Turkey Hunters Urged To Be Attentive, Safe
HARRISBURG, PA –-(AmmoLand.com)- Every fall, hunters head into Pennsylvania’s forests and woodlots in pursuit of wild turkeys. According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, it’s one of autumn’s greatest competitions as hunters try to call in their quarries. It’s also a time when hunters really need to be in tune with their surroundings.
“Staying alert and making sound shooting decisions will go a long way toward ensuring your safety and the safety of others in turkey season this fall,” said Keith Snyder, Game Commission Hunter-Trapper Education Division chief. “So, too, will always handling your sporting arm in a safe and responsible way.
“The Game Commission has worked with the National Wild Turkey Federation and the agency’s cadre of volunteer hunter-trapper education instructors over the past decade to reverse what was a growing number of turkey hunting-related shooting incidents. Today, Pennsylvania’s woods are safer for turkey hunters. But hunters must remain vigilant. Paying attention and hunting safely ensure that your trip afield remains an enjoyable one.”
Hunters are urged to follow the SMART rules for firearms safety that is reinforced in the agency’s Hunter-Trapper Education Program. Being SMART with firearms will ensure you hunt safely and responsibly.
The acronym SMART reinforces the following rules:
- – Safe Direction: Keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction;
- – Make Sure: Positively identify your target;
- – Always Check: Know what’s beyond your target before shooting;
- – Respect Firearms: Treat all firearms as if they were loaded; and
- – Trigger Caution: Don’t touch the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
Turkey hunters should always hunt defensively, assuming every movement or sound they hear is another hunter until they can be absolutely certain that it isn’t. If you see another hunter approaching your calling location, don’t move or wave to get their attention. Yell, “Stop!” to verbally announce your presence.
Protect your back by sitting at the base of a large tree or rock. Make sure you positively identify your target as a turkey before you disengage the safety of your sporting arm.
Don’t shoot at movement or sounds you think might be a turkey. Let the turkeys come to you and watch their approach carefully.
In addition, while wearing orange is required for all fall turkey hunters while moving, hunters should consider wearing or posting orange at all times. For orange requirements, please see page 70 of the 2009-10 Digest.