Heading into Georgia’s woods to go turkey hunting requires more than a valid license and ensuring your firearms are ready.
Walter Lane, hunter development program manager for the Wildlife Resources Division, advises hunters to review turkey hunting safety rules.
“Firearms safety knowledge is critical to keeping you, and others, safe while in the woods,” Lane says. “In addition to firearms safety tips, hunters should review and practice safety precautions relative to turkey hunting.”
Georgia’s statewide turkey season opens March 26. Lane’s safety tips include:
• Never wear red, white, blue or black clothing while turkey hunting. Red is the color most hunters look for when distinguishing a gobbler’s head from a hen’s blue-colored head, but at times it may appear white or blue. Male turkey feathers covering most of the body are black in appearance. Camouflage should be used to cover everything, including the hunter’s face, hands and firearm.
• Select a calling position that provides at least a shoulder-width background, such as the base of a tree. Be sure at least a 180-degree range is visible.
• Do not stalk a gobbling turkey. Their keen eyesight and hearing make a chance of getting close slim to none.
• When using a turkey call, the sound and motion may attract the interest of other hunters. Do not move, wave or make turkey-like sounds to alert another hunter to your presence. Instead, identify yourself in a loud voice.
• Be careful when carrying a harvested turkey from the woods. Do not allow the wings to hang loosely or the head to be displayed in such a way that another hunter may think it is a live bird. If possible, cover the turkey in blaze orange material.
• Although it’s not required, it is suggested hunters wear blaze orange when moving between a vehicle and a hunting site. When moving between hunting sites, hunters should wear blaze orange on their upper bodies to facilitate their identification by other hunters.
New in Georgia for 2016, all turkey hunters, including those under 16 years of age, landowners, honorary, lifetime, and sportsman license holders, must obtain a free harvest record each season.
Before moving a harvested turkey, hunters are required to immediately enter the date and county on the harvest record, and must complete the reporting process within 72 hours through Georgia Game Check. See www.georgiawildlife.com/HarvestRecordGeorgiaGameCheck and www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations.
Georgia turkey hunters must possess a valid hunting license and a big game license. If hunting on a wildlife management area, hunters must also possess a WMA license. Hunters must always obtain permission from a landowner before hunting on private land. Only male turkeys may be harvested, and the season bag limit is three gobblers per hunter.
Licenses are available online at www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes.