Be Safe

West Virginia’s spring gobbler season opens today for its four-week run through May 24. The youth season began over the weekend. It is no wonder the spring turkey season is so popular with state sportsmen. Of course, the object of the hunt is to fool a love-struck gobbler by making the sound of a female turkey.

However, in addition to the hunt, this is such a glorious time of the year to be in the West Virginia woods; the weather is pleasant, the forest floor is carpeted with wildflowers, and the blooming trees – especially the dogwoods and redbuds – give the woods the pastel look of an impressionist painting.

With all of the things that can make a spring turkey hunt so pleasurable, it also can be a dangerous time to be in the woods. The camouflage worn by turkey hunters can make them invisible to other hunters in the area while at the same time, they are making sounds of the birds being hunted. Remember to keep your decoys or harvested birds fully concealed – especially the heads – while transporting them.

While no one in the Mid-Ohio Valley has been seriously injured during recent gobbler seasons, there have been several accidental shootings during this time of year. Because the majority of hunters use shotguns for turkey hunting, few of the shootings result in a fatality. However, they can cause serious injury.

The No. 1 reason for the majority of these shooting accidents: carelessness in not identifying a target. The first rule of safety during any hunting season is being sure of what you are shooting. This is especially true in turkey season where hunters are not required to wear any blaze orange clothing.

Hunters venturing out in the coming days should know the rules and regulations, which can be picked up at any game checking station, or by visiting the Division of Natural Resources website (wvdnr.gov). Enjoy being in the woods – and be safe.