Hunting for turkeys is a popular pastime for many outdoor enthusiasts in the US, but is turkey hunting dangerous? While there are risks involved with any type of hunting, including turkey hunting, they can be mitigated to a point where it becomes very safe.
Most Dangerous Part of Turkey Hunting
One of the biggest risks associated with turkey hunting is firearm accidents. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, hunting accidents involving firearms have decreased by 73% in the last 50 years. In 1960, there were 30 hunting accidents per 100,000 hunters, but in 2019, that number had dropped to just 8.3 accidents per 100,000 hunters.
Gun Safety is a Must
While these statistics are encouraging, it’s important to remember that even one accident is too many. When it comes to turkey hunting, it’s crucial to follow gun safety rules to the letter. This means always keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, treating every firearm as if it’s loaded, and never relying solely on a safety mechanism to prevent an accidental discharge.
Beginner Turkey Hunters Have the Highest Risk
People who are beginners in turkey hunting are going to be at the most risk. They just don’t have the experience that seasoned hunters would. This makes them more susceptible to accidents, hot weather and cold weather injuries, and gun safety issues.
The longer you have been hunting, the more you will become used to mitigating certain risks.
Danger of Friendly Fire From Fellow Hunters
Other safety precautions to take when turkey hunting include wearing hunter orange or other brightly colored clothing to increase visibility, setting up decoys and hunting blinds in a safe and responsible manner, and knowing the hunting laws and regulations in your area.
Hunting in inclement weather can be dangerous, too. If it’s too hot out and you aren’t drinking enough water, you can become a victim of heat stroke. This is easy to combat. Dress appropriately, and HYDRATE HOURLY!
Did you know you can get hypothermia from simply being in rain when it’s cold out? It does not need to be below freezing to become a victim to cold weather. Again, dress appropriately, and know what you are getting into when turkey hunting in the rain.
Other Dangers to Be Aware Of
In addition to firearm accidents, there are other risks associated with turkey hunting, such as falls from elevated hunting positions, and even encounters with dangerous wildlife. Just because you have a gun on you, doesn’t make you invincible. There are snakes, insects, and plenty of animals (like wild boar) that have the ability to seriously hurt you.
Ways to Make Turkey Hunting Safer
it’s important to understand that hunting of any kind involves inherent risks, and turkey hunting is no exception. Here are some ways to make turkey hunting safer
Attend a Hunter Education Course
Every state requires a hunter education course for new hunters. These courses cover essential safety principles and teach new hunters how to handle firearms safely, identify their targets and hunt responsibly.
Practice Safe Firearm Handling
Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, and be aware of what is beyond your target. Never rely on the safety mechanism alone to prevent an accidental discharge.
Use Proper Hunting Camoflauge
Wear appropriate turkey hunting camo, including blaze orange or other highly visible colors, so other hunters can easily see you. Use a tree stand or elevated hunting platform that meets industry safety standards, and always use a safety harness when hunting from an elevated position.
Be Familiar with Hunting Regulations
Understand hunting laws and regulations in your state or area, including bag limits, hunting seasons, and other restrictions. Also, respect private property and obtain permission before hunting on any private land.
Always Hunt with a Partner
Hunting with a partner not only increases the chances of a successful hunt, but it also adds an extra layer of safety. If an accident occurs, having a partner nearby can help ensure that help is immediately available.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
When hunting in a group, always be aware of your surroundings and the location of your hunting partners. Stay in communication with each other, and never shoot at a sound or movement without first identifying the target.
Summary – Is Turkey Hunting Dangerous?
To summarize, turkey hunting can be dangerous, but with proper safety measures and precautions, the risks can be minimized. Always follow gun safety rules, wear appropriate clothing, and be aware of your surroundings. By doing so, you can enjoy the thrill of the hunt while staying safe and responsible.