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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Fish & Wildlife > Hunting & Trapping > Turkey Hunting Safety Turkey Hunting Safety

Turkey hunting is a pleasurable sport enjoyed by Hoosiers for more than three decades. During this time, Indiana has never had a fatal turkey hunting accident. However, a few Hoosier turkey hunters are injured in shooting accidents every year.

Surprisingly, national studies show that most turkey season shooting incidents on persons involve experienced hunters who accidentally fire on their own hunting partners. The studies also show most turkey hunting shooting accidents occur on private land.

Did you know...

  • Most shooting accidents take place at 11-50 yards when the shooter failed to properly identify the target.
  • About two-thirds of all incidents occurred on private land.
  • Shooters involved in these incidents were, on average, 45 years old with 30 years of hunting experience and 16 years of turkey hunting experience.
  • Victims, on average, were 43 years old with 13 years of turkey hunting experience.

Review and follow the Turkey Hunting Safety Rules as part of your annual spring turkey preparation. Make a copy for your camp or hunting vehicle. Review them frequently before and during the season.

It is the responsibility of each hunter to help make our state one of the safer places to hunt wild turkeys in the spring.

Safety Rules for Turkey Hunting

  • Select a calling position where you can see for at least 50 yards in all directions and where you are protected from the backside.
  • Whistle or shout to alert approaching hunters of your position. Never wave or stand up.
  • Never sneak in on a turkey or use a gobbler call near other hunters. Never crowd another hunter working a bird.
  • Never shoot at sound or movement.
  • Use a flashlight when walking in the dark.
  • Be aware of turkey "fever" and its prevention. Disregard peer pressure to bag a bird.
  • Be extremely careful using turkey decoys.
  • Do not wear red, white, or blue outer wear or exposed inner clothing.
  • Make sure your headnet doesn't obscure your vision.
  • Don't assume you are the only hunter in the area. Be certain of a companion's location.
  • Know and identify your target and what is beyond.
  • Discuss safety techniques with companions.
  • Never assume that other hunters are responsible.
  • Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • Always keep your gun unloaded until ready to use.
  • Never use alcohol or drugs before or while hunting.
  • Respect property rights and secure permission before hunting.
  • Hunters should unload their guns when crossing fences, climbing into stands, jumping ditches or traversing steep ravines.