Heading to the woods to go turkey hunting requires more than just ensuring your firearms are ready. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division encourages all hunters to review important turkey hunting safety tips.
“Firearms safety knowledge is critical to keeping you, and others, safe while in the woods,” advises Walter Lane, hunter development program manager for the Wildlife Resources Division. “In addition to firearms safety tips, hunters should review and practice safety precautions relative to turkey hunting.”
The 2016 statewide turkey season opens Saturday, Mar. 26, take time to review the following:
- Never wear red, white, blue or black clothing while turkey hunting. Red is the color most hunters look for when distinguishing a gobbler’s head from a hen’s blue-colored head, but at times it may appear white or blue. Male turkey feathers covering most of the body are black in appearance. Camouflage should be used to cover everything, including the hunter’s face, hands and firearm.
Select a calling position that provides at least a shoulder-width background, such as the base of a tree. Be sure that at least a 180-degree range is visible.
Do not stalk a gobbling turkey. Due to their keen eyesight and hearing, the chances of getting close are slim to none.
When using a turkey call, the sound and motion may attract the interest of other hunters. Do not move, wave or make turkey-like sounds to alert another hunter to your presence. Instead, identify yourself in a loud voice.
Be careful when carrying a harvested turkey from the woods. Do not allow the wings to hang loosely or the head to be displayed in such a way that another hunter may think it is a live bird. If possible, cover the turkey in a blaze orange garment or other material.
Although it’s not required, it is suggested that hunters wear blaze orange when moving between a vehicle and a hunting site. When moving between hunting sites, hunters should wear blaze orange on their upper bodies to facilitate their identification by other hunters.
NEW this year: all turkey hunters, including those under 16 years of age, landowners, honorary, lifetime, and sportsman license holders, must obtain a free harvest record each season. Before moving a harvested turkey, hunters are required to immediately enter the date and county on the harvest record, and within 72 hours, must complete the reporting process through Georgia Game Check. More information about this requirement at www.georgiawildlife.com/HarvestRecordGeorgiaGameCheck.
Turkey hunters must possess a valid hunting license and a big game license to legally hunt turkeys in Georgia. If hunting on a wildlife management area, hunters must also possess a WMA license. Sportsmen and women must always obtain permission from a landowner before hunting on private land. Only male turkeys may be harvested, and the season bag limit is three gobblers per hunter.
Where can you get a license? Buy it online, find a list of retail license vendors at www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes or buy it by phone at 1-800-366-2661.
For more hunting information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations.