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DNR Warns Turkey Hunters To Know Target And Avoid Shooting Two Birds

Conservation wardens are reminding turkey hunters to please make sure of your target -- and what’s near it -- before pulling the trigger.

Why the reminder? In recent weeks, conservation wardens have been getting reports involving turkey hunters accidentally bagging more than one bird with a single shot.

Warden Supervisor David Holmes, based in Poynette, advises hunters to follow the rules of hunter safety and to be sure of your target. That includes knowing what's in front and what's behind that target.

“Often times in the excitement of the hunt, a hunter can develop tunnel vision and fail to see the other turkeys standing in close proximity to the turkey they intend to harvest,” Holmes says.

During some investigations, Holmes says wardens have learned that turkey hunters had forgotten that a shotgun shoots much differently than a rifle. A shotgun disperses a pattern of fine shot, not a single projectile like a rifle. As that pattern of fine shot goes further away from the muzzle, it widens out and may unintentionally strike other turkeys standing nearby.

Since turkeys are generally social in nature, especially in the spring breeding season, these birds often stand in close proximity to other turkeys. This may lead to the hunter accidentally killing other birds.

Holmes says there are several things turkey hunters can do to prevent an overbagging incident. These include:

  • Select a hunting location that allows you to best see the area where you intend to shoot.
  • Be aware that rolling topography or thick brush may obscure other objects or turkeys that may be near your intended target.
  • Before you pull the trigger, look around. Are there other turkeys standing near the one that you intend to shoot? If so, wait for an open shot.
  • Take shots that are within the effective range of your shotgun.

If you accidentally harvest more than one bird and do not have the proper permits, please immediately contact your local conservation warden by calling 1(800) 847-9367 or 1 (800) TIP-WDNR.


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