Safe turkey hunting is not an accident

Spring turkey youth shotgun season begins April 8 and Hunter Nikolai, Nebraska hunter education coordinator with the Nebraska Park and Game Commission, reminds hunters to always practice the four basic rules of safety with Firearms.

The spring archery season for Nebraska turkeys opens March 25 and the spring archery season opens April 15. All spring archery seasons close at sunset on May 31.

“Turkey hunting brings excitement and anticipation for many, but never let your emotions get in the way of a safe hunt this spring,” Nikolai said.

The four basic rules of firearm safety are:

  • Treat each firearm as if it were loaded;
  • Always point the barrel of your firearm in a safe direction;
  • Be sure of your goal, what is in front of it and what is beyond it; and
  • Keep your finger off the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.

Spring turkey hunters should also practice these safety tips:

  • “Stalking” or “harvesting” turkeys with a tail fan or strutting decoy is a popular hunting technique. Never shoot on motion, always positively identify your target and check your surroundings for other hunters before picking up or moving your lures.
  • If you meet another turkey hunter, stay still and speak loudly and clearly to announce your presence. Never make movements to indicate your presence.
  • When hunting turkeys in the woods, sit against a tree or stump wider than your shoulders and higher than your head.
  • Do not wear white, blue, or red clothing while turkey hunting, as these colors are displayed by male turkeys in the spring.
  • Carry decoys and any caught birds in a bag when moving or packing them on or off your hunting ground. Wear a bright orange cap and vest when on the move to increase your visibility to other hunters.
  • Check yourself for ticks after a hunt, especially along the waist and in the hair. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing, and other hunting gear to help reduce exposure to ticks.

“Hunting is one of the safest outdoor recreational activities, thanks in large part to the many volunteer bowhunter and hunter education instructors in Nebraska communities,” Nikolai said. “Be sure to review these basic safety practices with your friends and family before you head out into the field this spring.”

Several changes have been implemented for the turkey season. Read about them on page 5 of the Turkey Guide at