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Turkey Hunting Tips

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 hunter’s awareness of key safety rules:
Always identify the target before shooting, and be sure that no other person is in harm’s way.
Some people are tempted to try to stalk a wild turkey. Forget it!
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 hunting season.
Don’t 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. Don’t shoot until you clearly see the whole turkey and know its sex. If you see another hunter, talk to him or her clearly, and don’t 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 permit.
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 other rules.


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