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Home / Hunting / Hunting Articles


Defensive Turkey Hunting Tactics

March 16, 2004

A safe turkey hunter, like a safe driver, is defensive minded. Below are the National Wild Turkey Federation’s tips for having a safe hunt that you should consider before heading out for your next hunt.

During the Hunt Defensive Hunting Tactics
Safety is a key element when you’re in the woods calling in that big gobbler. A safe turkey hunter is much like a safe driver—you must be defensive minded. Here are some tips to consider when you’re in the woods:

  1. Select a large stump, blow-down, tree trunk, or rock that covers the width of your shoulders and is higher than your head. Place your back against the stump or rock when calling; a hunter is more likely to spot another hunter when moving to the front or side than from behind.
  2. Do not wear any white, red, black and blue on your hunting outfit; this includes handkerchiefs, socks, underwear and even items like candy wrappers.
  3. When calling, select a spot that is in open timber rather than thick brush: eliminating movement is more critical to success than hiding in heavy cover.
  4. Be discreet and careful when imitating the sound of a gobbling turkey.
  5. Always be alert. A good woodsman can always detect movement in the forest by watching other game or listening for the alarm cries of bluejays, crows, squirrels, or woodpeckers.
  6. Continue to be on alert. When songbirds, crows or your turkey shuts up—look out; there's a good chance another hunter is moving in on your bird.
  7. When another hunter is in your presence, never move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert the other hunter. You need to remain still and call to them in a loud, clear voice to get his/her attention. These tactics are safer than quick movements. Use common sense.
  8. If you are calling over decoys and elect to move to a new location, check carefully to ensure that no one is stalking your decoys. Check before leaving your set up. Should you see someone in the area, the rule above applies.

NWTF’s Before the Hunt Safety Tips
Safety is very important when you’re in the woods, but you must always prepare yourself before the hunting season or before you go on your hunt.

  • Check with your doctor if you have any medical concerns.
  • Hunt within your physical limitations.
  • Let your hunting partners know if you have physical limitations.
  • Let someone know where you are hunting and when you expect to return.
  • Work to have a basic understanding of first aid.
  • Carry, and know how to use, a map and compass.

NWTF’s Turkey Hunters Code of Ethics

  • Never let peer pressure or the excitement of the hunt cloud your judgment.
  • Learn and practice safe hunting techniques.
  • Hunt the wild turkey fairly and with respect.
  • Know the capabilities and limitations of your gun or bow and use it safely.
  • Positively identify your target as a legal bird and insist on a good shot.
  • Obey and support all wildlife laws and report any violations.
  • Respect the land and the landowner and always obtain permission before hunting.
  • Avoid knowingly interfering with another hunter and respect the rights of others to lawfully share the outdoors.
  • Value the hunting experience and appreciate the beauty of the wild turkey.

The NWTF is a great resource for turkey hunting tips and other wild turkey information. Visit the NWTF’s Web site for information or call 800-THE-NWTF to become a NWTF member and receive one of their great magazines filled with turkey hunting tips and stories.


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