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TURKEY AND GROUSE HUNTING HAVE SPECIAL SAFETY CONCERNS
September 6, 2011
MADISON -- Hunters need to keep safety in mind when hunting turkey and grouse.
"There's something very special about turkey and grouse hunting," says Tim Lawhern, administrator for the State Department of Natural Resources' Division of Enforcement & Science. "And with the enthusiasm that goes along with this type of hunting, we should all be mindful of making sure we return home safe and sound at the end of each hunt."
Here are some things Lawhern says hunters need to keep in mind when going afield after ruffed grouse and fall turkey:
- In grouse hunting, two is company and three is definitely a crowd. Any hunt with more than two will become difficult to manage from a safety aspect.
- Communicate. Grouse cover is thick and sometimes it will be difficult to see a hunting partner who might only be a few yards away.
- Plan your hunt and hunt your plan. Keep it simple. Know in advance how far and in what direction you will be going and when turns will be made.
- Advise someone else of where you will be hunting and when they should expect you back. Then, if something goes wrong, at least someone will know where to start looking.
- Know your safe zone of fire. If you are on the left, your safe zone is to the left and slightly forward. The opposite is the case if you are on the right. Always advance forward in unison and don't get ahead of or behind your partner.
- In heavy cover, shoot only at birds that are at least eight feet above the ground. Don't shoot at low birds that could have a hunter or a dog behind them!
- Wear blaze orange clothing and stay in visual contact with your partner at all times. If you lose sight of your partner, stop hunting, call, and listen until you locate each other.
- Turkey hunters need to be sure of their target - shooting into heavy brush without positive identification can lead to tragedy.
- Follow the four basic rules of firearm safety: TAB+K.
- Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
- Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
- Be certain of your target and what's beyond it.
- Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you're ready to shoot.
Lawhern suggests that hunters also consider wearing some type of eye protection. A good pair of clear or light-colored safety glasses can go a long way toward avoiding injury to eyes and sight.
Grouse and turkey hunters also need to be aware that there might be other hunters afield at the same time in pursuit of other types of game. Bow hunters may be perched in tree stands and other turkey hunters may be under a tree. Most of them will be wearing full camouflage and will therefore be very hard to see.
"Famed conservationist Aldo Leopold once wrote, 'There are two kinds of hunting: ordinary hunting, and ruffed grouse hunting,'" Lawhern says. "Don't let careless hunting practices spoil this special tradition."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Lawhern - (608) 264-6133
Last Revised: Tuesday, September 06, 2011