Shooting Two Turkeys Could Mean Double Trouble

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POYNETTE, Wis. – Spring turkey hunters need to make sure of their target and what is near it before pulling the trigger, according to state conservation wardens who have reported number of incidents involving turkey hunters accidently bagging more than one bird with a single shot.

David Holmes, Poynette, a Warden Supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources South Central Region, advises hunters to follow the rules of hunter safety and to be sure of their target, as well as what lies in front of and beyond it.

“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 said.

During several recent investigations, wardens learned that turkey hunters had forgotten that a shotgun shoots much different 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 near by.

Since turkeys often stand in close proximity to other turkeys, the hunter may accidently strike and kill other birds.

“Turkeys are generally social in nature, especially in the spring breeding season, and tend to stay in extended family groups throughout their life cycle. This makes them more susceptible to accidental harvest,” pointed out Eric Lobner, DNR wildlife supervisor at Fitchburg.

Both men note that there are several things turkey hunters can do to prevent an over bagging 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.

Wisconsin’s spring turkey hunting season consists of six 5-day periods, each running Wednesday through Sunday. They began April 16 and end May 25. The season is limited to one “bearded” or male turkey per permit issued.

More information on wild turkeys and hunting is available on the DNR Web site.

Hunters who accidently harvest more than one bird and do not have the proper permits should immediately contact a local conservation warden by calling 1(800) 847-9367 or 1 (800) TIP-WDNR.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: David Holmes, (608) 835-8116 or Eric Lobner, (608) 275-3474