Turkey Hunting Etiquette: A Lost Tradition

Since the Pennsylvania 2019 Spring Turkey season is right around the corner, the Cro-Mag Team thought that it would be helpful to touch on hunting etiquette. For some reason or another, spring turkey season brings out the worst in people. In our opinion a lack of etiquette is far more prevalent in spring than any other hunting season. But I am sure that there are a few seasons that will compete with it. However, obeying the unwritten rule for turkey hunting will stop any altercations in the woods, prevent unnecessary game from being spooked, and can make the woods safer for the people in them.

Feel free to give us your thoughts on improving the list.

Law 1: If You’re Not First You’re Last

This is the number 1 Law in the turkey hunting etiquette list. Everyone who has turkey hunted on public land, knows the feeling you get when you wake up early, get set up in the woods before daylight and are waiting for the bird’s first gobbles in the tree, and all of a sudden you see headlights coming up the road or see someone walking through the woods. This selfish act of the intrusive hunter/huntress most likely ended the hunt before it ever started. This infuriates the hunter/huntress who was intruded on and is a sure-fire way to cause an argument in the woods.

So, the easiest action to follow this rule is if you see another hunter/huntress, LEAVE. And make sure that you are FIRST the next day.

Law 2: Do NOT try and Sneak in Between a Bird and Someone Else

This is almost as important as the first law and is the best way to get shot, or to shoot someone in the woods. The hunter/huntress that you are sneaking by does not know you are there and vice versa. This can cause someone to discharge a weapon in an unsafe direction and may be catastrophic. So, use your head and follow this law.

Law 3: Do NOT Call when Scouting

Now this law will be controversial with some turkey hunters/huntresses, but we believe in it, so it makes the list. Calling to locate a bird does 2 things. It can make a turkey gobble which is why some people use this tactic. But the second thing it does is educate the turkey. Preseason calling may cause a gobbler to respond and come looking for the hen. But the catch is, there is no hen. You have left for the day. This only take a few times to turn a hot and killable turkey into a tight-lipped unkillable, season ruiner, bear of a turkey. So, leave the calls at home.

Law 4: Do NOT shoot a Bird off of the Roost

This is an unfair and unethical way to turkey hunt. Normally, shooting a bird off the roost is illegal because it is generally before shooting hours. However, birds sometimes stay in the roost late. Taking a shot on a roosted bird decreases your chances of killing the bird. Be an ethical hunter/huntress and avoid this tempting action.

Law 5: Do NOT be an Idiot

Everyone wants to be successful during turkey season. This is the main reason for people doing questionable thing listed in the previous 4 laws. If you are in a situation where you find yourself torn on what to do, take a second, step back and remember the golden rule you learned in 1st Grade. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Do not be and idiot that ends up ruining a hunt, hurting someone else, spooking birds or wounding game.

This list of Laws is here for people to think about. It is here to pose the question on how to improve yourself as a hunter/huntress. Use them, embrace them, and teach them. And who knows, in a few years, everyone may give and receive the courtesy listed above.

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