Colorado Parks and Wildlife urges turkey hunters to be cautious in the field | CraigDailyPress.com

Colorado Parks and Wildlife urges turkey hunters to be cautious in the field

Craig Press staff report

District wildlife managers, mentors and volunteers smile alongside young hunters Savanna Goodin, 16, of Falcon, and Laadan Rothermund, 12, of Craig, following a successful 2017 turkey hunt in Moffat County.

Spring turkey season provides a long hunting season and a unique opportunity for hunters to get into the field during warm weather. Turkey season is also a great way to introduce novices to the sport of hunting.

But turkey hunting provides some unique challenges and Colorado Parks and Wildlife urges hunters to be extra cautious in the field.

"Turkey hunters must be extremely vigilant, everyone's dressed in camouflage and most people are calling to bring in the gobblers," said Renzo DelPiccolo, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Montrose. "So hunters need to pay that much more attention to the target, what's in front of and beyond it. "

Here are some safety reminders:

  • Always be 100 percent sure of the target before pulling the trigger. That means securing a clear visual on a turkey and what's in front of and behind it.
  • Never, ever shoot in the direction of a noise or sound.
  • During the spring season, only bearded turkeys can be taken. This requires accurate target identification.
  • Sit with your back against a tree or rock with a clear view in front of you so that you can see other hunters. Avoid sitting in thick brush. Consider tagging the tree with orange surveyor's tape.
  • Remember that some of the turkey calls you hear are probably coming from other hunters. You might be calling in another hunter.
  • If you are calling and you see another hunter approaching, sit still but speak up in a loud, clear voice and say "Hunter."
  • Call only from a stationary position. Do not call and move. A human moving slowly through the brush with dead leaves underfoot sounds just like a turkey moving.
  • Do not stalk turkeys. They are very wary, can easily detect movement and stalking is not usually a successful tactic. When changing locations walk upright and quickly so that you are easily seen by other hunters in the area.
  • Decoys are used to fool turkeys, but they can also fool hunters. Avoid using decoys of Tom turkeys. Place decoys in a safe position in relation to your position.
  • When walking in to your hunting position consider wearing an orange vest.
  • When carrying decoys to your hunting spot keep them completely covered in a bag; do the same when you're moving them – even if it's a short distance.
  • Do not wear anything or handle anything with the colors red, white or blue. Gobblers display those colors on their heads.
  •  After harvesting a turkey display orange on yourself and the turkey.
  • Be sure to read CPW's 2018 Colorado Turkey regulations brochure. The brochure also offers safety tips.

"I can't stress enough to be certain of your target. No turkey is worth a risky shot,” DelPiccolo said. "Remember, that you can never take a shot back."

Spring turkey season started April 14 and continues through May 27.