to try to stalk a wild turkey.
First, it is extremely difficult to approach a turkey
undetected. You will be much more successful calling the
bird to you.
Second, stalking turkeys puts both you and other hunters
at risk. Let the bird do the walking.
Here are some tips for a successful and safe turkey
Dont stalk. More than half of turkey hunting
injuries happen when one hunter stalks another. Always
assume any call or footsteps you hear are from another
hunter. Dont shoot until you clearly see the whole
turkey and know its sex. If you see another hunter, talk
to him or her clearly, and dont move. Never wave or
use a turkey call to alert another hunter.
Turkeys are tough. You need to be close (30 yards or less
is best). You need to get a clear head and neck shot. Do
not try to shoot them in the body or when they are
flying. Smaller shot, no. 4, 5, and 6, work better than
larger shot, due to denser shot patterns.
When calling, sit still with your back against a big
tree, to hide you from turkeys and stalkers. Never wear
turkey colors red, white, or blue. Wear hunter
orange when going in or out of the woods and when walking
around. When sitting still waiting for a turkey, put
hunter orange on a tree near you. If you take a turkey or
carry a decoy, wrap it in hunter orange.
Here are some rules you need to know:
You will need a small game hunting license and a turkey
You may not use rifles or handguns. You can hunt only
with a shotgun and shot sizes no larger than #2 or
smaller than #8, or with a bow and arrow.
You must fill out the tag which comes with your permit
and attach it to any turkey you shoot immediately.
Be sure to consult your hunting regulations guide for