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Being Safe While Turkey Hunting

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March 11, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about being safe while turkey hunting. Hello. I'm Amy Myers, and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Dr. John Long, Mississippi State University extension 4H Youth Development Specialist. John, turkey season is always a long-awaited season. When does turkey season start this year?

John Long: Amy, youth season actually starts on March the 8th and continues to March the 14th. That is for youth only, and then starting March 15th all the way through May 1st, it's open to adults and youth as well.

Amy Myers: What are some things that hunters need to do in order to get ready for the upcoming season?

John Long: It seems that turkey hunting is becoming more and more popular, which is a good thing, but with the increase in hunters, we also need to emphasize the the need for increased safety. One of the first things you can do in preparation is to first make sure that your gun is in a safe and working order. A lot of times we haven't touched that gun since last season, and we need to make sure it's clean, and it's actually still working properly. That your gun is still shooting on an accurate pattern. Make sure your ammunition is in good working order. There's not rust in the brass. It's not rusted, or you don't have any type of leakage of buffer or shot, and if you're using a vest, make sure that you have the necessities. Water and snacks, things like that. Make sure they are in your vest. One of the things I think that we don't really think about all that much is cleaning our mouth calls.

Our mouth calls have set up over the year and there could be some nasty bacteria and viruses hiding in those, and we don't want to put those directly right back in our mouth. You can do that by soaking those mouth calls in alcohol just for a short amount of time, and then rinsing them in water, and then air drying. Also, make sure that your license is current. If you have a nod for your youth and you haven't taken a hunter safety course, then make sure that you have done that, and have the proper license. It is always important to read and reread state game laws, and any public land area laws that you would be in, because some of those regulations and seasons may have changed based on where you are.

Amy Myers: What are some safety tips for being in the woods?

John Long: One thing that unfortunately causes accidents is assuming that you're the only person in the area. Even on private land, you need to be remain vigilant. If you hear, "A hen or a turkey yelping or gobbling," that that may be a person actually. Always make sure of your target. There's been many accidents caused by people just shooting at a target that they were for certain thought it was a turkey, but it turned out to be a person. Don't take any risky shots. The American wild turkey is a creature that deserves to be harvested in a quick fashion, ethically, and we need to make sure that we know our target, and we make a good shot on the target.

Never wear the colors red, white, and blue. I always say that you can remember that from the colors of the American flag. Red, white, and blue are also the colors of the wild turkey's gobbler's head. And, we don't want anything exposed. Not even a small amount of red, white, or blue, even if it was an undershirt. Make sure that your cell phone is charged because you may need to communicate. It's also a good thing to have an extra device to orient yourself. Always, again, always take water with you because you can get wrapped up in the moment and forget to hydrate yourself.

Amy Myers: What do you do if another person approaches your calling and hasn't seen you?

John Long: One thing that you don't want to do is make any motion. So, never wave and definitely don't call. By that I mean yelp or gobble. Be sure to be still, and say in a clear loud voice, "Hey, I'm over here." Nothing makes that sound other than a human. If the person still doesn't see you, make sure you say it again until they recognize who you are.

Amy Myers: Where can we go to learn more about turkey hunting?

John Long: You actually have a publication online, which is Search for turkey hunting safety. Also That is our state Game Agency website. It provides a lot of information regarding those state laws, and especially if you're going to be hunting on public land.

Amy Myers: Today, we've been speaking with Dr. John Long, 4H Youth Development Specialist. I'm Amy Myers, and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Ctr 4-H Youth Development

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