Turkey hunting tips 101

Friday, March 23, 2001 at 1:00am

On March 31, 30 minutes before sunrise, thousands of Tennesseans will be quietly hiding themselves from Tennessee's wild turkey population.

Tennessee's 2001 turkey hunting season should be very exciting, due to the tremendous success of Tennessee turkey restoration efforts.

Anytime a hunter takes to the field and woods in search of wild game there are certain rules needed to keep the hunting safe. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is always concerned of the occasional hunting accident when a hunter does not properly identify his target. Even one accident is too many.

With the season just a few days away, the TWRA encourages all hunters to follow the ten commandments of turkey hunting recommended by the National Wild Turkey Federation.

If you plan to hunt wild turkey in Tennessee this season, please take time to carefully read and follow these safety rules:

Never stalk a turkey. The chances of getting close enough for a shot are slim, but the chances of becoming involved in an accident are increased.

Eliminate the colors red, white, and blue from all your hunting clothes. Red is the color most hunters count on to differentiate a gobbler's head from the hen's blue colored head.

Never move, wave, or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your presence. Yell in a loud voice and remain hidden.

Never attempt to approach closer than 100 yards to a roosting turkey.

Be particularly careful when making the sounds of a gobbler. The sound and motion may attract other hunters.

When selecting your calling position, don't try to hide so well that you cannot see that is happening around you. Remember, eliminating movement is your key to success, not total concealment.

Select a calling position that provides a background as wide as your shoulders, and one that will completely protect you from the top of your head down.

Small trees will not hide slight movement of your hands and shoulders which might look like a turkey to another hunter who could be unwisely stalking your calls. Position yourself so you can see 180 degrees in front of you.

Camouflage conceals you. It does not make you invisible. When turkey hunting, think and act defensively. Avoid all unnecessary movement. Remember, you are visible to both turkeys and hunters when you move even slightly.

Sitting perfectly still will help you take more turkeys than all the camo you can wear.

Never shoot at a sound or movement. Be 100 percent certain of your target before you pull the trigger. A good rule of thumb is to not shoot until you can clearly see the gobbler's eye. That way, the bird will be in range and you will be sure it is a turkey.

When turkey hunting, assume that every sound you hear is made by another hunter. Once you pull the trigger you can never take that shot back.

For more information about the 2001 turkey season, pick up a copy of the Tennessee Wild Turkey Regulations available wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

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