Statement issued Monday:
Indiana Conservation Officers are encouraging hunters to be safe this spring when taking to the woods. Turkey hunting is a sport that has been enjoyed by Hoosiers for more than three decades. During this time, Indiana has never had a fatal turkey hunting accident; however, a few turkey hunters are injured in shooting accidents every year.
The 2012 spring turkey season opens April 25th and runs through May 13th. The youth spring turkey season is April 21-22. Hunters are allowed to take 1 male or bearded turkey during the regular spring season or during the youth season. Youth hunters who take a turkey during the youth weekend are not allowed to take another turkey in the regular spring season. The 2012 Spring & Fall Turkey Hunting Guide can be viewed online at http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/files/fw-turkeyhuntguide.pdf.
Indiana Conservation officers offer these safety TIPS for you to follow while turkey hunting.
• 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.
• Be extremely careful using turkey decoys.
• Do not wear red, white, or blue outer wear or exposed inner clothing.
• Don’t assume you are the only hunter in the area.
• Be certain of a hunting partner’s location.
• Know and identify your target and what is beyond.
• Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.
• Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
• 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.
During this season, many people are also in the woods searching for wild mushrooms. Before partaking in this seasonal activity, obtain permission from the landowner and ask if anyone has permission to Turkey Hunt in the woods you will be in. Even if you are the only person allowed to be in the woods, never assume you are out there alone. A mistake in property boundaries or trespassers could put you in the woods with a Turkey Hunter. If you are hunting on state property, be sure to check that property’s regulations for permitted activities and times.
Whether you are turkey hunting, mushroom hunting or enjoying a spring walk in the woods, be on the lookout for suspicious activity. Things you may come across include baited areas, marijuana grows, and methamphetamine activity.
Anyone with information regarding any suspicious activity or fish and wildlife violations are urged to contact Indiana Conservation Officer’s Central Dispatch at 812-837-9536. Conservation Officers can also be contacted at any Conservation Officers District Headquarters which can be found online in the “contact us” portion of the DNR Law Enforcement website www.in.gov/dnr/lawenfor/. Fish and wildlife violations can be reported by calling 800-TIP-IDNR or on the TIP website www.1800tipidnr.org. Callers can remain anonymous and are subject to a reward if information leads to a conviction.