Strategies for Defensive Hunting of Turkeys
Turkey hunting is a favorite activity for many hunters, but it is also just about the most dangerous kind if hunting around. Think of the strategies you have to use to successfully hunt a turkey – you have to hide yourself from view and try your best to sound like a turkey – while you are surrounded by turkeys returning your calls and other hunters who are also trying to sound like turkeys. On a busy day, it can be hard for hunters to tell the difference between the sound of the turkeys and the sounds of their fellow hunters, and if you are especially convincing, the hunter could soon find themselves becoming the hunted, as other hunters take aim in your direction. To stay safe out there while hunting turkeys, there are a few strategies you can follow.
First and foremost, don’t be lax about wearing the proper vests. Most states need hunters to wear bright orange vests over their camouflage, but many hunters dislike the rule – after all, what is the point of camo if you are going to top it off with something bright and orange? These vests have saved many lives, however, and are well worth the hassle. If your state doesn’t have any laws requiring that you wear an orange vest, and you want to find a balance between your camo and the safety provided by the vest, check out the camo vests that are part camo and part bright orange removable paneling. You should also pair this vest with a ballistic vest under your clothes that will protect your chest and stomach for stray shotgun bullets.
It is also important to never wear the colors red, white or blue when hunting a turkey. White is the same color as the ball fur on top of a mature male turkey’s head, and a flash of white can draw a shot. Red and blue are the colors that hunters use to tell the difference between the male gobble and the hen – males have red head and female heads are blue.
When you are calling a turkey in a crowded hunting area, stick to the hen calls. Making male gobbler calls is what many hunters like to do when hunting in the fall especially, but since everyone is on the prowl for a male, your calls will attract even more attention from your fellow hunters. Even when you are making hen calls, pay close attention to the activities of other hunters. If you seem to have drawn someone’s attention, make sure you alert them to your presence by calling out to them.
If you do find yourself in the crosshairs of another hunter, calling out to them is a good way to disrupt them, but you should never jump up to announce your presence. When they are creeping up on your thinking that they have a bead on a turkey, your sudden movement may caused them to fire on you.
In addition to keeping yourself safe, you have a responsibility for the safety of other hunters. Even if you have taken every safety precaution necessary, always assume that every hunter out there is a first time hunter who has not taken a single precaution. Never fire until you are absolutely sure that you have a turkey in your sights and you have a completely clean shot. Do not take a shot when you hear or see movement but can’t see what has made it – it only takes one wrong shot for a tragedy to happen, and it is better to lose the turkey than to be responsible for the injury or death of another hunter.