CONTACT:
Peter Lester (603) 271-3211
Jane Vachon (603) 271-3211
April 18, 2003

Tips for a Safe and Successful Spring Turkey Hunt

CONCORD, N.H. -- In New Hampshire, the month of May brings not just flowers, but the spring firearms season for hunting wild turkeys. The season extends from May 3-31.

Reintroduced to New Hampshire in recent years, wild turkeys have become a conservation success story in the Granite State. Turkey hunting is growing in popularity around the state, and, with abundant birds, more hunters are succeeding in bringing home a gobbler. With the start of the season fast approaching, New Hampshire Fish and Game reminds hunters going after wild turkeys to think of safety first.

"With more hunters sharing the springtime woods, it's very important to pass along some turkey hunting safety tips," said Peter Lester, Hunter Education Administrator for New Hampshire Fish and Game. "The key rule to remember is to never try to stalk a turkey. Chances are, you'll never get close enough to a turkey for a shot, and all too often you may be stalking another hunter."

Lester offered his top safety tips for turkey hunters:
* Avoid wearing clothes with the colors red, white, blue and black. These are the colors found on a male turkey.
* Do wear a blaze orange hat or vest as you enter or leave the area in which you're hunting.
* Put some blaze orange cloth or survey tape around a nearby tree when calling turkeys.
* Be sure you can see the entire bird, so you know it's a legal bird and a safe shot. Never shoot if you see just part of the turkey.
* Keep in mind that other hunters may be in the woods using a decoy and calling the birds. Don't be fooled by a fellow hunter! Always assume every sound you hear and movement you see is a person.

"Follow these basic safety principles, and you won't make a mistake you'll regret," Lester said.

As you hunt, be sure to keep in mind the Ten Commandments of Shooting Safety:
1. Treat every firearm with the same respect due a loaded firearm.
2. Control the direction of your firearm's muzzle.
3. Be sure of your target and what's beyond it.
4. Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.
5. Unload firearms when not in use.
6. Never point a firearm at anything you do not want to shoot.
7. Never climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch or log, with a loaded firearm.
8. Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or at water.
9. Store firearms and ammunition separately.
10. Avoid alcoholic beverages or mood-altering drugs before or while shooting.

Lester noted that hunters can do their part to ensure the future of hunting in New Hampshire by practicing good hunting ethics and conduct. Be especially respectful of other hunters' "space." Always ask landowners for permission to hunt on their land. Be courteous to landowners, other hunters and non-hunters, and pick up any litter you find. Share your enthusiasm for the hunting tradition with friends, family and neighbors.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department works to conserve, manage and protect the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources, educate the public and provide opportunities for people to use and appreciate these resources. Click here to find out more about turkey hunting in New Hampshire.

Hunters can buy a hunting license and $6 turkey permit online -- any time -- at www.nhfishandgame.com.

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