Kentucky Turkey Hunters Adviser To Be Cautious Late In Spring Turkey Season


Mar 11, 2001
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Kentucky Turkey Hunters Adviser To Be Cautious Late In Spring Turkey Season


Frankfort, Kentucky - The Bluegrass is turning green. Once-bare trees hold thickening canopies of leaves thanks to plenty of rain and sunshine. But the growing leaf cover that spells springtime means turkey hunters must be extra careful in the woods.

"It's harder to see turkeys - but harder to see people, too. That's one of the big concerns," said Mary McQuillen, hunter training officer for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

McQuillen advises hunters to positively identify what's moving before pulling the trigger, and not make the mistake of just shooting at a sound or movement.

Hunting remains a safe activity with just a few incidents reported each season. Although more than 75,000 people are turkey hunting in Kentucky this spring, there has been only one hunting accident reported as the general season approaches its second week. In that single incident, a hunter firing at a flying turkey accidently struck his hunting partner with some shotgun pellets.

"What happened in that particular situation was the turkey flew and was out of the hunter's zone of fire," said Bobby McKee, also a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife hunter training officer. "He ended up making a mistake and shooting his buddy. You always have to know your target and what's beyond it."

McKee recommends hunters create a plan when hunting with friends. "If you've got a buddy that is hunting with you, you need to constantly know where your friend is at," he said. "When I'm hunting with a friend, we plan ahead of time where each of us will be and how we're going to hunt that farm. Have a hunting plan and stick to it."

Even with the best plans, however, it's always possible to encounter an unexpected hunter in the field. Hunters should be cautious when alerting others to their presence.

"If you see another hunter, don't wave at him. That movement could get you shot," said McQuillen. "Stay still and, in a normal voice, say, ‘Hey, I'm hunting here.' "

McQuillen also cautions hunters against using gobbler sounds, which other hunters may mistake for a real turkey. Additionally, hunters should be careful which colors they wear in the field.

"Never wear the colors of the American flag - those are the turkey's colors," said McQuillen. "Hunters see color and they think, ‘turkey.'"

Turkey hunters should keep safety in mind at all times, no matter how much they want to take a bird. All it takes is one lapse in judgment to cause an injury.

"Sometimes the pressure is on if you haven't gotten your bird yet," said McKee. "It might make hunters a little anxious to harvest one. But this is not a time to make a bad decision."

Kentucky's spring turkey season is open now through May 10. For complete hunting regulations and additional turkey safety tips, check the 2009 Kentucky Hunting Guide for Spring, available at and wherever hunting licenses are sold.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources manages, regulates, enforces and promotes responsible use of all fish and wildlife species, their habitats, public wildlife areas and waterways for the benefit of those resources and for public enjoyment. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is an agency of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. For more information on the department, visit our web site at

Hayley Lynch (800) 858-1549 ext. 4493

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