Gobbling up thanks: Giving turkeys a glance

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Henry Zeman-NWTF
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  • ODFW photo Captive Tom Turkey at the EE Wilson Wildlife Area near Corvallis
  • Henry Zeman-NWTF
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • Oregon Department of Fiish and Wildlife photo of captive turkey
  • Tim Simos-NWTF
  • Tom Evans-NWTF
  • John Hafner-NWTF
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Henry Zeman-NWTF
Safety is a key element when you're in the woods calling in a wild turkey. A safe turkey hunter is much like a safe driver: you must be defensive minded. Also, a safe hunter is an effective hunter. Think safety; hunt safely! Here are some tips from the NWTF to consider when you're in the woodshunting turkey: Know your state's hunting regulations and follow them. Keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction, and leave the safety on until you are ready to shoot. Positively identify your target, and know what is beyond your target before you shoot. Avoid wearing white, red, black or blue since these are the colors of a gobbler's head and body. This includes handkerchiefs, socks, T-shirts and even items such as candy wrappers and insect repellant. Select a spot that is in open timber rather than thick brush. Eliminating movement and camouflage is more critical to success than heavy cover. Sit against a large stump, blow-down, tree trunk or rock that is wider than your shoulders and higher than your head when calling wild turkeys. If you imitate the sound of a gobbling turkey, you could call in other hunters. You should always be cautious, but especially when hunting public land. If decoys are legal and you use them, place them off to one side and make sure you can see anyone approaching your decoys before the other hunter is within range. Leave the area if you suspect there's another hunter already working the same bird. If another hunter enters your hunting area, never move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert the other hunter. Remain still and call out to them in a loud, clear voice to get his or her attention. Ensure your decoy is not visible when you are transporting it. Stash the decoy in your vest or a bag and make sure the head is not sticking out. If you harvest a wild turkey during your hunting trip, you also should cover the bird's head and body when carrying it out from your hunting spot.