Youth Hunt opens April 15; Hunting season begins April 19
MADISON, Wisconsin. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds turkey hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to be vigilant and stay safe during the Spring 2023 turkey season, April 19 – May 30, 2023 The Youth Turkey Hunt is April 15-16, 2023.
Hunters and public land users may be sharing fields and woods during the season and should be vigilant and alert of others in their area. Hunters should follow safety rules, and non-hunters enjoying public land should consider wearing a bright orange color.
Hunter camouflage is an important part of turkey hunting, but it can also present a problem. The better camouflaged and hidden you are, the less likely another hunter will be able to see you, and the more likely they will mistake you for a turkey.
Using the wrong color could put turkey hunters at risk. It is especially important to avoid wearing red, white or blue. If a fellow hunter sees a flash of those colors through the brush, they might mistake you for a turkey.
To dress for success and safety, follow these tips from the National Wild Turkey Federation:
- Make sure that any accessories you carry that are red, white, or blue (lures, diaphragm calls, box call chalk, candy wrappers, apples, cigarette packs, etc.) are not visible to other hunters.
- Camouflage your weapon. Cover up white diamonds or other red or white markings.
- Always keep your hands and head hidden when calling.
- If you see another hunter, call them so they know you’re there. It is better to briefly interrupt a hunt than to risk an incident.
- Wear dark colored socks and long pants to avoid exposing your bare skin.
- Do not “over-camouflage” yourself by sitting in vegetation so thick that it obscures your vision.
- If using a human-made blind or camouflage net, maintain a clear field of vision.
HUNTER SAFETY REMINDERS
In addition to taking care of your wardrobe, the DNR reminds hunters to practice the Four Rules of Firearm Safety (TAB-K) before going out into the field. Any hunting incident can be attributed to a violation of one or more of these rules. They are:
- T – Treat each firearm as if it were loaded
- A – Always point the muzzle in a safe direction
- B – Be sure of your goal; what is before and what is beyond
- K: Keep your finger off the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot
Not knowing your target is the most frequently broken rule.
Hunters are also encouraged to practice these additional safety tips:
- Place a bright orange band around the tree they sit next to.
- Place a bright orange sign in the window of your vehicle that reads, “Camouflage Hunter in Area – Beware.”
- Wear bright orange while moving from one place to another
Some turkey hunters use a fanned turkey tail for concealment, often referred to as a “fan”. One technique gaining popularity is harvesting, in which the hunter hides behind a fan while moving toward the turkey, often prompting the bird to challenge him.
Although this technique is legal in Wisconsin, it does present potential security risks. Hunters should take the following safety measures if they choose to attempt harvesting:
- Always fully cover your lures when loading.
- Do not attempt to harvest a turkey on public land. There may be other hunters or the general public in the area that you are not aware of.
- Do not mow a turkey in the woods or near the edge of a field on any property, whether on public or private land.
PUBLIC LAND USERS
If you’re enjoying public lands, consider what you’re wearing before heading out into fields, trails, or state forests during spring turkey season.
Avoid a hunting incident by wearing bright orange clothing and avoiding red, white, and blue.
The regular turkey hunting season ends May 30. More information about the 2023 spring turkey season, including safety tips, is available on the DNR website.