By Kelly Riordan/WDFW
As I write this post, I’m reminded of the great Seattle baseball quote, “My oh my,” because for many Washington spring turkey hunters, days are flying off the calendar like a ball flying out of the park! We are days away from the first of two fantastic spring turkey seasons opening up.
Hunters have purchased their licenses and transport tags, researched places to hunt, and scouted out the best opening morning setup locations. What do they have with them? Let’s take a moment and review.
Here are the essentials a turkey hunter should have with them on the opener:
This list pretty well covers the basics a new hunter needs to get started and be successful with a spring turkey hunt. You can certainly employ pop-up style ground blinds and other gear as you gain experience and figure out what works best for you.
Speaking of new hunters, the youth turkey season in Washington opens up April 3-4. There is arguably no better time or way to introduce youth to hunting than a spring turkey hunt. Even if the youth has not taken a hunter education course, an experienced hunter can mentor a youth hunter via the WDFW hunter education deferral program, which has been very successful in jump-starting a new generation of hunters. In addition, any new hunter can contact the First Hunt Foundation and pursue hunting with one of their mentors this year.
New hunters have lots of questions. Mentors provide a leg up not only with rules and regulations but also with ethics. A good mentor will explain topics like public vs. private land hunting and hunting ethics, and demonstrate safety in the field. By role-modeling ethical behaviors in the field, new hunters gain practical knowledge that, over time, can improve public perceptions of hunting at large.
Q: What should I do if another hunter/hunters are already at my chosen public land hunting spot?
A: Find another spot or move a respectable distance. If possible, you can discuss your plans with the other party and agree to spread out or go in opposite directions. You may have done your homework and figured out the area, but so did someone else. This is why it is a good reason to scout out at least two areas that are huntable by opening morning. Of course, the nuance may be that the public land you want to hunt covers a large area. If that’s the case, just do your best to create distance with the other hunter(s).
Q: What do I do if I’m turkey hunting and I see another hunter?
A: Make yourself known! Call out in a loud, clear voice if you see another hunter (especially if they are close to your “line of sight”). Be understanding that if you are on public land, they have the same right as you to be there.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Licensing Division would also like to remind potential hunters of a few requirements prior to spring turkey hunting:
We hope this information is useful to new turkey hunters, and we thank you for following along on the Turkey Takeover. We’ll be back with more information as the openers get closer, so be sure to stay tuned for more turkey talk.
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