This may come as a surprise. You go into the woods, dressed in full camouflage. You find a nice spot to hide. So you sit down, hide in some brush, and start making turkey sounds. So far, so good. Then some nimrod, who can’t seem to follow the rules, decides you sound a little too much the real thing, and starts to stalk you. He is calling as he gets closer to you, thinking he is the turkey hunter of the year. He can’t see you. By now, you see him, but you’re too afraid to say a word, or even move. Next thing you hear is the sound of a shotgun blast as he points his muzzle at the brush and fires.
Illegal (for those non-turkey hunters, you are not allowed to stalk birds; rather you must call them to you).
Here’s the news flash, it is the most dangerous hunting season.
Turkey hunters are at greater risk because they generally remain stationary and use turkey calls to lure their quarry, prompting other hunters to mistake them for game, researchers said.
Although it is a violation of game law to “stalk” a turkey, about three-fourths of shooting incidents during turkey season involved circumstances that suggested to the researchers that the shooter may have been stalking and shooting based on the sound of a turkey call.
Is there a solution? Sure, there is:
the study also endorsed … the reintroduction of mandatory blaze-orange clothing.
Doesn’t PA already require blaze-orange for turkey hunting?
Pennsylvania is one of a few states that require fall turkey hunters to wear fluorescent orange, and the only state in the nation that requires it to be worn by spring turkey hunters.
Here are the PA blaze-orange requirements.
So, if PA already has orange requirements, shouldn’t the number of turkey hunting incidents be decreasing?
According to the International Hunter Education Association there were 20 firearm incidents in Pennsylvania during the fall and spring turkey seasons in 2001 and 23 incidents the year before. Several of these incidents involved hunters wearing blaze orange; three incidents were attributed to the wearing of blaze-orange when hunters mistook blaze- orange for the red of a gobbler’s head.
The solution is easy: Obey the laws, don’t stalk birds.
In the spring, the solution is even easier: You can only shoot a bearded bird. Before you raise that muzzle at me, you’d better see a beard. This turkey shoots back.
OTB – where turkeys are everywhere.