CHEYENNE - April marks the opening of spring turkey hunting in Wyoming, and Game and Fish statistics indicate turkey hunting is steadily gaining in popularity.
That popularity means there are more hunters in the hills, and with that popularity, Game and Fish advises hunters to take care to take the normal common sense procedures while turkey hunting.
The spring hunt is different than most other hunts, in that fluorescent orange is not required and most hunters are wearing full camouflage. This means that hunters need to be extra careful of their target and background.
The National Wild Turkey Federation has a listing of reminders for turkey hunters:
• Never shoot at a sound or movement.
• Never shoot at a piece of a turkey. Make sure you can see the whole bird to determine if it is legal to shoot.
• Eliminate the colors red, white and blue from your turkey hunting clothing. Red is the color hunters count on to differentiate a gobbler’s head from the hen’s blue colored head.
• Be particularly careful when using a gobbler call. The sound may attract other hunters. If a hunter approaches, yell to alert him to your presence.
• Select a calling position that enables you to see 50 yards around you. If possible, your calling position should have a background at least as wide as your shoulders.
• Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.
Other reminders include unloading guns before getting in vehicles, respecting property rights, asking permission before crossing private land and being aware of what is beyond your target before you shoot. Although turkey hunters commonly dress in full camouflage, turkey hunters may consider wearing a blaze orange garment when walking to or from their calling spot. After bagging their turkey, some hunters take the extra precaution of attaching orange flagging to the bird when carrying it back to their vehicle.
Wyoming’s spring turkey season opens April 1 in three hunt areas and the other two hunt areas open April 11. Regulations specify that only male wild turkeys or turkeys with visible beards may be taken during the spring hunt. The season runs through May 20. Of Wyoming’s five hunt areas, four are general license areas, which means licenses can be purchased over-the counter. In Wyoming, all turkey hunters regardless of age need a license and most also need a conservation stamp. If born after 1965, hunter safety certification or participation in the Hunter Mentor Program is also required. Legal weapons include shotguns, centerfire firearms, muzzle-loading arms, archery equipment and firearms using .17 HMR and .22 magnum cartridges.
(Contact: Al Langston, (307) 777-4540)